Crestview senior Tyson Bolenbaugh gets inside position and tries the layup during the Knights’ 61-37 win over NWC rivalColumbus Grove on Tuesday evening. The Knights (24-0) will play Miller City for the right to advance to regionals on Friday night. (Times Bulletin/Randy Shellenbarger)
Crestview senior Tyson Bolenbaugh gets inside position and tries the layup during the Knights’ 61-37 win over NWC rivalColumbus Grove on Tuesday evening. The Knights (24-0) will play Miller City for the right to advance to regionals on Friday night. (Times Bulletin/Randy Shellenbarger)
By Sean LaFontaine
Times Bulletin Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
ELIDA — Just over a week and a half ago, it took the Crestview Knights an extra period to eventually defeat the Columbus Grove Bulldogs. Tuesday night in Elida, the Knights didn’t even need four quarters.
Crestview opened the game on a 16-2 run and never looked back to defeat the Bulldogs 65-34 in the Division IV district semi-final. The Knights will face Miller City for the district championship on Friday night.
Crestview got off to a fast start, thanks in large part to senior Cameron Etzler. Just seconds into the game, Etzler got a basket and the foul, then followed that up on the next possession with a lay-up to put the Knights out to a quick 5-0 lead.
After a Will Vorhees basket for Grove, Crestview rattled off the next 11 points of the game. Five different Knights scored on the run, a theme that was carried on throughout the night.


Crestview had built a lead of as much as 15 when Best turned to his bench. That didn’t mean a break for Grove, however, as the Knights’ reserves played a big role.
Isaiah Simerman scored nine straight points for Crestview, going 3-for-3 from behind the arc. The senior’s hot shooting vaulted Crestview to a 28-11 lead midway through the second quarter.
“Isaiah Simerman came in and hit some big shots for us coming in off the bench,” said Crestview head coach Jeremy Best. “Games like this during tournament time, you have your five starters, but it’s your guys that come in off the bench that pay dividends and make a difference. I thought our bench was great tonight. Simerman hit some big shots, Eli Jones brought some great energy and Mitchell Rickard played hard.”
On the next possession, the Knights went up by 20 on a Damian Helm three, but the Bulldogs fought back.
Vorhees and Jace Darbyshire hit back-to-back threes to cut into the Crestview lead. After a Knights basket, Darbyshire hit another three to make the score 33-20 with under a minute to play in the half.
Just when it looked like the Bulldogs were making a comeback, Helm hit another three just before the end of the half to give Crestview a 36-20 lead going into the locker room.
If the Bulldogs were going to come back, it was important they got off to a good start to begin the second half, but the Knights made sure that didn’t happened.
Crestview opened the second half on a 10-2 run, led by Connor Lautzenheiser who had five points and senior Tyson Bolenbaugh had four. The spurt put Crestview up 46-22 halfway through the third quarter. Grove never challenged again and Crestview rolled to the win.
Best spoke about his team’s game plan heading into Tuesday night.
“We came out a put a little more pressure on the ball early and we thought we couldn’t let them get in their half court offense, pound it in the post and get in a rhythm. A big key for us was to set the tone and come out swinging with our defensive pressure. We gave up a few things, but I thought overall it really jump-started our kids tonight.”
Crestview once again was very balanced in their scoring, with four players in double digits. Helm led the way with 14 points, while Lautzenheiser and Bolenbaugh added 12 and Simerman had 11.
The Knights shot well from the field going 25-for-48 (52 percent), including hitting on 7-of-15 (46 percent) threes.
“Obviously that was key and some of that was created because we were playing at a pretty good pace,” Best noted of his team’s long-distance accuracy. “They were scrambling back trying to find us. Everything is good when you’re making (shots), and the game flows a little bit easier.
Score by quarters
Crestview 2     2 14 16 13 – 65
Columbus Grove 6 14 9 5 – 34
Crestview (65)
Zaleski 3, Etzler 7, Lautzenheiser 12, Helm 14, Rolsten 2, Simerman 11, Bolenbaugh 12, Jones 4
Columbus Grove (34)
Darbyshire 12, Bogart 3, Warnecke 2, Jones 2, Neu 3, Vorhees 12