KENWOOD, Ohio -- Caleb Canter smiled when he discussed Friday night’s Greater Catholic League South division opener.
The Crusaders had just defeated visiting La Salle 49-39 in front of a sold-out crowd (1,300 fans) at Brisben Family Center, and a raucous student section made the night even more memorable for the Moeller seniors.
"It was a great atmosphere to be in," said Canter, who had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. “It was a great student section. They brought a lot of energy, and it really helped us control the tempo of the game. It was a fun night for us."
Canter had some key offensive opportunities down the stretch. He made a 3-pointer with 6:29 left to extend the Crusaders' lead to 36-24. He also scored six points in a two-minute stretch to help seal the game.
"We had an opportunity to spread the floor at the end of the game," Moeller coach Carl Kremer said. "Caleb is a very underrated player. A lot of people in the city were not aware of him going in. He’s a special player. He’s had a great year."
Moeller, ranked No. 1 in the WCPO Power 9 rankings, is 12-0 for the first time since 2011, when it started the season 18-0.
Senior forward Riley Voss had a team-high 13 points and had eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Miles McBride had 10 points and four rebounds.
"They played a little faster than I thought they would," La Salle coach Dan Fleming said. "They were ready to go. We didn’t match up real quick on McBride early in the game and they got out in front of us. We were just a half-step behind."
"I am pretty sure he will be back next week," Dan Fleming said. "I don't see why he wouldn't."
Even without their standout player, the Lancers certainly made things interesting in the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Tre Crigler made a deep 3-pointer with 4:10 left to close the gap to seven (38-31) but the Lancers didn’t get any closer.
Crigler had a team-high 19 points to go along with two steals. Senior guard Da’Meak Brandon had eight points, five assists and two steals.
Both players showed plenty of leadership for La Salle.
"I give them a lot of credit," Kremer said. "Playing without CJ -- I thought their kids really defended well and fought us every step of the way. It was a typical GCL game."
Friday night was a tough and physical game from the outset.
Moeller led 14-5 at the end of the first quarter. Voss had seven points in the first quarter to help give the Crusaders a surge.
"GCL games are always special games," Voss said. "We never take them for granted. We just kind of came into wanting to play our best basketball."
The game was tied at 17 after Richardson made a 3 in the corner at the 1:58 mark of the second quarter.
The Crusaders led 19-17 at halftime. Moeller went on a 9-0 run early in the third quarter.
"We just didn’t play tough enough," Dan Fleming said. "We didn’t box out hard enough. We didn’t get enough loose balls. All the little things we talked about and worked on for two days we just didn’t do."
Moeller plays host to Alter at 8 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be played at Little Miami.
La Salle, ranked No. 2 in the WCPO Power 9, plays at Colerain at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17.
Moeller leads the all-time series 62-50. The teams play at La Salle Feb. 3.