The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2023

Knights bound for D-IV state semifinals

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

BOWLING GREEN — No. 5 Crestview overcame an early double digit deficit and rallied past No. 7 Marion Local for a dramatic 41-40 Division IV regional championship victory at Bowling Green State University on Friday.

The winning point came on a foul shot by Mitch Temple with exactly one-half second left. Temple missed the first of two free throws but hit the second for the win and a spot in next week’s OHSAA state semifinals in Dayton. After the 6-2 senior missed the first attempt, Marion Local called timeout.

Mitch Temple (5) scored 12 points against Marion Local, including the game winning free throw with less than a second left. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

“I told him basically you do this every day,” Crestview head coach Doug Etzler said. “Step up and hit it and let’s go to Dayton. I just think we have a group of gritty guys that have no quit in them and two Friday nights in a row we’ve shown that.”

Marion Local heaved the ball long downcourt after the free throw and while there was contact, no whistle was blown by the officials as time expired.

“I’m going to do the right thing and say we needed to do a better job prior to that to not be in that situation,” Marion Local head coach Kurt Goettemoeller said. “This is a bitter pill to swallow, there’s no question about it…you come this close to the state tournament and things didn’t go our way at the end and it’s a very, very difficult loss.”

Crestview trailed 34-27 to start the fourth quarter but went on an 8-2 run to pull within one, 36-35. Carson Hunter accounted for four points during the run. From there, Marion Local (22-5) had chances to add to the lead but committed a pair of turnovers and missed three consecutive free throws. A layup by Wren Sheets with 1:35 gave the Knights their first lead of the game, 37-36.

The two teams traded baskets and Crestview held a 40-38 lead with 36 seconds left but an offensive rebound and return shot by Knapke tied the game with five seconds left. From there, Temple drove the length of the court and was fouled with under a second left, setting up his heroics from the free throw line. He finished with a team high 12 points, while Sheets added eight points, all in the second half.

Pohlman led the Flyers (22-5) with 12 points while Knapke finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.

A Crestview win appeared improbable early on. Marion Local jumped out to a 13-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter, including three straight treys by Luke Pohlman. By the end of the period, Crestview trailed 17-7.

The Flyers scored just three points in the second quarter, with all three coming from 6-9 junior Jack Knapke, and the Knights scored the final five points of the period to close the gap to 20-17 at halftime. The final three points came on three free throws by Gavin Etzler with 1.7 second left until halftime.

“We’ve done it before,” Gavin Etzler said of the rally. “My freshman year we did the same thing against Delphos St. John’s at Bluffton…we did it vs. Ottoville two games ago. I just felt like we had to keep grinding away.”

“Give some credit to Crestview,” Goettemoeller added. “They kept battling and I thought we got tentative in the second quarter offensively and only scored three points and kept them in the game. They’re a scary bunch when you keep them in the game like that. They’re competitors, we’re competitors, it’s everything you’d want in a regional final, it just didn’t go our way.”

The Knights will face Berlin-Hiland (19-9) in the Division IV state semifinals at 5:15 p.m. Friday at the University of Dayton.

Box score

Knights 7 10 10 14 – 41
Flyers 17 3 14 6 – 40

Crestview: Gavin Etzler 1-3-6; Mitch Temple 4-3-12; Carson Hunter 2-3-7; Nate Lichtle 1-1-4; Wren Sheets 3-2-8; Jaret Harting 2-0-4

Marion Local: Luke Pohlman 4-0-12; Tate Hess 1-6-8; Austin Niekamp 3-0-6; Jack Knapke 3-3-9; Mitchell Ranly 2-0-4

POSTED: 03/11/23 at 12:39 am. FILED UNDER: Sports