The Future of the Florida Christmas Tournament
Under Coach Fleming the La Salle basketball team developed a tradition of going to Florida to play in the Kingdom of the Sun Basketball Tournament over Christmas break. It started as every other year and it became every year because of scheduling. Most teams, when they schedule you, want two-year contracts.
La Salle has decided to forgo the tournament for the foreseen future and stay in Cincinnati. Coach Muenchen commented, "It is a difficult journey. Either you go all the time or it is hard to go because of scheduling. We are already having trouble getting games for next year at Christmas time because Centerville is going to Florida and needed to drop us."
Why No Friday Game January 18
Coach Muenchen answered, "Fridays are usually reserved for GCL games. When we played St. X, Moeller did not play Elder that night. Scheduling is not always that simple when you are a 4-team league. If you don't play a GCL game it is hard to schedule a Friday game because everyone else is playing league games."
Why A Sunday Game
We play Walnut Hills Saturday and Thurgood Marshall Sunday. Joe said of the Sunday game, "Sunday is an invitational showcase to honor Martin Luther King. The game is at Middletown. There will be a bunch of games there Sunday and Monday."
How good is Walnut Hills?
Joe replied, "I don't know if they are as good as they have been in other years but they are always solid. They have some good players."
Our Biggest Strength and Weakness
Joe felt, "Our biggest strength was we don't have one guy we have to rely on to score. Last year Riley Haubner had to score for us to win. This year we have had different leading scorers making us harder to guard. Anybody can be the guy that gets hot and leads us in scoring."
"The flip side of that is it can be a weakness because we don't have any one guy to depend on every single night. If we can have multiple guys step up that helps us. If we have nobody step up we are in trouble."
The closest thing La Salle has to a consistent guy stepping up is Jay Lemons. Jay is 4th in the GCL in scoring, averaging 12.8 points a game. He has been in double figures in 9/12 games and scored 9 in two of the other three.
On the Season
Joe added, "We are in most every game, it is just a matter of finishing for this group." La Salle has won 4 of their last 5. They seem to be coming together." Joe said, "I think it is a matter of health. We have all of our guys for a change."
"At the beginning of the season we didn't have Mike [Wergers] for awhile. Cole Hildebrand was out as was Nathan Vogelpohl. We have everybody playing now. I think that is one of the major factors for us going on a roll."
On Jay Lemons and Mike Wergers
"I think often times Jay is our most valuable player, because when teams pressure us he is the guy that has to have the ball. He handles the ball so much you can see what happens when he is not in the game. He can't get in foul trouble."
"It has become a big issue for us to keep people from getting in foul trouble. When we have to take people out, especially Lemons, we struggle. At the moment I think Lemons is our MVP."
"Mike Wergers has given us more this year on offense than I expected. If he scores 6 to 8 points a game that is a bonus."
Moeller was state champs last year, finishing 27-3 on a 20 game winning streak. This year they are 11-0 and ranked #1 in the state. Joe was asked to compare the two teams. "I think this year's team is better because of McBride. He gives them a guy that can score anytime he wants to. He can take it to the rim and shoot a pull up. He is one of the best players Moeller has ever had. Any time Moeller needs a basket it is just too easy for him to score."
Offense and Defense
La Salle scores about 50 points a game and gives up about 50. When asked which one do we have to get better at Joe said, "Defense; offense comes and goes. You can't control offense. We have to get better at what we can control and that's the defense. We are not there yet. We are not a great defensive team and we need to get better at it."
Moeller appears to be the class of the GCL with the other three teams capable of beating each other on any given night. La Salle is fortunate to already have a road win over St. X with three of the Lancers' remaining four league games being played at home.
The Reserve Team
La Salle's reserve team defeated Moeller to remain undefeated for the year. This is the same team that didn't win a GCL game as freshmen. Don't be surprised if a couple of these guys don't start seeing a few minutes on the varsity.
So far the freshman have lost both of the GCL games on the road. They were in both games but couldn't pull them out. The freshmen have one guy, Devin Taylor, playing on the reserves.