Knights prepared for high-octane Tri-Village offense
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:00 AM
By John Parent
Crestview senior Tyson Bolenbaugh scores during the distrcit semi-finals against Columbus Grove. Bolenbaugh will face one of the D-IV co-Players of the Year on Thursday night. (TB file photo)
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY — The Crestview Knights have overcome every obstacle in front of them this season. As they prepare to face New Madison Tri-Village in the Division IV state semi-finals on Thursday night in Columbus, head coach Jeremy Best sees this next opponent as one that presents a unique challenge.
“They’re a very explosive offensive team,” Best said of the Patroits, who have twice scored at least 100 points in a game this season. “They have multiple weapons - three-to-four weapons that they use on offense. They have a really good point guard who has over 200 assists on the year and does a fabulous job of getting his guys that need the ball, the ball.”
“They have three guys that can really put in the basket,” Best continued. “They have a 6-foot-5 245 lbs kid inside, a 6-5 athletic wing/post player, and a 6-3 shooter that’s one of the better shooters that we’ll see all year.”
Tri-Village defeated Marion Local by a surprisingly lop-sided 62-44 score in the regional final in Kettering last Friday. The Patriots, who are making their first-ever trip to the state final four, shot a blistering 54 percent (20-for-37) versus the much taller Flyers. Among the top performers for Tri-Village in that win was Colton Linkous, whose 19 points came laregly on the back of a 5-for-8 effort from 3-point range.
Damion Cook, the athletic wing that Best mentioned, led all scorers with 24 points versus Marion Local, and did so on 8-of-10 shooting.
While the bulk of Tri-Village’s roster is 6-foot-3 or shorter, the Knights will be playing against team that has a bit of a size advantage inside.
“They have some size on us inside, but so did Ottawa Hills,” Best noted. “I thought our kids did a great job (against the Green Bears) of compensating with their strength and utilizing what we do. That’s our same plan of attack (on Thursday).”
Wile Crestview senior Tyson Bolenbaugh can more than hold his own inside, he’ll be matched-up with Tyler Cook, who, along with Crestview’s Damian Helm, was named one of four to share the Division IV Player of the Year honors by the Assiated Press. Cook, a senior, was held to just eight points against the sizeable front line of the Flyers on Friday night.
Bolenbaugh, meanwhile, is coming off a 13 point, six rebound effort versus Wayne Trace.
Tri-Village is 26-1 on the season, but share no common opponents with Crestview. The Knights have been preparing by watching video of the Patriots, but Best says he won’t know how his team matches-up until the game is played.
“We’ve got a good look on them, in reference to preparing for them and looking at some things, but I don’t think we’ll really know until we get out there. We haven’t seen them live, we don’t have any common opponents to really make comparisons to, so that’s what is really challenging,” Best explained. “Maybe a little bit refreshing, also, because we’re going to keep it pretty simple and do what we’ve been doing and try to take away their strengths with what we do well.”
Crestview’s success has been built on a stingy defense that has suffocated post players and those on the perimeter alike. On the other side, however, the Knights have run into increasing resistence as they try to ignite their own offensive game.
“They pretty good on defense,” Best said of Tri-Village. “With all the size they have, they really cause havoc around the basket.”
Crestview scored just 44 points against Wayne Trace on Friday, hitting on just 14-of-39 (35.9 percent) shots from the floor including a brutal 3-for-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
“At this time of year, the game slows down a little bit and becomes a possession game, so their aren’t as many possessions,” Best continued. “The other side of that is that teams do a better job (on defense as the tournament continues), they start to take away what you do well and we have to find other ways to compensate for that.”
“I still have all kinds of faith in our guys, offensively. I know that we’ll continue to do what we need to do to put the ball into the basket,” Best added. “We’ll continue to take good shots, like we’ve done. We haven’t taken bad shots, we’ll knock those down. I still have a lot of faith in them.”