The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022

Hoops preview: Crestview Knights

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — Defending Northwest Conference champion Crestview is hoping for an encore performance during the 2018-2019 boys’ basketball season and the Knights just may have the firepower to do it.

Crestview went 23-4 (8-0 NWC) and won sectional and district titles before finishing as regional runner-up last season, then lost Derek Stout, Trevor Gibson, Brett Schumm, Grant Schlaugbaum and Charles Stefanek to graduation.

Jeremy Best

However, the Knights return four senior starters: 5-9 point guard Drew Kline, 6-7 wing and Miami (OH) signee Javin Etzler, 6-3 forward and Division I football recruit Wade Sheets and 5-9 guard Derick Dealey, along with sophomore letter winner and Division I recruit Kalen Etzler (6-8 wing). Javin Etzler was first team All-NWC and District 8 Player of the Year last season, while Kline and Sheets garnered second team All-NWC honors.

“This team is experienced and is senior dominate,” head coach Jeremy Best (263-109 at Crestview) said. “We don’t have specific goals regarding wins or losses. But, this team is expected to be a team that enjoys each other and will play and compete with passion for each other. These fellas have played a bunch of varsity basketball in their time and I’m excited for them to be seniors.”

5-10 senior guard Colton Lautzenheiser, 6-2 sophomore post Carson Kreischer and 6-2 senior forward Brant Richardson are expected to contribute throughout the season, along with 5-8 junior guard Kaden Short, 5-6 sophomore guard Anthony Kline, 5-10 junior guard Michael Kline, 6-0 sophomore forward Brody Brecht, 6-1 senior post Brock Stauffer, 5-9 senior wing Kole Small and 6-0 junior post Isaiah LaTurner.

Nine of the 15 players on the roster were on the regional runner-up football team, which translated into a delay of full squad basketball practices.

“We brought all of our football guys in on Friday of last week, so we’ve had just a few practices with almost all players,” Best explained. “ We have a few bumps and bruises we’ve been working through that carried over from football, but otherwise we are moving forward.”

Crestview elected to postpone just one basketball game, the season opener against Van Wert, which was rescheduled for January 5. The Knights will begin the season Saturday at Miller City.

“I’ve never tried to prepare a team to play after six or seven practices, but we feel that it was important to impose a sense of urgency to our guys and get rolling,” Best said. “There will be peaks and valleys along the way, but we will keep plugging away.”

Along with Miller City and Van Wert, other non-conference games include Parkway, Edgerton, Fort Jennings, Delphos St. John’s, Kalida, Arlington, Lima Central Catholic, Lima Central Catholic, Hicksville, Wayne Trace and New Knoxville. The Knights will also play Minster at the Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament in Kettering.

One big change this year is on the coaching staff, where longtime assistant Dave Bowen stepped down after being named high school principal.

“Dave was with me for 16 years, so it is very obvious that I will miss his knowledge, professionalism and friendship,” Best said. “He dedicated a lifetime to our basketball program and our program is very grateful for what he represented and provided.”

“My coaching staff has changed dramatically over the past two or three years,” Best continued. “You could say we’ve gone with a youth movement in our staff. I am very pleased with my current staff.”

“Tony Springer, Steven Rickard played for me and were on staff last year. Also, Nick Leeth has been added to our staff and he brings a nice basketball background having played for Coach Hammons at Lincolnview.”

Saturday: Van Wert wrestling preview

POSTED: 11/30/18 at 5:45 am. FILED UNDER: Sports