Moeller One Win From DI Hoops Final Four Again

03/16/2019

Posted on 3/16/2019 at 12:05 p.m.

Crusaders Look To Extend One Streak, End Another In Regional Final

Moeller is one win away from earning its third straight trip to the Division I Final Four of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Basketball State Tournament.  But, in order to do so, the Crusaders are going to have to extend a streak of their own while ending one for Centerville when the two teams meet in the regional final at 7 p.m. today at Xavier University’s Cintas Center – with a trip to Columbus on the line.

Defending state champion Moeller (26-0), which has not lost since late December 2017, looks to remain undefeated and extend its overall winning streak to 47 games, which includes a 13-game postseason winning streak and 19 victories in its last 20 state tournament games.  In the process, the Crusaders will attempt to end an 18-game winning streak for Centerville (22-5) – which last lost on January 5 at Moeller, 54-33.

The Cincinnati region champion will advance to the Final Four at the Jerome C. Schottenstein Center on The Ohio State University in Columbus and face the Cleveland region winner at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 22.  Moeller has appeared in the last two state finals, winning against Solon, 83-65, last season while falling one win shy of a perfect season in 2016-17 with a setback to Massillon Jackson, 39-38, in the title game to end the season with a 28-1 record.  Jackson is the last Ohio team to beat the Crusaders, who are a combined 81-4 the last three seasons.

Moeller enters the regional final having posted 24 of its 26 victories by double digits; the Crusaders are winning by an average margin of 26.6 points.  In the first meeting, Moeller jumped out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter and extended the advantage to 12 points at halftime, outscoring the Elks in each of the final two quarters as well.  Sophomore Alex Williams, who scored a team-high 13 points in Moeller’s defensive-led 47-33 win against Lakota East in the regional semifinals Wednesday at XU, came off the bench to score a team-high 15 that night versus Centerville.

Williams nailed 6-of-9 nine shots against Centerville; he was joined in double figures by senior Alec Pfriem, who added 12 as Moeller shot 54.8 percent from the field (23-of-42) and outrebounded the Elks, 29-16, led by  nine from senior Miles McBride – who also added four assists and four steals.  The Crusaders held Centerville to a total of 15 field goals, including just 2-of-10 from three-point range, forced 14 turnovers and let no Elk scoring in double figures to post its first victory of the new calendar year.

Centerville, which tied Springfield at 10-2 atop the Greater Western Ohio Conference Cardinal Division this season, rebounded from that setback to remain perfect the rest of January, all of February and the first half of March.  During its current streak, Centerville has been impressive against a solid schedule – including a 49-43 win against Mason in the district final and a 67-63 win against league rival Springfield in Wednesday’s semifinals, the Elks’ second victory in three games against the Wildcats this season.

Tickets for tonight’s regional final are $8 and available at the Cintas Center Box Office.