Sunday, March 28, 1999

Moeller captures state title

Enquirer contributor

        COLUMBUS — A trail of talented teams sit at home this morning, reading that Moeller became state champions Saturday night, wondering how they pulled it off.

        With a team whose greatest strength was its ability to avoid definition by its opponents, Moeller swept past the nation's No. 9 team, Shaker Heights 67-62 for the Division I state title at Ohio State's Value City Arena.

        “There have been games that I've watched again on tape, the Beavercreek game, the Vandalia Butler game, and I say, "How did we win this game?'” said Mike Monserez, who had 13 points and 10 assists Saturday on his way to state tourney MVP honors. “Tonight, we played great, we shot it great, and that makes us hard to beat.”

        Moeller (21-6) shot 63 percent in the game and used a combination of its greatest strengths to prevail. At times it was defense, including a 1-2-2 zone in the second quarter that gave the Crusaders control of the game. At other times, it was offense, particularly Monserez's passing.

        “Mike is the most dedicat ed, driven kid,” Moeller coach Carl Kremer said. “He's defined our program the last three years.”

        Saturday's win wasn't without nervous moments.

        A 12-2 run by Shaker Heights made the ending a scramble, as the Raiders pulled to within 51-48 with 3:30 to play. But Shaker

        Heights would never get any closer, thanks to Monserez's heroics.

        With the lead at three, Monserez found himself open and nailed a three-pointer with 3:05 to play to put Moeller up 54-48. Following a Shaker Heights miss, Monserez then threw a no-look pass to Brad Hutzel on the fast break for a layup to make the lead eight.

        Then Monserez added another three with 1:41 to play that pushed the lead to 59-50.

        “I think we've always said we wanted to attack, not back in to a win,” Kremer said. “Would I have wanted him to take that shot? Probably not. But if there's a player to shoot it, it's Mike.”

        Shaker Heights made two threes in the final minute to give itself a chance, the second coming from Sidney Williams with 26 seconds left to make the score 64-60.

        Shaker Heights then fouled sophomore guard Scott Byrnes who made a pair of foul shots to help lock up the win.

        Matt Sylvester and Hutzel tied for team-scoring honors with 16 points each. Sylvester and guard Jeremy Duncan, who added 13, were also named to the all-tournament team.

        Sidney Williams led Shaker Heights with 24 points and nine rebounds.

        Five weeks ago, Moeller lost on Senior Night at home to St. Xavier by 25 points. It seemed a long way removed Saturday night.

        “Obviously this is a little hard to believe,” said Hutzel. “But we come in every day and work our butts off. Not everyone can see that, but now I think they know.”

        MOELLER (67) — Duncan 5-10 2-4 13, Welsch 2-5 0-0 6, Monserez 4-9 1-2 13, Sylvester 8-9 0-0 16, Hutzel 7-8 2-2 16, Byrnes 0-0 3-4 3. Totals: 26-41 8-12 67.

        SHAKER HEIGHTS (62) — Finley 3-8 2-2 10, Smith 4-11 1-3 9, Higgins 4-10 2-4 12, Williams 8-14 7-9 24, Tucker 1-4 2-4 4, Baringer 0-2 3-4 3, Barnes 0-2 0-0 0, Foster 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-52 17-28 62.

Moeller ....... 16  17  16  18—67
Shaker Heights ....... 14  10  12  26—62

        Three-point field goals: M (7-17) Duncan, Welsch 2, Monserez 4. SH (5-20) Finley 2, Higgins 2, Williams. Rebounds: M 20 (Duncan 5, Monserez 5, Sylvester 4). SH 26 (Williams 9). Assists: 18 (Monserez 10, Duncan 4) SH 8 (Baringer 3). Turnovers: M 18, SH 13. Steals: M 3, SH 10. Records: Moeller 21-6, Shaker Heights 25-2. Officials: Robert Schloemer, Williams Flick, Robert Sagers, Sr. Attendance: 14,018.

PHOTO GALLERY Download photos for wallpaper
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Semifinal game reports
Moeller rallies into championship game
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