The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, May. 16, 2022

Defense carries Knights to a 38-36 win

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — To say Tuesday night’s game between Crestview and Kalida was a defensive struggle is an understatement.

Crestview held Kalida to single digits in three of four quarters and didn’t allow a single point in the final 7:03, and the Knights handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season, 38-36 at Ray Etzler Gymnasium.

JJ Ward (22) scored all eight of his points against Kalida in the third quarter. Wyatt Richardson/Van Wert independent

“The defensive effort was great,” Kalida head coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “It’s the first time we’ve seen a defense like that and it took us a while to adjust. Anytime a defense can have a 6-8 kid standing on the block waiting on you it’s difficult, so kudos to them for a good game plan.”

“We’ll probably see them again in March,” Stechschulte added.

“We came out and did things a little different with a triangle-and-two and tried to take it out of their two best scorers’ hands, and it worked really well in the first half. They took the lead in fourth and it wasn’t working any more so we had to go back to our man-to-man, and that’s what we’ve played all year is straight man-to-man defense, and I thought our guys did a good job of digging in and getting in done in the fourth quarter.”

Tyson Siefker hit a triple that gave Kalida 36-32 lead just 57 seconds into the fourth quarter, but it turned out to be the final time the Wildcats would score.

Ohio State signee Kalen Etzler converted a pair of foul shots with 5:41 left in the game, then Gavin Etzler hit both ends of a 1-and-1 at the 1:43 mark to tie the game 36-36. 43 seconds later, Kalen Etzler drilled a long left wing jumper to snap the tie, and the Knights were able to hold on from there.

“It definitely gives us a shot of confidence,” coach Etzler said of the win. “We tried to emphasis to these guys that you don’t get many chances against a team that’s undefeated and for the rest of the year we’re not going to get a chance to play a team that’s undefeated. It’s a tournament opponent, you’re battling for tournament seeds and it’s just something you have to take pride in and get it done on your home court. I’m really proud of our guys tonight.”

Kalen Etzler scored seven of his game-high 15 points in the first quarter and the Knights grabbed a 12-9 lead. The 6-8 senior added four more in the second quarter and Crestview led 21-16 at halftime.

JJ Ward scored Crestview’s first eight points of the third quarter, hitting two treys and a bucket, and the Knights enjoyed a 29-19 lead. However, the Wildcats went on a 14-3 scoring run with two triples each by Jayce Horstman and Brandon Miller, plus five points by Ayden Warnecke, and Kalida took a 33-32 lead into the fourth quarter. Miller went on to finish with 11 points.

“We were able to get a double digit lead and they did a great job of stopping our set and we just made one extra pass – when they switched we made an extra pass to JJ and he hit those three bigs in the third and that was huge,” Etzler explained.

Crestview (6-2) went to the foul line just seven times in the game and converted six, while Kalida had no free throw attempts in the game. The Knights held a 24-19 rebounding advange, with Kalen Etzler pulling down eight, and Kalida’s Luke Erhardt grabbing six.

The Wildcats had just eight turnovers in the game, while the Knights committed 13 turnovers.

Crestview is scheduled to host Tinora on Saturday and Kalida (7-1) will travel to Fort Jennings on Friday, January 8.

Scoring summary

Crestview 12 9 11 7 – 38
Kalida 9 7 17 3 – 36

Crestview: Kalen Etzler 4-4-15; Gavin Etzler 2-2-7; Carson Hunter 1-0-3; JJ Ward 3-0-8; Carson Kreischer 1-0-2; Nathan Lichtle 1-0-3

Kalida: Ayden Warnecke 2-0-5; Brandon Miller 4-0-11; Justin Siebeneck 2-0-5; Tyson Siefker 1-0-3; Jayce Horstman 2-0-6; Luke Erhart 3-0-6

POSTED: 12/29/20 at 10:55 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports