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Moeller's 72-52 win over Lakewood St. Edward sends Crusaders to Saturday state championship

Posted at 8:53 PM, Mar 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 22:32:13-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Moeller basketball team is back in the Division I state final for a third consecutive season.

The Crusaders shot 67 percent in their 72-52 win over Lakewood St. Edward Friday night in a state semifinal at the Schottenstein Center.

“We’re thrilled with how we played and we think we can even play better,” Moeller coach Carl Kremer said. “We can’t wait for an opportunity to play tomorrow. I’m really happy with our guys.”

Moeller (28-0) won its 48th consecutive game and is 83-4 since the 2016-17 season. The Crusaders haven’t lost a game since Dec. 30, 2017, when they fell 47-44 to Imhotep Institute Charter of Philadelphia.

The Crusaders will play Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (24-3) in the state final at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Moeller defeated visiting St. Vincent-St. Mary 99-62 Dec. 8.

“I think our preparation is going to be the same as every game,” Moeller senior guard Miles McBride said. “We are going to go as hard as we can in the film room and as hard as we can in warm-ups and play the game.”

McBride was 5 of 5 from the field with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Alec Pfriem had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Moeller shot 87.5 percent in the first quarter (7 of 8) and 73 percent in the second quarter (8 of 11).

“Our guys understand where their shots are, and they are patient enough to get the right shots,” Kremer said. “So we have been pretty good in that area, but that half was particularly good for us.”

Sophomore forward Alex Williams had 12 points while junior forward Max Land added 11 points and five rebounds.

“I was kind of joking with my coaches, and I said, ‘Are they shooting 90 percent?' and they said, ‘No, 80,'” St. Edward coach Eric Flannery said. “It felt like it. They are good players.”

Moeller, the 2018 state champion, is trying to be the first Division I state boys' basketball champion to go undefeated since Zanesville (26-0) in 1995. The last time a Southwest District boys' basketball team went undefeated at the large-school level was Dayton Chaminade (27-0 in Class AA) in 1970, and a large-school boys' basketball team hasn't been undefeated in the Greater Cincinnati area since Hamilton Taft won the Class AA title in 1962 (27-0).

The Crusaders have won state titles in 2018, 2007, 2003 and 1999. This is Moeller’s eighth time in the state Final Four.

Moeller is the only undefeated team in the state tournament this week. There were 798 schools with varsity boys’ basketball in Ohio this season.

St. Edward (19-9) was led by junior guard/forward Devontae Blanton and junior guard Grant Huffman with 15 points each.

Senior guard Demetrius Terry had 12 points. Junior guard Montorie Foster had 12 points.