Crestview’s Emily Bauer (32) puts up a layup during the Lady Knights come-from-behind win over Leipsic on Saturday night in Lima. The victory clinched a district title for Crestview. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Crestview’s Emily Bauer (32) puts up a layup during the Lady Knights come-from-behind win over Leipsic on Saturday night in Lima. The victory clinched a district title for Crestview. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By Jim Cox
Times Bulletin Correspondent
LIMA — Crestview can thank its defense and free throw shooting for a nail-biting grind-it-out 41-33 win over Leipsic in Saturday night’s Division IV district final. The victory advances the Lady Knights (23-1) to Thursday night’s second Elida regional semifinal at approximately 8:00 against Holgate. Leipsic’s season ends at 20-4.
This game was about as tight as it can get until Crestview’s late-fourth-quarter free throw accuracy put it away. After the game started with a 7-0 Viking run, the Knights rallied behind Emily Bauer and Lindsey Motycka to get within one at 9-8 after one quarter. After that, there were three ties and four lead changes, but neither team led by more than four until midway through the final stanza.
Leipsic’s Haley Gerten banked in a straightaway buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Vikings a 27-26 lead after three quarters. That shot, however, didn’t turn out to be a momentum-changer.
The fourth quarter started with Crestview’s Kirstin Hicks rebounding her own miss and getting fouled. She drained both free throws to get a 28-27 lead, an edge that the Knights would hold onto, though not easily. After a Viking turnover, Bauer snared a partially-blocked air-ball and stuck it in, was fouled and hit the freebie, giving Crestview its largest lead of the game to that point at 31-27 with 5:18 left in the game.

The teams then traded some misses and turnovers until Bauer was fouled on a breakaway layup attempt. She hit nothing but net on both charity tosses to up the margin to 33-27 at the 4:59 mark. Both teams continued to shoot bricks until Gerten was fouled on a drive into the lane and hit only the first of two freebies to cut it to five with 3:10 remaining. Leipsic’s Shalynn Morman then stole the ball and went the distance to make it 33-30 with 1:50 remaining.
It then became a question of whether the Knights could hit their free throws. They could.
Motycka swished both of hers at 1:25 and the lead was back to five at 35-30. Leipsic misfired from the field, but Riggenbach missed a front-end of a one-and-one. Gerten was fouled on a drive and hit only the first of two, and it was 35-31 at 1:06. Riggenbach split a pair with 51 seconds on the clock, then split another pair after a Viking turnover and Crestview lead by six with 35 seconds to go.
Leipsic’s Kelly Nadler landed one from the right elbow to cut the lead to four, but Hicks was immediately fouled in the backcourt and hit both free throws to make it 39-33 with 24 seconds left. Another Viking turnover put Riggenbach back at the line with 12 seconds left, and she sealed the deal by draining both shots.
Things didn’t look promising for Crestview in the early going. Leipsic started off hot, getting buckets from Gerten, Amber Gerdeman, and Morman to lead 7-0. Knight coach Greg Rickard promptly called a timeout.
In last year’s district final against Ottoville, the Lady Knights had fallen behind 14-0 and never recovered, eventually losing 54-23. “We were kinda worried when it was 7-0,” said Rickard. “I’m thinking, ‘oh no, like deja vu from last year.’ That was crucial for us to get back in the game and give our girls some confidence to know they could play with Leipsic.”
The Knights didn’t hit from the field until Motycka’s patented spin move and ten-footer at the 2:54 mark. Bauer then sliced inside for a layup, and Motycka hit two free throws to cap a 6-0 run and get the Knights within one, 9-8, at the first stop. At that point, the Knights had hit only 2 of 9 field goal tries, and the Vikings’ twin towers, 6-foot-2 Nadler and 6-foot-1 Gerdeman, had given Leipsic an 8-3 rebounding edge.
The second quarter was literally a basket-trading matter, with Leipsic holding onto the lead until Motycka’s dandy turnaround jumper from the left elbow got Crestview its first advantage, 18-17, with 43 seconds left in the half. However, 20 seconds later, Gerten trumped that with a layup to give the Lady Vikings a 19-18 halftime lead.
Motycka started the third quarter with a 17-foot baseline jumper, but Nadler escaped inside to regain the lead at 21-20. Riggenbach hit twice from the line, and Motycka’s twisting layup via a Bauer assist made it 24-21, Knights, at 1:04. Gerten, again, answered, this time with a three from the point, to tie it at 24. Motycka muscled in a layup to get the two-point lead, but then Gerten hit her buzzer-beating trey to end the third quarter and set the stage for the finale.
For the game as a whole, both teams shot only 34 percent from the field, Crestview on 11-of-32, Leipsic on 13-of-38. The Knights didn’t hit a 3-pointer all night, while the Vikings hit four from long range. Crestview had an edge in rebounds, 23-21, and committed fewer turnovers, 11-17. The Knights had a huge advantage at the line, 83 percent on 19-for-23, including 13-for-16 in the fourth quarter. Leipsic went to the line only seven times, hitting three (43 percent).
Bauer, at 5-foot-9, is the tallest Lady Knight, and that was a concern going in against Nadler and Gerdeman. “I gotta credit our post players inside,” said Rickard. “We didn’t give ‘em much help. It was pretty much one-on-one. They did a good job of denying or playing behind and making them shoot over the top. We tried to keep their big girls away from the basket, and I thought we did a good job with that.”
Motycka, Bauer, and Riggenbach led Crestview scoring with 14, 13, and 8, respectively. Gerten had 14 for Leipsic.
The Knights played without Kennis Mercer, who will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL in closing minutes of the district semifinal game. Her absence put more ball-handling responsibility on Riggenbach. Motycka and Bauer also frequently moved outside to help against the Viking pressure.
“Against this team we wanted to penetrate and kick it out,” said Rickard. “Kennis is a great penetrator. You lose speed defensively, and you lose ball handling. She also leads our team in free throw shooting, and she rebounds well. She’s just an all around player. That’s a big loss for us.”
Score by quarters:
Crestview 8 10 8 15- 41
Leipsic 9 10 8 6- 33
Crestview (41)
Crowle 2, Riggenbach 8, Bauer 13, Motycka 14, Hicks 4, Zaleski 0, Hartman 0
Leipsic (33)
Rieman 3, Morman 5, Gerdeman 5, Nadler 6, Gerten 14, Kreinbrink 0, Scheckelhoff 0, Steffan 0