COLUMBUS — Moeller cemented its place in history Saturday night at Value City Arena.
Seniors Miles McBride and Alec Pfriem combined for 26 second-half points and the Crusaders won their second straight Division I state crown with a 52-44 win over Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Moeller (29-0) became the first big school to win back-to-back state titles since Canton McKinley in 2005 and 2006 and is the first Division I program to finish a season undefeated since Zanesville went 26-0 in 1995. What’s more, the Crusaders ran their winning streak to 49 straight games — and counting.
“Right after the game it hit me a little bit,” said longtime Moeller coach Carl Kremer, who has guided Moeller to five state crowns since 1999. “I … didn’t want to think about the historical significance. I feel humbled and blessed to coach here.”
SVSM (24-4) won back-to-back Division II state championships in 2017 and 2018 before moving up to Division I this year because of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s competitive balance measure. The Fighting Irish played at Moeller in early December and the Crusaders cruised to a 99-62 win.
“I knew they weren’t going to let us beat them down the way we did in December,” said McBride, who scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. “They came out swinging and we swung back and got it done.”
The Crusaders led 31-30 going to the fourth quarter before Keyshawn Jones gave the Irish a 32-31 lead with a pair of free throws with 7:31 remaining. It would be SVSM’s final lead of the evening. Pfreim scored on a layup with 7:21 to play as part of a 6-0 run that saw Moeller open a 37-32 lead with 5:39 to play.
“That’s a great team. You don’t win 49 straight games and two state championships without being very good,” SVSM coach Dru Joyce said, “but I feel good about what we have done.”
Pfriem led Moeller with 19 points and eight rebounds. Michael Shipp added nine points.
Seth Wilson paced the Irish with 19 points. Lunden McDay added nine points and six rebounds.
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