By Sean LaFontaine
Times Bulletin Correspondent
CONVOY – Even though the Crestview Knights entered Friday’s contest undefeated, there was one seemingly simple task the Knights had not done. Play a home conference game.
Crestview checked that off their to-do-list Friday night in a big way, as the defeated the Allen East Mustangs, 81-41.
The Knights got off to a hot start, opening the game on a 14-0 run. All five starters scored during the run, led by Damian Helm with five points.
Allen East cut slightly into that lead to end the first quarter down 18-6, but Crestview had another run in them.
The Knights opened the second quarter on a 16-2 spurt, this time to extend their lead to 34-8 with just over 3:30 left in the half. Crestview again used their balanced attack, as five different players scored during the stretch. Sophomore Connor Lautzenheiser led the way with five points, while senior Tyson Bolenbaugh added four.
Crestview took a 40-15 lead into the locker room and never looked back on their way to a 81-41 victory.
Eleven different Crestview players scored on the night, led by Bolenbaugh who had 14. Lautzenheiser had 12 while Isaiah Simerman and Mitchell Rickard each also added a dozen.
As a team the Knights shot 27-for-58 (46 percent) from the floor including 11-for-27 (40 percent) from 3-point range. Crestview also shot well from the free throw line, going 16-for-18 (88 percent) from the stripe.
The Crestview defense caused havoc throughout the game, forcing 25 Mustang turnovers on the night, while the Knights only turned the ball over seven times themselves.
“I thought we came out with good purpose and intensity. I thought we missed opportunities early,” said Crestview coach Jeremy Best. “We missed a few layups and had some transition things, but a lot of it stemmed from our defensive intensity.”
“We were able to get a lot of guys in the game and we shot the ball better in the second half,” said Best about his bench. “You never know when you’re going to need to dig into the bench in situations in tighter games so you want to make sure they have the confidence to come in and knock down shots.”
The victory improved Crestview to 17-0 on the season, and keeps them a top of the Northwest Conference with a 5-0 record.
The Knights will return to action Saturday night when they host a rematch with the Wayne Trace Raiders. Tipoff will be 6 p.m. at Ray Etzler Gymnasium. Wayne Trace will enter the game with a 14-1 record, with that one loss coming at the hands of the Knights, who beat the Raiders 50-48 in Haviland.
“We have an important stretch here,” said Best. “We are excited about tomorrow night and then we have to bounce right back with a big conference game on Tuesday, so we are going to see what we are made of in the next few days.”
Score by quarters
Crestview 18 22 22 19 – 81
Allen East 6 9 7 19 – 41
Zaleski 1, Mefferd 2, Etzler 6, Lautzenheiser 13, Gibson 6, Helm 9, Simerman 12, Rickard 12, Bolenbaugh 14, Jones 4, Van Cleave 2
Allen East (41)
Runk 6, Ryan 10, Friesner 2, Miller 2, Shuey 14, Wireman 2, Sherrick 5