Prep basketball: Middletown no match for No. 1 Moeller in sectional

FAIRFIELD — Both Middletown High School coach Darnell Hoskins and Moeller coach Carl Kremer admitted it was not a typical first-round tournament game.

Hoskins didn’t hide from the fact it was a mistake his 19th-seeded Middies had to play the No. 1 Crusaders — he missed the tournament draw after getting stuck in traffic.

Moeller proved to be too much Friday night, overwhelming Middletown 60-32 in a Division I sectional boys basketball opener at Fairfield Arena, though Hoskins was optimistic about the progress his Middies are making.


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Top-ranked Moeller advances to play the last seed, No. 31 Talawanda, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Fairfield.

“I talked to (Kremer) about it,” Hoskins said. “I apologized for it. Never a reason for a 19 seed to play a 1 in the opening round, but the circumstances were out of our control.”

The defending state champion Crusaders received 14 points, seven boards, four assists and five steals from standout guard Miles McBride. Logan Duncomb had two big dunks as part of his 12 points and Alec Pfriem added 10 as Moeller improved to 22-0.

“Middletown is dangerous, and when they held the ball early, it kind of made for a weird rhythm. But we adjusted to it,” Kremer said. “In tournament play, you don’t judge the quality of the win. You are just happy to be practicing tomorrow.”

The Middies came out trying to stall, and for several minutes in the first quarter, it worked. But Hoskins said the Purple-and-White got impatient.

Moeller started to extend its defense, forcing turnovers while building a 8-2 lead after the first stanza. The Crusaders extended the lead to 20-2 after Duncomb’s first dunk before settling in for a 23-6 halftime edge.

“We were extremely undisciplined,” Hoskins said. “We had a game plan going in that in my estimation started well. We wanted to slow down and anything can happen, but our kids didn’t stick to the script.”

He also acknowledged the Crusaders are as good as advertised.

“That is what No. 1 looks like,” Hoskins said. “Give them credit. Their players are phenomenal. They executed their stuff. They shoot the ball well, rebound the ball well. They do all the things the No. 1 team in the state does.”

Kremer said the Crusaders have some things to work on, but he was happy his team continues to stay focused in the midst of a 42-game winning streak.

“I think we have done a good job of keeping them motivated,” Kremer said. “There are some detail things tonight I wasn’t happy with, but we will get them corrected. You have to give these guys credit. They have worn the bull’s-eye all year long.”

Kadar Gardner had 13 points to lead the Middies, who hit only 12-of-39 from the field and committed 14 turnovers.

Moeller, which hit 23-of-38 from the floor, extended the lead to 41-20 after the third quarter. The Crusaders’ biggest advantage was 58-26 in the final stanza.

Middletown finished 8-15. Its last winning record came in 2013-14.

“When I took the job, I knew this wasn’t an overnight success job,” Hoskins said. “For me, it is rewarding to build this step by step, and success isn’t always measure by wins and losses. Winning is a byproduct of doing things the right way, and I am convinced we are doing things the right way.”

Middletown 2-4-14-12—32

Moeller 8-15-18-19—60

MIDDLETOWN (8-15): Shandon Morris 1 0 2; Kei’Aunte Powell 1 2 4; Kadar Gardner 5 1 13; Rob Thompson 2 1 5; Jayden Bennett 2 1 6; Jayden Jackson 1 0 2. Totals: 12-5-32

MOELLER (22-0): Michael Shipp 2 0 4; Alec Pfriem 3 3 10; Miles McBride 4 5 14; Garde Thompson 1 0 2; Chase Harding 1 1 3; Max Land 4 0 8; Will McCracken 1 2 4; Alex Williams 0 1 1; Michael Currin 1 0 2; Logan Duncomb 6 0 12. Totals: 23-12-60

3-pointers: MI 3 (Gardner 2, Bennett), MO 2 (Pfriem, McBride)

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