Crestview senior Cam Etzler takes a leaning jump shot during the Knights’ 66-43 win at Ada on Friday night. Etzler finished with five points in the victory. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Crestview senior Cam Etzler takes a leaning jump shot during the Knights’ 66-43 win at Ada on Friday night. Etzler finished with five points in the victory. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)

By Jim Cox

Times Bulletin Correspondent

ADA - When a team gets off twice as many shots as its opponent, a win is almost a sure thing. In Friday night's Northwest Conference opener, Crestview did just that, with 58 field goal attempts (hitting 25 - 43 percent) while Ada got off only 29 shots (making 14 - 48 percent). The result was a resounding 66-43 victory for the Knights, who are now 3-0 overall. It was the first game for the Bulldogs.

The huge shot discrepancy was largely the result of a commanding rebounding edge, 30-14, for the visitors, and a big turnover margin, 8-17. The Knights' height advantage and their tenacious defense proved, in the long run, to be too much for the hustling, athletic Dogs.

Ada turned the ball over on its first three possessions, allowing Crestview to start off with a 5-0 lead, courtesy of a Tyson Bolenbaugh put-back, Bolenbaugh free throw, and Damian Helm layup off of a Cam Etzler assist. Austin Dumbaugh's layup interrupted the Knight run, but Bolenbaugh hit another freebie, and Preston Zaleski put back Bolenbaugh's missed second free throw to make it 8-2. The Bulldogs, however, regained their composure, and the remainder of the first quarter was pretty much a matter of basket trading. At the end of one, it was 18-11, Crestview.

Bolenbaugh started the second period with a layup off of a lob from Helm, but Ada then took off on a 9-2 run to get within two, 22-20, at the 3:38 mark. That, however, would be as close as the Bulldogs would ever get. Two straight put-backs by Helm stretched the lead to 26-20, and, after an Ada bucket, Crestview got consecutive treys from Isaiah Simerman and Connor Lautzenheiser to lead by ten.

It was 32-23 at the half.

At that point, Ada was shooting 67 percent from the field, but had shot the ball only 12 times from the field. Crestview, in sharp contrast, was shooting only 44 percent, but had taken 32 shots.

In the first 16 minutes, the Knight defense forced 10 turnovers and had several deflections, making Bulldog shots hard to come by. In addition, the visitors committed only three miscues and held a 13-7 rebounding edge. The home team was still within striking distance, however, thanks to canning 7 of 9 free throw tries, while the visitors were hitting only 2 of 5. An ominous sign for Ada, however, was the fact that Crestview used nine players in the first 16 minutes, while Ada used only six. Fresh Knight legs would soon turn out to be an important factor.

The third quarter put an end to Ada's upset hopes. Blake Willeke started it with an elbow jumper to cut the lead to 32-25, but what followed was a 13-1 Crestview run to end any doubt. Zaleski triggered that by blocking a shot, picking up the loose ball, and taking it the distance. Then came a Helm put-back, fast break layup by Lautzenheiser, Simerman trey, Helm fast break layup and Bolenbaugh layup on an inbounds play. It was 45-29 after three. The Knights hit 9 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, which allowed them to eventually win by 23.

Crestview coach Jeremy Best was pleased with his depth. "That (depth) is something that we're trying to develop," he said. "When our kids show up to practice and they give us the purpose and intensity that they're supposed to give us, that's time that they can earn, come game time situations. We're starting to get healthy, and that's good to see."

"I give Ada a lot of credit," Best added. "They were very scrappy, extremely athletic. We did a poor job of defending the dribble tonight; our help defense was late at times. That's something we'll have to bet better at, but we made a lot of hustle plays. We took several charges. We were on the floor for loose balls. Deflections are something we pride ourselves on, being up in passing lanes, don't let the ball reverse, but sometimes when you do that, you give up dribble penetration, and that's what we did tonight."

The Bulldogs not only out-shot the Knights from the field, percentage-wise, but also from the stripe - 82 percent (14 of 17) to 71 percent (12 of 17). However, Crestview's rebounding, defense, and ball-handling dominance more than made up for that.

Helm, Bolenbaugh, Simerman, and Lautzenheiser led the Knight scoring with 17, 14, 12 and 9. Ada got balanced scoring from Brayden Sautter, Willeke, Dumbaugh, and Grant McBride with 11, 11, 10 and 9.

Crestview (2-1) won the junior varsity game 47-32.

Score by quarters:

Crestview 18 14 13 21 - 66

Ada 11 12 6 14- 43

Ada (43) individual scoring

Sautter 11, Willeke 11, McBride 9, Dumbaugh 10, Bass 0, Archer 2, Ansley 0.

Crestview (66) individual scoring

Zaleski 6, Etzler 5, Connor Lautzenheiser 9, Helm 17, Bolenbaugh 14, Gibson 2, Rolsten 1, Simerman 12, Rickard 0, Cain Lautzenheiser 0.