Tuesday’s holiday tournaments around the country had a theme being a ‘tale of two halves.’
No turnaround was more unbelievable than Cincinnati Moeller’s miraculous turn-of-events in the St. Pius X Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Crusaders trailed 19-0 to start the game against St. Joseph’s (NJ) and didn’t crack the scoreboard until 51 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Big ‘Moe found itself down 21-4 at the end of the first frame, and things were looking dismal.
St. Joe’s Steve Rennard was shooting lights out along with his teammates. The Penn signee scored 18 points in the contest.
Moeller turned up the heat with its full court pressure in the second period and cut down on its turnovers drawing the Crusaders within four points (28-24) by intermission. Senior Josh Morelock and junior Charlie Byers led the comeback with Morelock’s shooting and Byers scoring in transition off turnovers.
The Crusaders were playing without Xavier signee Griffin McKenize (6’9) for a second consecutive game along with 6-foot-6 sophomore Tony Sabato. Both were on crutches and McKenzie’s injury is an ankle related.
We were able to watch this game on a live internet streaming and got to see just how deep this Crusaders team can be without McKenzie and Sabato. Certainly they are better with them, but proved they can win anyway.
Moeller (7-0) is a team that never panics and always remains calm and that is a reflection of its head coach Carl Kremer. The Crusaders are well disciplined on and off the court and always play bigger than their size sometimes having five guards on the floor.
Moeller took command in the third period taking the lead and extending it to 47-40 by the quarter’s end.
St. Joe’s inched back into the game in the fourth and cut the lead down to two on a three-pointer, but Morelock answered right back with a three of his own and Moeller never looked back en route to a 67-55 triumph sending the Crusaders to the championship game versus Brother Martin (LA) tonight at 8 p.m.
Big ‘Moe got 24 points from Morelock and Byers scored 19 points. Junior guard Alex Barlow added 10 counters.
Sensational sophomore Quentin DeCosey notched 14 markers for St. Joe’s.
In all, after trailing 19-0, it was a 67-36 run over the last 24 minutes and 51 seconds.
On a side note, the Moeller family was able to take in the Cleveland Cavaliers/Atlanta Hawks game a game in which the Cavs came out victorious. A few were taking a tour of CNN today.
In the Surf N’ Slam, two teams separated by just 70 miles traveled nearly 2,400 miles to play each other.
In San Diego (CA), Massillon Jackson (6-0) will meet Mentor (6-0) for the tourney championship.
Jackson defeated Chartiers Valley (PA) 70-58 after trailing by seven points in the fourth quarter. Kent State signee Mark Henniger scored 22 points and Akron signee Josh Egner added 16 points and 10 boards for the Polar Bears. Junior guard Michael Shull tallied 15 counters.
Chartiers Valley’s T.J. McConnell ended with a game-high 32 points. The Duquesne signee was averaging over 40 points per outing.
Mentor got by Woodcreek (CA), 88-80. It was much of the same for the Cardinals as they connected on 12 triples following up the 13 in the quarter-finals. Junior Cole Krizancic scored 28 points including four triples and senior guard Jaron Crowe was next with 25 points and five three-point field goals. Sophomore Justin Fritts added 21 points.
This should be a terrific match up featuring the inside scoring of Jackson against the run-and-gun style of Mentor. The match up is set for 7:45 p.m. EST.
In the Gas Light Holiday Classic, Cincinnati Woodward (6-1) has advanced to the championship game where it will meet Jeffersontown (KY) tonight at 8:15 p.m.
Woodward defeated Ryle (KY), 64-46. Senior scoring machine Mervin Taylor (6’1) amassed 23 points, while senior Jeremiah Chancellor tallied 18 markers and freshman Eric Trent Donald added 12 counters.
Woodward’s only loss on the year was a 54-49 setback to Moeller.
North Canton Hoover (6-0) earned a 70-64 victory over Detroit Cass Tech (MI) on Tuesday. The Vikings were led by 5-foot-11 junior point guard Nyles Evans, who scored 30 points earning him game MVP honors. Senior Cory Veldhuizen added 16 points and eight boards.
Hoover will face Mattawan (MI) today at 1:45 p.m.
The Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach (SC) has not been kind to Lakewood St. Edward’s. The Eagles are 0-2, but both losses came to very good teams.
Monday, the Eagles fell victim to Wheeler (GA) and on Tuesday it was Baltimore St. Frances (MD) delivering the knock out blow.
St. Frances (7-4) defeated St. Ed’s 74-66 after trailing 42-31 at half. The 19-point swing was thanks in large part to a 25-12 advantage in the points off turnovers department.
The Baltimore-based outfit got 22 points and five rebounds from Dante Holmes, 19 points from Sam Cassell Jr., along with 14 counters by Richmond signee Wayne Sparrow.
6-foot-8 junior Greg Lewis scored seven points and added a like amount of caroms.
St. Ed’s (4-2) was led by 6-foot-8 senior Matt Stainbrook and his 19 points, while Kyle Pisco tossed in 14 counters and Louisville signee James Zach Price (6’10/2011) added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Sophomore Myles Hamilton was held to four points after scoring 23 against Wheeler.
It won’t get an easier for the Eagles as they now take on Bishop O’Connell (5-4) out of Virginia in the Consolation Championship today at noon. O’Connell is led by North Carolina signee Kendall Marshall along with Larry Savage and Jordan Burgess.
Columbus St. Francis DeSales (6-1) bid to win the Florida Shootout fell short in a 72-51 semi-finals defeat to Orlando Chrisitan Prep.
Ohio University signee Nick Kellogg was held to just seven points after scoring 51 in the first two games.
DeSales will play in the third-place game tonight at 7 p.m.