The Moeller boys’ basketball team extended its early-season success to both sides of the Ohio River on Friday with a 59-43 win over Ryle in Union.
Moeller, a Tuesday winner against Kings, improved its record to 2-0 while dropping Ryle to 1-1.
The Raiders won their opener against Grant County. But Moeller, ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer Ohio area Division I poll, was a different story for its second win in two seasons against the Raiders. The Crusaders won last season’s meeting, 58-28.
It was of no consolation to Ryle coach David McFarland that the Raiders were able to greatly cut the margin against the three-time Ohio big-school state champion in the return engagement.
“There are no consolations for us,” said McFarland, whose much-improved squad is coming off a 6-23 season. The Raiders were 33rd District champions in 2014. “What I liked is how hard we played, and how hard we competed.”
The Crusaders bolted to a 9-2 first-quarter lead while holding Ryle to 1-for-12 shooting from the field, and led 29-14 at halftime. The Raiders shot just 4-for-22 in the opening half while Moeller gained control.
“We stayed together,” said Crusaders point guard Nate Georgeton. “This is a nice win on the road for us.”
Shooting guard Isaiah Payton shot 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range and led the Crusaders with 13 points. Georgeton was next with 11. He added six assists and three steals. Caleb Canter had eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Moeller, an 18-9 finisher last season and regional tournament semifinalist. The Crusaders last won a state championship in 2007.
Jared Webster led Ryle with 13 points. Tyrek Owens was next with eight. Owens pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
Moeller forged an 15-point first-half lead Friday with 2:22 left before the break on a put-back basket by Keegan McDowell. Ryle outscored the Crusaders 6-3 the rest of the half in one of several junctures during which the Raiders were able to stay with the bigger Crusaders.
“We came in knowing Ryle is really well-coached, and they showed that, so hats off to Ryle” said Moeller coach Carl Kremer. His squad overcame 21 turnovers with 47.5-percent shooting from the field while holding Ryle without a 3-point basket on seven attempts. “The thing for us is, this is a process.”
Ryle hung with Moeller for much of the second half on the strength of a 10-2 third-quarter sprint that cut the lead to nine at 33-24. The Crusaders closed the quarter on a 5-0 run with a 3-point basket from Payton at the buzzer, pushing the lead back to 16.
Moeller 9 20 12 18 — 59
Ryle 2 12 11 18 — 43
Moeller (2-0) – Payton 4 2 13, Georgeton 2 7 11, Canter 3 1 8, McCracken 3 0 6, McDowell 3 0 6, Wead 2 2 6, Voss 1 3 5, McBride 1 1 3, Hansen 0 1 1. Totals 19 16 59
Ryle (1-1) – Webster 5 3 13, Owens 2 4 8, Turner 3 1 7, Legg 2 1 5, Driscoll 1 2 4, O’Hara 1 2 4, Cheesman 1 0 2. Totals 15 13 43.
Halftime: Moeller, 29-14. 3-pointers: M 5 (Payton 3, Wead, Canter).