Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier!! In what was definitely a contest of heavyweight proportions, the LaSalle Lancers defeated the Moeller Fighting Crusaders 52-51 on a deep three pointer by the 2004 version of Camelot, Justin Orr.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that this game was a sellout as early as Monday, so when you thought a 6:30p arrival was early enough for an 8:00p start you were WRONG. The LaSalle faithful and Fleming Fanatics had the house packed by 6pm. Even in the reserve game you could feel the tension as both reserve head coaches shared fierce jolts during the LaSalle blowout of the Crusaders. The thought of a sweep (the LaSalle freshman also won big) was seemingly unthinkable at that time!
I must say, this game was one for the ages. I was exhausted from just watching the excitement. I'd like to thank all the kids, coaches, parents, and others for making it all happen. To be able to "live" these moments with you is an honor and a privilege that I don't take lightly!
After the Catholicism and patriotism, the game began. Moeller started Bubba Walther, Patrick Watt, Tyler Dierkers, Andrew Brackman, and Josh Duncan. LaSalle answered with Darenn Mansoor, Ray Ruberg, Colin Flynn, Tim Teepe, and Camelot. The veteran referee crew of Butch Burbridge, Clarence Pauley, and Bill Claymo were in charge of making sure the game was played within the rules!
LaSalle started with good on ball pressure from the outset, straight man with mass help on the inside. Moeller started in a 1-3-1 zone that appeared to give LaSalle some problems. Moeller coach, Carl Kremer chose to start Walther at the point where he would handle most of the advancing of the ball up the court! Mansoor gave anyone who dribbled the ball trouble all night, as did all the LaSalle guards. Moeller showed multiple defenses in the first quarter by also switching to a 2-3 zone. This game got going as if it where a college game and two things were very apparent: Josh Duncan is a man inside and you cannot leave Ray Ruberg open from outside! Everyone was involved in this game from the outset and at the end of one Moeller had a slight edge 15-14.
The Lancers hadn't gotten an inside bucket until Josh Duncan picked up his second foul with 5:40 left in the second and then Nick Dooros scored inside on two consecutive possessions. The game got a little sloppy in the second as LaSalle took 26-23 halftime lead. The halftime stats showed Moeller only taking eleven first half shots, while shooting 60% from the free throw line. LaSalle while taking 32 shots only made 9 of them, so neither team had played up to its capabilities. One glaring halftime statistic was Moeller's eleven turnovers.
Moeller started the second half with Andrew Gomez at the point and Ryan Childress inside. The increase physical presence seemed to help Moeller, as did the switch to straight man. It was during the third quarter that Duncan and Brackman began to impose their will on the rest of the game! Clearly Duncan could not be stopped and he began to serve other roles, like bringing the ball up the court. Moeller went on an 11-1 run to start the third and were seemingly in control 34-27 with five minutes left in the third quarter. Then, Camelot got angry. He clearly let Mansoor and the others to GET HIM THE BALL. LaSalle stuck around and guard Zach Welter hit a HUGE three ball with 3:45 left in the third to make the score 34-32 Moeller. The game continued nip and tuck and after a couple of big Childress rebounds and Duncan layups Moeller took a 40-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
"It happened somewhere in the third quarter," noted the Enquirer's Tom Groschen. "It" happened to be the bloody nose of Andrew Brackman. Fleming quizzed the refs "someone's bleeding," Brackman gave it all he got to continue to hold the blood in, but at the 7:11 mark of the fourth quarter Brackman would leave the game for the first time, due to a bloody nose. They say those numbers are lucky and they certainly were for LaSalle. When Brackman left the game Moeller held a 41-35 advantage. LaSalle turns up the heat. Bubba picks up his fourth foul and Kremer tries to sit him, but he has to return to help handle the constant LaSalle defensive intensity. Brackman then returns with 4:40 left in the game. When Brackman returns Moeller only leads by one 43-42. Moeller goes 1-3-1; LaSalle takes lead on an Orr basket with 4:01 remaining, 44-43. Gomez hits two big free throws to make the score 45-44 Moeller. The lead goes back and forth for the next four minutes and with 39.8 seconds Moeller has the ball with no timeouts down one to LaSalle. It's Brackman against Orr and Orr picks up the foul with 23.5 seconds remaining. Brack sinks the first and all nets the second. LaSalle ball down two 51-49. Moeller goes man, it's Orr against Josh Duncan and Duncan's got great "D" on Orr, but Orr rises from 28 feet and hits all cords. "We had confidence, we knew we had something to prove, it took all twelve guys to do it, we are #1 in the state," were the words of a very excited Justin Orr.
What a game, what a game. The LaSalle Lancers shock the World.