Crestview sophomore Connor Lautzenheiser puts up a runner in th esecond half of the Knights’ 70-40 win over Wayne Trace on Saturday. Lautzenehiser scored a dozen points in the contest. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Crestview sophomore Connor Lautzenheiser puts up a runner in th esecond half of the Knights’ 70-40 win over Wayne Trace on Saturday. Lautzenehiser scored a dozen points in the contest. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By Kevin Wannemacher
Times Bulletin Business Manager
CONVOY — After narrowly beating Wayne Trace earlier in the season, the Crestview boys basketball made sure there was no such drama in the second meeting of the two squads.
The host Knights outscored the visiting Raiders 39-16 in the second half and pulled away for a 70-40 victory in a much-hyped battle of state-ranked teams at Ray Etzler Gymnasium.
Crestview used a 14-5 run to start the second half to break the game open, turning a 31-24 halftime advantage into a 45-29 lead that just continued to expand.
Knight head coach Jeremy Best was very pleased with his squad’s performance.

“I thought we came out and made plays tonight on both ends of the floor,” commented the Knight mentor. “Defensively, we played with a lot of intensity and made them work for everything. Offensively, we got contributions from a lot of guys and that is something we have been working on all year.”
Following a T.J. Blackmore basket for Wayne Trace, the Knights followed with a Cam Etzler bucket and a Damian Helm trey to push the margin to 50-31. Crestview went on to post a 52-34 lead entering the final quarter.
“They played really well tonight,” noted Raider head coach Jim Linder of the Knights. “They hit shots and everybody was hitting shots for them. They are a very good basketball team on both ends of the floor.”
The Raiders closed within 55-38 early in the fourth period on an Ethan Linder 3-pointer, but the visitors would get no closer. Crestview answered with an 11-0 run, getting four points each by Helm and Tyson Bolenbaugh in the run along with a triple by Mitchell Rickard, to push the lead to 66-38.
“We work hard on developing our depth and it was a factor tonight,” commented Best. “Our guys played very hard and we did a good job of taking care of the basketball and making good decisions.”
Crestview jumped out to a 12-5 lead early on with Connor Lautzenheiser and Bolenbaugh scoring five points each in the run.
“We dug ourselves a hole early, and you can’t do that against good basketball teams,” noted Linder. “Crestview is going to make you pay for mistakes and they did tonight.”
The Knights led 16-9 after one quarter of action but the Raiders would make a run.
Wayne Trace got within 25-21 on a Colby Speice three-point play before the hosts quickly responded.
A Helm trey and an Etzler basket just before halftime expanded the Knight margin to 31-24 at the break and Crestview would take over from there.
“We have to go back to work on Monday and come ready to play on Tuesday at Lincolnview,” closed Linder. “We’ve got some tough challenges yet, and we just need to learn from this and get better next week.”
Helm led all scorers with 21 points for the Knights, who remain unbeaten at 18-0 on the season. Bolenbaugh chipped in 14 points with Etzler adding 13 and Lautzenheiser recording a dozen. Bolenbaugh and Preston Zaleski each had seven boards for the Knights and Helm picked up six. Etzler also had seven assists and four steals for Crestview.
Ethan Linder paced Wayne Trace with ten points followed by Corbin Linder with nine and Blackmore added seven. Speice and Devin Wenzlick both picked up three boards for the Raiders, who were out-rebounded 33-20 in the contest.
Speice dished out four assists for the Raiders, who fall to 14-2.
Crestview limited Wayne Trace to 14-for-41 shooting on the night (34 percent) while the Knights were 28-for-52 (54 percent). The Knights also committed only seven turnovers compared to a dozen for Wayne Trace.
The Knight junior varsity avenged an earlier season loss to the Raiders by posting a 43-36 win to move to 13-4 on the season.
Cody Mefferd scored a game-high 28 points to lead the hosts with Braden Van Cleave adding seven points and four rebounds. Mefferd also added two assists and three steals with Isaiah Kline and Nate Owens also posting two assists.
Justin Speice poured in 13 points and picked up six rebounds to top Wayne Trace, which falls to 13-3. Rylen Asher and Luke Miller chipped in six points each and Cole Shepherd also grabbed six rebounds for the Raiders.
Both schools return to action on Tuesday, as Crestview hosts Paulding in Northwest Conference action while Wayne Trace hits the road to Lincolnview.

Score by quarters
Wayne Trace 9 15 10 6- 40
Crestview  16 15 21 18- 70
Wayne Trace (40)
Wobler 0, Miller 2, E. Linder 10, C. Speice 6, Shepherd 0, Arend 2, C. Linder 9, Vest 0, Wenzlick 3, Sinn 1, Blackmore 7, J. Speice 0
Crestview (70)
Zaleski 3, Etzler 13, Co. Lautzenheiser 12, Helm 21, Rolsten 2, Simerman 0, Bolenbaugh 14, Jones 0, Gibson 0, Ca. Lautzenheiser 2, Rickard 3, Owens 0