Following a blowout loss at #1 Moeller in early January, the boys basketball team seemed to be floundering and looking for answers as the season was rapidly slipping away from them. They knew they were better than they were playing and had to make some adjustments to prove that to people outside of the locker room. Mission accomplished!
The Elks came out on fire and were hitting on all cylinders offensively and defensively in the first quarter to jump out in front of Mason by double digits in the first quarter. The Comets closed the gap to seven at the end of the first quarter, but still trailed, 20-13. The second and third quarters were sluggish for both teams as the defensive pressure was ratcheted up a notch and the shooting went cold both ways. Mason won the second quarter, 10-7, to close the gap to four, 27-23, at the half. The Comets also won the third quarter, 8-6, to bring the deficit to just two points, 33-31, heading to the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Elks kept the Comets at bay ad made their free throws down the stretch to post a 49-43 victory.
Senior Ryan Marchal led all scorers with 22 as the Elks won their 17th straight game since that loss to Moeller.
Now 21-5 on the year, the team returns to the Regional tournament for the seventh time in school history, still looking for that elusive, first ever State Final Four appearance. Up next for the Elks is a familiar foe, the Springfield Wildcats, on Wednesday night at 8:00 PM at the Cintas Center at Xavier University. The Elks and Wildcats shared the NL East title and split the regular season series with each team winning on the other’s home floor. The rubber match will not only break the season tie, but send one team to the Elite Eight of the State Tournament.