Lincolnview’s Ashton Bowersock (3) comes away with a defensive rebounds amidst a hoard of Lady Knights during a NWC game at Crestview on Thursday evening. Bowersock was one of two Lady Lancers to score in double figures, but Crestview pulled away to a 44-34 victory. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY — Senior forward Christine Stemen had already knocked down a pair of three-point field goals as her Lady Lancers chipped away at what had been a 10-point halftime deficit. She got just a brief opening on the right wing with a minute-and-a-half to play in the fourth quarter and took aim at another three, one that, if good, would bring Lincolnview within four points of the heavily-favored Crestview Lady Knights.
The shot, however, did not fall and Crestview was able to pull away late for a 44-34 home win over their cross-county rivals on Thursday night.
“That’s what we talked about, before the game and at halftime, and going into the fourth quarter. We wanted to be right there and just give ourselves a chance to win the game,” said Lincolnview head coach Dan Williamson after the game. “I just can’t be disappointed about any aspect of what we did tonight. Crestview just made a couple more plays.”
“I was about as happy as I could be after losing a game,” Williamson noted.
The normally-up tempo Lady Lancers came out with a conservative half court offense that replied heavily on motion and passing, while also taking time off the clock. Williamson’s team, already thin in terms of roster size, was without freshman reserve Katie McClure, who suffered a knee injury in last weekend’s loss at Van Wert. McClure will miss the rest of the season.
Playing the half court style was done, in part, to preserve his players’ legs, but it also had an affect on the Lady Knights, who appeared frustrated at the game’s tempo and often wound up taking quick jump shots when they finally did take possession.
“For the most part this season, we’ve looked to push the ball and take the first available shot that we’ve had, and we didn’t really do that tonight,” Williamson noted. “At least, from the appearance of it, that kind of threw (Crestview) off. Maybe they weren’t expecting that tonight.”
“When you face a good team like Crestview, you want to keep the ball out of their hands. They’re capable of putting up 70 points on any given night.”
“Our kids are starting to get a little bit worn down and we just can’t play that fast-paced, up-and-down game that we want to (play) all the time. We’re going to have to pick and choose our spots where we do that,” Williamson continued. “We’re a good pressing team. Hannah McCleery is best in full-court situations, but, at the same time, we only really play six kids. You just can’t ask them to do that for 32 minutes a night for 22 games.”
Lincolnview’s fresh grind-it-out style worked to limit the scoring opportunities for both squads and kept the game tight until very late in the first quarter. After four ties and three lead-changes, Crestview held a 10-8 edge and possession with mere seconds left on the opening period clock.
Junior guard Mackenzie Riggenbach forced up a leaning three-pointer from the top of the arc and knocked it down just as the buzzer sounded. With that make, the Lady Knights took some much-needed momentum into the second period.
Crestview wasted little time in capitalizing. Senior Kirsten Hicks got inside position on the shorter Lady Lancer defense and took a lob pass from Riggenbach to push the lead out to 15-8. On the next Knight possession, Riggenbach got free for a baseline jumper and the margin was suddenly nine.
Though the Lancers got baskets from Ashton Bowersock and McCleery on a difficult driving layup, Crestview would take a 22-12 lead into the break.
Though Crestview was held to just nine made field goals, the Lady Knights used solid defense to force 10 first half Lancer turnovers. Sophomore Emily Bauer, who scored just two points in the first half, made her presence felt on the defensive end. She came up with three blocked shots on Lincolnview’s final possession of the second quarter.
In the third, Lincolnview got two threes from Stemen and one from Julia Thatcher, but Crestview began to establish superiority on the glass, pushing their lead to 11 on a put-back by junior Lindsey Motycka. Each time the Lady Lancers would creep closer, the Knights would respond.
No shot for Crestview was bigger than a left-wing three-pointer by Motycka with 3:12 to play in the game. That shot took a five-point Crestview lead and made it eight. It also put a stop to a 10-4 Lincolnview spurt that included eight points from Stemen.
Crestview got the lead back to nine before a Bowersock bucket in the low post brought it to seven with just over two minutes to play, setting up Stemen for the chance to apply even more pressure to the Lady Knights.
Bauer scored the final three points of the contest to seal the victory for Crestview, who moves to 10-1 on the year. Lincolnview falls to 5-9.
Score by quarters
Lincolnview 8 4 13 9 -34
Crestview 13 9 11 11- 44
McCleery 6, Clay 2, Thatcher 5, Stemen 11, Bowersock 10, Gorman 0, Wendel 0
Crowle 0, Mercer 4, Riggenbach 12, Motycka 11, Hicks 6, Bauer 8, Hartman 3