Moeller tops St. Xavier at the buzzer
February 9, 2013Cincinnati Moeller High School
Written by Tom Ramstetter
Senior Josh Davenport hit the biggest shot of his life Friday night.
The senior’s 3-pointer from the left wing as time expired gave Moeller a 48-47 comeback win over St. Xavier in a Greater Catholic League South slugfest on Senior Night at Moeller and locked up a perfect 10-0 GCL record for the Crusaders.
It was the second of two straight 3-pointers for the senior in the final 20 seconds to erase a late 46-42 deficit.
“I was open,” Davenport said, still trying to catch his breath after a locker room celebration. “I looked at the clock. It was 3.7. I drew him away a little bit and just pulled. I looked it through the whole way and it went in.
“The biggest shot I’ve ever hit. I can’t even tell you how it felt.”
Davenport finished with 17 points. Junior Grant Benzinger also scored 17 for Moeller, all in the first half.
Moeller, ranked No. 2 in the latest Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, trailed most of the game and had not led since the first quarter. But Davenport’s shot lifted the sold-out crowd into a frenzy and sent Moeller students rushing the court from both baselines to celebrate.
“That’s a pretty special moment,” Moeller coach Carl Kremer said. “Josh talked a lot before the game about what his parents had done for him. That shot is something he and his parents will remember the rest of their lives.
“I knew when he came off and bounced off athletically, I just knew he had the rhythm and that was going to be a good situation for him.”
The win extended a 15-game winning streak against No. 4 St. Xavier in basketball, according to records on the gclsports.com website. That includes a 43-40 win over the Bombers in the 2007 Division I state final.
St. Xavier’s last win against Moeller had been a 64-53 final on Feb. 17, 2006, at St. Xavier, according to the website.
“Obviously you want to get that win against them, but Moeller has been so good the last six or seven years, it’s tough to get one,” St. Xavier coach Scott Martin said.
The Bombers seemed to have that elusive win wrapped up when Ben Carroll hit two free throws with about a minute to play to give St. Xavier a four-point lead. But Davenport followed with his first triple to make it 46-45 and then followed one free throw by St. Xavier’s Tyler Hadden with the game-winner.
“Me being one of the senior leaders on our team, I was just missing the whole entire game,” Davenport said. “When it comes down to it, you’ve got to make plays.”
Alex Blink’s 3-pointer with 5:40 to play in the third quarter gave St. Xavier a 29-26 and the Bombers maintained that lead until the final shot.
“I had to tell the kids I’m really proud of them,” Martin said. “We have to just move on and learn from this.
“I thought our kids played great. Davenport made a hell of a shot at the end there to win it. Great players make big plays at the end and that’s what he did.”
Carroll led the Bombers with 15 points and Roderick Mills added 11.
“They played on our court so well in every phase,” Kremer said. “They made free throws, they were good on offense and they defended us well. They clearly played well enough to win and somehow we found a way to win. I tip my hat to their kids and their team.
Moeller has won 12 straight and had already clinched its first outright Greater Catholic League South title since 2008. The Crusaders have claimed at least a share of the GCL South title 10 times since 2000, including sharing the title with La Salle from 2009-2011.
“We had one starter coming back, but we knew we had a good team,” Kremer said. “I knew this team, St. X, was going to be terrific. We’re fortunate to be able to (finish 10-0). I’m not surprised, but it’s a great accomplishment.”