By Sean LaFontaine
Times Bulletin Correspondent
CELINA – The Crestview Knights hit the snowy roads Tuesday for a non-conference match-up against the Celina Bulldogs. The Knights got out to a double-digit lead and were able to hold on in the end for a 62-60 victory.
The Knights lead 41-28 midway through the third quarter, but that was their biggest lead of the night. Celina pulled within seven, but Connor Lautzenheiser hit a three followed by a Tyson Bolenbaugh basket just before the buzzer to end the third period, giving Crestview a 51-40 advantage.
The Bulldogs did not go away easily. Celina went on an 8-2 spurt to begin the fourth quarter to cut the lead down to 53-48 before Cam Etzler hit a big three to kill the run.
Celina refused to go away. A Mason Ross basket cut the Crestview lead to two with just under a minute-and-a-half to play. The two teams traded free throws to keep the Crestview lead at two.
On a hectic possession, senior Damian Helm grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed shot by Preston Zaleski and put it back in to put Crestview up four with just over 15 seconds to play.
A Caleb Hoying field goal with about ten seconds to play kept the game within reach for the Bulldogs. Celina fouled the Knights to put them at the line for a one-and-one.
Crestview missed the front end to leave the door open, but, as Celina tried to make one last push up the floor, Ryan Hoyng slipped and fell. The ball came loose and was secured by the Knights to seal the two-point road victory.
Crestview coach Jeremy Best was very pleased with his teams’ performance.
“It was a good ballgame with a lot of action. Both teams got after it defensively, made plays on the offensive end,” said Best. “I think our guys showed a lot of character tonight to come on the road down here to place we have never been before. I’m pleased with the effort we put fourth against a good Celina team.”
Bolenbaugh led the way for Crestview with 19 points. Helm added 14 and Lautzenheiser had 10. As a team Crestview shot very well from two going 21-for-35 (60 percent) and hit on only 4-of-15 (26 percent) three-pointers.
The victory keeps Crestview a perfect 16-0 on the season.
As part of a girls/boys doubleheader, the Lady Knights also claimed victory in the early game at Celina, posting a 44-34 win.
Celina lead 19-18 at the half, but Crestview turned things around in the second half.
The Lady Knights started the third period on a 7-0 run to take a 25-19 lead. Kennis Mercer had three points during the run and Mackenzie Riggenbach added a three.
Celina fought back to get within one with just under five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as the Lady Bulldogs got.
The Lady Knights scored the next seven points of the game, all by sophomore center Emily Bauer. The run gave Crestview a 38-30 lead with just over four minutes to play.
Crestview never allowed Celina to get back in the game and hit their free throws down the stretch to secure the 44-34 victory.
Bauer led all scorers with 16 points. Lindsey Motycka and Mercer added seven points apiece.
Crestview coach Greg Rickard talked about the difference for his team in the second half.
“I thought we did a better job of getting the ball inside,” said Rickard. “We got higher percentage shots and cut down on our threes. We knocked some of those shots down, got some and ones and got to the free throw line. I think that was the difference for us in the second half.”
The victory improves the Lady Knights to 16-1 on the season.
Girls score by quarters
Crestview 8 10 13 13 – 44
Celina 10 9 9 6 – 34
Lady Knights (44)
Crowle 2, Mercer 7, Riggenbach 6, Bauer 16, Motycka 7, Hicks 6
Boys score by quarters
Crestview 17 13 21 11 - 62
Celina 16 10 14 20 - 60
Zaleski 6, Etzler 9, Lautzenheiser 10, Helm 14, Simerman 2, Bolenbaugh 19, Jones 2