Crestview forward Lindsey Motycka (34) sets a screen for guard Mackenzie Riggenbach in this November, 2013 file photo. Riggenbach and the Lady Knights hold a 24-1 record this season, having won 23 straight games entering play in the regional semi-finals on Thursday night. (TB file photo)
Crestview forward Lindsey Motycka (34) sets a screen for guard Mackenzie Riggenbach in this November, 2013 file photo. Riggenbach and the Lady Knights hold a 24-1 record this season, having won 23 straight games entering play in the regional semi-finals on Thursday night. (TB file photo)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
sports@timesbulletin.com
CONVOY — Two wins. That’s all that stands between the 23-1 Crestview Lady Knights and a trip to the Final Four in Columbus. After tournaments wins over St. John’s, Pandora-Gilboa and Leipsic, Crestview is back in the regionals for the first time since 2009. That season ended with a loss in the state semi-finals.
Crestview takes Holgate (21-4) on Thursday night at the Elida Fieldhouse in a Division IV regional semi-final. Tip-off is slated for approximately 8 p.m.
Despite the success his team has had this year, head coach Greg Rickard knows his girls are venturing into new territory, at least as far as this group is concerned.
“This is the first time playing in a regional for this group,” Rickard said. “Last year, we got to the district final, so this is a new step for them and a new place to play in Elida, they’re never played there. It’ll be a little bit different atmosphere.”


Not only will they playing in a new atmosphere, but the Lady Knights are taking on an unfamiliar opponent in Holgate, a team that stresses a patient, balanced offensive attack.
“They have some good size, with a couple of 6-footers,” Rickard noted of the Lady Tigers. “They also have some good perimeter shooters. So they present a big challenge for us because they have the inside-outside game and they’re pretty aggressive defensively.
The Lady Tigers are led by Marissa Myles, who averages nearly 14 points per game. While no other Holgate player averages double figures in terms of scoring, three more girls, Sarah Niese, Mattie Grim and Rachel Desgranges score better than nine points per contest.
In their district final win over Ayersville last week, Desgranges poured in 18 points for the Tigers while Grim added 17.
Though preparing for the opponent is a focus for Rickard and the coaching staff, the Knight head coach says you have to take care of your own team first.
“I think it’s about 70 percent on what you want to accomplish for your team and maybe about 30 percent preparing for them,” Rickard said of the tournament routine. “We try to prepare for everything anyway, so you tend to focus on the tendencies (of the opponent), but you have to take care of your own business and just trust in that.”
Unfortunately, the Lady Knights are moving forward without the services of guard Kennis Mercer, who suffered a knee injury during the district semi-finals. Mercer will not return this season.
Mercer’s absence means a new rotation for the Lady Knights, something Rickard and his team have been working through this week in practice.
“The extra practice time has definitely helped,” Rickard remarked. “When (Mercer) hurt her knee, we had one day to prepare for Leipsic, so at least we’ve had three days here to get ready and put some groups together without Kennis. We just have to plug in somebody else and use some different substitution patterns.”
“It definitely makes it a lot tougher, offensively and defensively, without Kennis.”
Perhaps because of Mercer’s injury, or simply that this group hasn’t played in a regional before, Rickard says his girls aren’t looking ahead to a possible trip to state.
“They know the importance of this game, but for these girls, I think they just go out and play and they don’t think about that,” Rickard added of his team’s mindset coming into the game. “These kids, they just kind of take the game at hand and they just focus on that. They don’t really look ahead.”
“I haven’t seen much difference (in practice). The girls are pretty loose, and we’ve been practicing hard, just like we always do,” Rickard said. “I know that run to state is only two games away, but yet I think it seems farther because these girls have never been to the regional. I think they know (Columbus) is there, in the back of their mind, but it’s nothing they’re really focusing on right now.”
“These girls do a good job on staying focused on the team that’s ahead of them.”