Crestview senior Derek Stout (11) is fouled by Lincolnview’s Ethan Kemler (10) during a Northwest Conference game in Middle Point on Friday night. Stout scored 18 points in a 59-46 Crestview win. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
Crestview senior Derek Stout (11) is fouled by Lincolnview’s Ethan Kemler (10) during a Northwest Conference game in Middle Point on Friday night. Stout scored 18 points in a 59-46 Crestview win. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
MIDDLE POINT — Crestview connected on 5 of its first 6 shots in jumping out to a 13-4 lead at arch-rival Lincolnview on Friday evening, and the Knights moved into sole possession of the top spot in the Northwest Conference with a 59-46 win over the Lancers.

Crestview senior Derek Stout continued his outstanding season, scoring 18 points, while teammate Wade Sheets also scored 18. The Knights shot 55 percent (23-for-42) for the game and owned a 36-18 advantage on points in the paint.

“We work through Derek,” Crestview head coach Jeremy Best said following the game. “We came out and said we wanted to go to the block. I’m real proud of Derek; he’s a young man who has just bought into our system all four years, and he’s being rewarded right now. As a senior, that’s fun to see. He’s a team-first guy.”

Stout got things rolling early, as he and Javin Etzler scored in the paint to open the game. After a Zane Miller jumper broke the scoring ice for the Lancers, the Knights (13-3, 5-0 NWC) scored 9 of the next 11 points (Derick Dealey 3-pointer, Sheets jumper, Sheets 3) to force a Lancer timeout with 3:28 left in the opening quarter.

“[The strong start] is something you talk about, you just don’t know if you can do it,” Best said. “Not just coming in here, but playing a good Lincolnview team, no matter where you’re playing them, they can put points on the board; they’re very gritty and tough.”

Crestview’s lead was 17-9 at the end of one quarter and ballooned to as many as 15 before halftime. A put-back slam by Etzler brought the Crestview faithful to a frenzy, and another Sheets jumper put the Knights ahead 27-12. Lincolnview, however, responded with a late 5-2 burst, which included a Chayten Overholt buzzer-beating put-back to go into the lockerroms down 12 and feeling like momentum was on the Lancers’ side.

The Knights quashed any thoughts of a Lancer comeback with a dominant performance out of the gate in the third quarter. Stout scored on back-to-back lob passes into the post, then Dealey connected on a trey to force a Lancer timeout with the Knights hold their biggest lead at 36-19.

“We came out flat,” Hammons said. “We tried to get them up as much as we could [in the lockerroom] and talked about the run we had to cut it to 12, and how we wanted to force them to take a timeout. Unfortunately, I was the one who had to take the timeout. Our defense and our mistakes offensively, we had a couple of offensive fouls, allowed them to get layups.”

“We didn’t end the half very well, but we came out and started the second half extremely well,” Best said. “We’ve played a lot like that this year, in spurts. We play a lot in spurts.”

After Zane Miller led the Lancers (10-6, 4-1 NWC) with 10 points in the first half, Coach Best made some adjustments at halftime. That change kept Miller from getting open looks, but allowed the Lancers greater freedom to get into the lane.

“Miller hit some big shots for them, so we talked about that,” best said. “Overall, our team defense was pretty good. We’ve got length, we’ve got some quickness, and mentally, if we really lock-in, we can do some good things on the defensive end, and that’s what gets us going.”

The result for Lincolnview was greater offensive rhythm and a late-third quarter surge. A pair of Overholt buckets led an 8-3 spurt by the Lancers to close the quarter. Another strong start followed for Crestview in the fourth, as the Knights rebuilt their 19-point lead. Lincolnview eventually trimmed the margin to 10 at 54-44, but with only 1:04 left on the clock, Lincolnview was out of time.

“If you look at all six of our losses, we’ve gotten down double figures,” Hammons said. “We’ve been able to battle back, but it has been too little, too late. Our guys keep fighting, but this is something we’ve got to learn from.”

While the league race is still undecided with three Northwest Conference game remaining for both teams, Crestview is now in the driver’s seat for the league title.

“The league is our first priority, so to come in here on the road and put ourselves in a situation to take sole first-place, with three games to play yet, tonight we’re real pleased,” Best said. “We just take them one practice, one game at a time.”

Both teams are back in action on Saturday: Lincolnview visits Delphos St. John’s while Crestview travels to Hicksville to face the 15-1 Aces.

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CRESTVIEW (59)

Drew Kline 0-10-3 0, Wade Sheets 8-14 1-1 18, Derick Dealey 3-3 3-4 11, Javin Etzler 4-10 2-3 10, Derek Stout 7-10 4-8 18, Grant Schlagbaum 1-1 0-0 2, Jave Vining 0-2 0-0 0, Trevor Gibson 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 23-42 10-19 59

LINCOLNVIEW (46)

Caden Ringwald 2-5 2-3 6, Chayten Overholt 4-13 1-3 9, Tristin Miller 4-6 0-0 10, Zane Miller 4-11 2-2 12, Ethan Kemler 4-10 1-3 9, Logan Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Isaic Bowersock 0-1 0-0 0, Alek Bowersock 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 18-47 5-8 46

Crestview 17 12 10 20 - 59

Lincolnview 8 9 8 21 - 46

3-point field goals: Cvw 3-9 (Dealey 2, Sheets), Lvw 5-18 (ZMiller 2, TMiller 2, Overholt); Rebounds: Cvw 33 (Etzler 9), Lvw 22 (ZMiller/TMiller 5); Assists: Cvw 16 (Kline/Stout 4), Lvw 12 (Overholt 5); Turnovers: Cvw 13, Lvw 12; Fouls: Cvw 12, Lvw 19; JV score: Lincolnview 45-31