Crestview junior Preston Zaleski takes the contact on his way to the hoop during the Knights’ 60-31 win over Lincolnview. Connor McCleery (left) was called for the block on the play and Zaleski converted a three-point play as part of his six-point night. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
By Sean LaFountaine
Times Bulletin Correspondent
MIDDLE POINT — The Lincolnview faithful came out in full force and packed the gym Friday night in rural Middle Point to watch their Lancers take on the number one Division IV team in the state, the Crestview Knights.
The Knights relished the opportunity in a hostile environment, as they got off to a quick start and never looked back on their way to a 60-31 route of the Lancers.
Crestview got rolling early thanks to senior guard Cam Etzler, who scored the first four points of the game. Justis Dowdy got the Lancers on the board to make the score 4-2, but then Knights opened up the game in a hurry.
Crestview closed out the first quarter on an 11-4 run. Etzler continued his hot start and added four points during the spurt, as did junior guard Preston Zaleski. Mitchell Rickard also added a three-pointer to put Crestview up 15-6 after the first period.
Crestview then put the game out of reach by scoring the first 16 points of the second quarter. The first seven of those came from senior Damian Helm. Isaiah Simerman hit a three for Crestview, while Tyson Bolenbaugh, Connor Lautzenheiser and Etzler each contributed baskets during the run.
Kyle Williams hit a three for Lincolnview to finally end the Crestview streak. Dowdy hit a free throw and Austin Leeth followed with a basket to cut the lead to 31-12, but Luke Gibson scored before the end of the half to give the Knights a 33-12 lead at the break.
Crestview coach Jeremy Best knew it was going to be important for his team to get of to a fast start, and they did just that.
“It was very important to get off to a good start. The last thing we wanted to have was to dig ourselves out of a hole when this place is going crazy.”
Williams put up seven points in the third quarter, but was the only Lancer to have a basket in the period. Crestview extended their lead to 44-20 and cruised to rest of the way for the road conference victory, 60-31.
While the Knights’ offense was very impressive and efficient Friday night, it was their defense that was the difference.
“Great environment and great atmosphere tonight, but I thought our kids came out and played with some pretty good purpose and shared the basketball pretty well,” Best added. “Defensively we locked down on (Kyle) Williams pretty well and made it hard for them as a team.”
Crestview used a balanced attack in the victory. Nine different Knights scored in the game, but Helm led the way with 12 points while Etzler and Lautzenheiser added 10 points apiece. The Knights shot 22-for-40 (55 percent) from the field, including a hot 6-for-11 (54 percent) from three-point land.
The Crestview defense held the Lancers shooting to just 11-for-32 (34 percent) from the field. Williams led the way with 13 points for Lincolnview.
After the game Lincolnview coach Brett Hammons gave his thoughts on the game.
“We knew we would have to get off to a good start, but Cam (Etzler) came out and hit three quick baskets and we were just slow offensively,” said Hammons. “When you’re trying to control tempo you have to get stops defensively and we didn’t do a very good job of that. I didn’t think we quit, and I thought we gave a good effort, but when you’re playing a team that is a good as Crestview, you have to make plays. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
The loss drops the Lancers to 6-5 on the season and 3-1 in the Northwest Conference. Lincolnview will have to have a short memory as they travel to Antwerp on Saturday night to take on the Archers.
The victory keeps the Crestview Knights tied atop the NWC at 4-0 in the conference, while they sit at a perfect 11-0 overall. The Knights will have another tough test on Saturday night when they host the St. John’s Blue Jays.
Score by quarters
Lincolnview 6 6 8 11 - 31
Crestview 15 18 11 16 - 60
Leeth 2, Williams 13, Dowdy 4, Adams 3, McCleery 2, Farmer 3, Ludwig 4
Zaleski 6, Meferd 2, Etzler 10, Lautzenheisr 10, Gibson 2, Helm 12, Simerman 6, Rickard 8, Bolenbaugh 4