Crestview’s Damian Helm works inside in this file photo, taken during a game versus Arlington earlier this season. Helm averaged better than 15 points per game this season, leading the Knights to a 22-0 regular season and a number one ranking in the Division IV AP poll. (TB file photo)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
VAN WERT —The Crestview Knights have enjoyed an incredible regular season, finishing a perfect 22-0 and capturing their 15th Northwest Conference championship. Senior wing Damian Helm was one of four Knights to earn all-conference accolades, as he was named the 2013-14 Northwest Conference Player of the Year at the annual selection meeting held on Monday in Delphos.
Helm, who averaged 15.2 points per game along with 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Knights, while shooting 57 percent from the field and 91 percent from the free throw line this year, received 117 of a possible 120 points in the voting.
He was joined on the NWC first team by Columbus Grove’s Will Vorhees, Spencerville’s Ben Bowers, Jefferson’s Trey Smith and Lincolnview’s Kyle Williams.
Crestview’s Jeremy Best was named NWC Coach of the Year.
“It’s been great, our last four years. We have a great group of guys and a great group of coaches,” Helm said. “(Coach Best) keeps it energized and usually loose. He makes it a great environment for us to play in, he definitely knows our strengths and weaknesses. He’s the engine that keeps us running.”
Receiving second-team all-NWC honors were Spencerville’s Zack Goecke, Jefferson’s Ross Thompson and Kyle Kauser of Paulding. Crestview seniors Cam Etzler and Tyson Bolenbaugh were also second-team selections.
The accolades for the Knights didn’t stop there. Sophomore guard Connor Lautzenheiser received an honorable mention.
“It’s a testament to our of guys’ hard work that we put in in the fall, in the summer,” noted Helm. “We had workouts every morning at like 7:30 and we had a ton of guys there. It’s just great seeing all of that hard work pay off.
“As a team, we’re reaping the benefits,” Helm added. “Individual accolades are secondary, but we know it’s a great reward fir the hard work we’ve been putting in.”
Lincolnview’s Justis Dowdy received an honorable mention, as did Levi Kistler (Bluffton), Jace Darbyshire (Columbus Grove), Guy Harder (Paulding) and Matt Shuey (Allen East) were also honorable mentions. Ada’s Austin Dumbaugh and Brayden Sauter and Spencerville’s Dakota Prichard and Mason Nourse rounded out the all-NWC honorable mentions.
Despite the success of the regular season, Helm and his teammates have their eyes on a bigger prize.
“Right now, everybody across the board is 0-0,” Helm said of tournament trail the Knights are about to embark upon. “It’s great to know that we were one of the best in the state, but we know it means nothing, in reality. We got ourselves a conference championship, but, we know we have to win seven more (games) in order to get our ultimate goal, which is a state championship.”