Armed with three D-I prospects and a rising sophomore, Long Island Lutheran (NY) used a pressing defense and efficient shooting to hand Cincinnati Moeller a 57-45 loss at the Beach Ball Classic Thursday. It was a wire to wire win for the LI Crusaders who at one point in the 2nd half held a 19-point lead. Holding the Moeller Crusaders to 40% shooting from the floor and 21% from three- point land also helped the cause for Lutheran.
Offensively the Crusaders from New York used a balanced attack that saw three players score at least 15-points lead by junior and D-I prospect Tyson Etienne with 17-points. 2018 F/C and D-I prospect Donatas Kupsas finished with 16 points while 2018 F Franklin “Frankie” Policelli finished with 15 points on five three-pointers. Policelli also lead Lutheran in rebounding with 8. For the Crusaders from Ohio Jeremiah Davenport with 15 points but came on 4-12 shooting. Jaxson Hayes fouled out but was able to finish with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Let’s go through the Five Takeaways from the Lutheran/Moeller game.
Five Takeaways Moeller vs. Long Island Lutheran (NY)
- The versatility of the big men for Lutheran was an issue for Moeller. The before mentioned Policelli did a good job of stretching the defense at 6’9 as we mentioned earlier. Kupsas, who also stood around 6’9, made a three-pointer as well and did a good job on the finishing around the rim while also displaying good footwork in the paint. Because they were able to score in multiple ways, the shot-blocking ability of Hayes and Davenport was a non-factor for Moeller.
- While their press was a big factor, LI also did a good job of forcing Moeller into long jump-shots. The Crusaders from NY did a good job in help and recover situations, making sure that they contested jump shots and at times letting Moeller settle for the long three.
- Even in defeat in was obvious that Jaxson Hayes was the most athletic player on the floor. Three of his four field goals were on dunks which included a lob catch in transition and as always ran the court like a deer. Texas will enjoy watching this young man play.
- Do not be surprised if 2019 guard Alec Pfriem (PHO #17) starts to share more of the ball-handling duties for Moeller. With Miles “Deuce” McBride (2019/PHO #4) out with injury, they lost one of their primary ball-handlers. With Pfreim sharing ball-handling duties with PG Sleepy Payton (#57 2018/Indiana Wesleyan), it will give Payton more of chance to look for scoring opportunities. This will also help Hayes and Davenport share more of the scoring load.
This loss will only make Moeller much, much more dangerous in March. Coach Kremer has not had the success that he has had over his career for nothing. The mistakes and struggles that the Crusaders have had in South Carolina will not show up in March.