Moeller Secures Another Outright GCL South Title


Posted on 2/8/2020 at 12:04 p.m.

Balanced Scoring Carries La Salle To Road Victory Against St. Xavier
Another season, another outright Greater Catholic League South Division championship for the top-ranked Moeller basketball team.  The Crusaders clinched their fourth straight outright league title with a 63-48 victory against Elder on Senior Night at The Pit in Price Hill on Friday night, extending their GCL South winning streak to 24 games in the process.  Moeller can earn its fourth consecutive perfect league season when it travels to St. Xavier next Friday.  The Crusaders also have won outright or shared the last eight GCL South crowns.
La Salle wrapped up second place in the league with a road victory of its own last night, defeating St. Xavier, 51-42, in what continues to be an outstanding season for the Lancers – who outscored St. Xavier, 20-11, in the fourth quarter after the game was tied, 31-31, entering the final eight minutes.  La Salle’s only two losses are to Moeller, including a 45-43 setback five weeks ago on the opening night of play in the six-game GCL South schedule.  The Lancers are a perfect 18-0 against the rest of their opponents.
Moeller (19-1, 5-0 GCL South) continues to prepare what it hopes will be another lengthy postseason run.  The two-time defending Division I state champions and No. 1-ranked team all season in the Associated Press DI state poll got all it could handle from an Elder team riding a four-game winning streak.  Moeller, which has won 18 consecutive games and owns a 75-game winning streak versus teams from Southwest Ohio, trailed 16-13 after one quarter, rallied back to take a four-point lead at halftime, 31-27, and held just a five-point cushion entering the final eight minutes – when the Crusaders outscored Elder, 19-9, to secure the win.
You can’t shoot much better than Moeller did as a team, sinking 19-of-25 field goals for 76 percent shooting from the field, and then knocking down 21-of-24 free throws, many coming at critical times down the stretch, to help maintain the late advantage.  Junior Will McCracken led Moeller with a game-high 20 points, hitting 8-of-9 field goals, while classmate Alex Williams added 19 on 10-of-10  shooting on free throws.  Junior Logan Duncomb added his eighth double-double this season, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds.  Elder (11-9, 1-4) was led by 11 points from sophomore guard Andrew Harp.  Elder, which nailed eight three-pointers, also got eight points from senior Aidan Corey and seven each from seniors Willard Cluxton and Matthew Luebbe.
La Salle (18-2, 3-2) has made a habit of getting off to fast starts this season, and it was no exception against St. Xavier as the Lancers led 13-5 after the first quarter.  But the Bombers battled back and managed to tie it after three quarters, setting up a big final eight minutes for La Salle – which had four players finish in double figures, another staple for the Lancers this season.  Justin Lovette and Derek Eddings each scored 13 points to lead La Salle, while Jeff Queen, Jr. and Ayden Schneider had 11 apiece.   Lovette, a junior guard, also grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.  St. Xavier (12-6, 1-4) was led by junior guard Kobe Rodgers, who had a game-high 18 points, and senior forward Hank Thomas, who chipped in 10. 
All four GCL South teams have non-conference games scheduled tonight.  Moeller plays first, hosting Turpin at 5 p.m. at the Brisben Family Education Center where the Crusaders have won 45 straight games – the last home loss to Centerville, 42-41, on February 14, 2015.  Moeller figures to be tested by a Turpin team that is 17-2, leads the Eastern Cincinnati Conference and owns a 46-43 win against Elder earlier this season.   The Spartans have won eight straight, including a dramatic 66-64 win in overtime last night at Walnut Hills to move to 11-1 in the ECC.
La Salle looks to up its record to 19-0 against everyone not Moeller when it welcomes McNicholas to Monfort Heights for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.  St. Xavier also hosts a GCL Co-Ed Division member in Bishop Fenwick also at 7:30 tonight, while Elder travels to Northern Kentucky to face Cooper at that same time in Union.  The game was originally scheduled to be played in early December, but had to be rescheduled after Elder advanced to the Division I state football final.  Cooper has won the last four meetings in this annual interstate series.  The four GCL South teams own a combined 50-8 record against non-league opponents this season.