Sunday, March 11, 2001

Elder beats Moeller on third try

Panthers' defense smothers Crusaders

By Carey Hoffman
Enquirer contributor

Moeller coach Carl Kremer comforts Nicholas Monserez.
(Brandi Stafford photos)
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        DAYTON — Elder's convincing 55-40 victory over Moeller Saturday in a Division I district championship game boils down to two inspired runs, two personnel mismatches and the confidence of 3-point specialist Mike Mahon.

        All of it framed by a tenacious effort from what may be the best fundamental team defense still standing in the Ohio tournament.

        “They are getting better every game,” Moeller coach Carl Kremer said of Elder. “Give Coach (Joe) Schoenfeld and their players credit — they have really evolved into their personnel very well.”

        Elder (18-6) advances to the Division I regional semifinals against Springfield South at 6:15p.m. Thursday at Xavier's Cintas Center. The Panthers, who lost to GCL South champ Moeller (18-5) twice in the regular season, have found winning formulas on both offense and defense.

Elder's Scott Benken and Tim Schenke try to block Tyler Tabler.
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        “All year, different guys have stepped forward,” Schoenfeld said. “None of them are superstars, but we say if ordinary players can make the ordinary plays every time, this team can be extraordinary.”

        Elder looked ordinary in the first five minutes Saturday, falling behind 11-3. But then came the Panthers' first big run, a 14-0 burst that put Elder ahead 17-11 with 5:27 left in the first half.

        Moeller came back to cut the lead to 22-21 at half, but in the second half, Elder simply refused to give up points. Moeller scored only two baskets in the first 11 minutes of the second half.

        With 6-foot-7 Elder forward Tim Schenke denying Moeller star Matt Sylvester the ball, Sylvester didn't get his first basket of the second half until two minutes were left in the game.

Matt Sylvester drives past Benken.
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        “Our whole team relies on defense. I think we're the best defensive team in the city,” said Elder point guard Jake Bazeley, who had 16 points, a pair of steals and five assists.

        “They're very, very good defensively. Matt had a hard time getting good looks at the basket,” Kremer said of his Ohio State-bound star, who averaged 21.4 points per game this year.

        On the other end, Elder's Mahon was getting looks but not any points. He missed his first five shots, including a routine 15-footer with Elder ahead 24-23 in the middle of the third quarter. But his sixth try — a high-arching 3-pointer with 4:12 left in the third — was on the money, as were back-to-back 3-pointers later in the quarter.

        Mahon's scoring broke the game open, giving Elder a 35-25 lead after three quarters.

        But with five Elder players scoring eight or more points, the offensive credit was spread around. Bazeley led the way by using his 6-3 height to take Moeller's smaller guards to the basket, while Schenke added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Elder fan
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        Because of their height and the positions they play, “virtually any team is going to have a matchup problem with Schenke or Bazeley,” Kremer said. “Just pick your poison.”

        Elder was making its third straight district title game appearance. “When I was a freshman, Tim Austin, our assistant coach, was the freshman coach and he cut me that year,” Bazeley recalled. “Playing now in this situation is a dream. I never felt I would be here.”

        Elder also was aided by an estimated 2,500 fans in purple who made the trip to University of Dayton Arena. Those numbers figure to get only larger for Thursday's regional semifinal in Cincinnati this year.

        “That's going to help us a lot,” Schenke said. “The fans are awesome. They come out in great numbers.”

        MOELLER (40) - Tabler 0-2 1-2 1, Byrnes 3-5 0-0 6, Monserez 2- 12 2-2 7, Sylvester 6-14 2-3 15, Mahoney 2-4 0-0 6, Wood 1-4 0-0 2, Reisert 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 15-42 5-7 40.

        ELDER (55) - Bazeley 5-12 6-6 16, Benken 3-6 3-5 9, Schenke 3-8 4-6 10, Mahon 3-8 0-0 9, Bengel 0-2 0-0 0, Wellendorf 1-1 0-0 2, Wiehe 0-0 1-2 1, Kroeger 4-6 0-0 8. Totals: 19-43 14-19 55.

        Moeller ....... 11 10 4 15 - 40

        Elder ....... 11 11 13 20 - 55

        3-point goals: M (5-20) - Monserez, Sylvester, Mahoney 2, Reisert; E (3-8) - Mahon 3. Records: M 18-5, E 18-6.

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