SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — When Alec Pfriem steps onto the basketball court for the opening tip-off, he can’t wait to hear his Moeller classmates.
“It’s the best atmosphere in the state, if not the country,” the Moeller senior forward said. “There is nothing we love better as players than to hear them go and chant. It just helps us as a team.”
Moeller (11-0), ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Division I state poll, continued its dominance on its home court at the Brisben Family Education Center Friday night.
The reigning state champion Crusaders defeated La Salle 72-51 in the opening game of their Greater Catholic League South division schedule. It was the 31st consecutive win for Moeller and the 31st consecutive home win. Moeller has won 66 of its past 70 games overall.
In fact, the Crusaders have only lost 12 times since Brisen Family Education Center opened in January 2002. The most recent GCL South loss at home was Feb. 17, 2012 against La Salle.
Moeller continued to show why it's the state's top-ranked team through the halfway point of this regular season.
Pfriem, a Bellarmine University signee, had 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal. Moeller senior forward Miles McBride (West Virginia) tied his season high with 20 points. He also added nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.
McBride said his favorite chant from the student section is simple: “Let’s Go Big Moe.”
“It’s really awesome to play for our student section and all our fans that come out,” McBride said.
The Crusaders outscored La Salle 38-19 in the second half after they led by one at halftime. Moeller shot 52.5 percent for the game.
“They’re really good,” La Salle coach Pat Goedde said. “I was proud of my guys. We fought.”
La Salle (6-5, 1-1 GCL South) was led by senior guard Nathan Vogelpohl with 20 points and five rebounds. He made three 3-pointers; junior guard Jaylen Lemons added 10 points and five rebounds.
La Salle led 17-15 after the first quarter after it made three 3-pointers and shot nearly 54 percent. The pace was quick for the Lancers but Moeller's depth was too much in the second half.
“We played a really tough La Salle team that came ready to play,” Moeller coach Carl Kremer said. “We had to get punched in the mouth before we were able to play to the ability I think our guys have. A great lesson for our guys. It’s what makes playing in the GCL so good. Records and all that never matter. Every team that shows up in the GCL is going to fight you to death.”
Goedde was encouraged by his players’ effort and said the Lancers have been in every close game this season. That bodes well for looking ahead to the tournament in February.
La Salle (6-5, 1-1 GCL South) next plays at Walnut Hills at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19.
Moeller next plays host to Purcell Marian at 5 p.m. Saturday.