The St. Xavier Basketball team headed into GCL South play with great momentum as they won three straight games averaging 75 points in the three games and holding their opponents to 48 points over the three games. The Bombers stood at 8-3 overall but knew they were in for a tough challenge playing on the road at their rival, Moeller HS. The Crusaders entered the evening with an 8-3 record as well with their three losses coming to very talented teams of Covington Catholic (KY), Long Island Lutheran (NY) and Imhotep Charter (PA). Moeller went 6-0 in league play last year and looks to repeat as GCL South champions.
The Crusaders got off to a hot start and opened a 19-7 lead with less than minute left in the opening quarter. Senior Chase Wolf knocked down a three pointer early to tie the game at 3-3 and after a senior Andrew Wittrock jumper to make it 8-5 Moeller, the Crusaders went on a 11-2 run to make it a 19-7 lead. Wolf added another jumper and sophomore Danny Greive scored for the Bombers but Moeller also scored four points before the end of the quarter to make it a 23-11 headed to the 2nd quarter. St. Xavier stayed in the game in the 2nd quarter as Wolf and Wittrock scored the first 5 points for the Bombers to keep the game at 26-16. St. Xavier then went on a quick 7-2 run when junior Nathan Stockman started it with a jumper and Wolf followed with a three point field goal. After a Moeller basket, junior Luke Pellot scored to make it a 28-23 game. After two free throws for the Crusaders, Pellot responded with two free throws of his own to keep it at 30-25. Moeller added a jumper but Wolf responded with another three point field goal to cut the Crusaders lead to 32-28. Moeller finished the half with four straight points to open their lead to 36-28 at the half. Wolf led the Bombers with 13 points on 4 for 7 shooting (3-4 3FG) in the first half.
Moeller opened the second half scoring the first 4 of 6 points of the half to open a ten point lead. Wittrock tried to keep the Bombers in the game by scoring the next four points for St. Xavier but Moeller responded each time to keep the lead at 10 points. Wolf knocked down another three pointer but once again the Crusaders responded and scored the next four points to get the lead extended to 11 points. The Bombers showed some life as senior Brandon Gilbert and junior Nick Frank each scored baskets to cut the lead to 48-41 but Moeller responded to score the next four points before the end of the quarter to make it 52-41 after three quarters. The Crusaders opened their lead even more the final quarter as they outscored the Bombers 23-11 to seal their 75-52 win.
Wolf finished the night with 19 points while Wittrock added 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Stockman finished with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. St. Xavier shot 41% on the night with 12 assists and only turned the ball over 10 times. Moeller finished at 63% shooting on the night and scored 54 points in the paint.
The Bombers drop to 8-4 and look to bounce back quickly as they host Lakota West on Tuesday at Berning Gym at 7:30 pm and then play their GCL South home opener on Friday night vs. Elder HS at 7:30 pm. Lakota West enters the night with a 3-8 record on the year.