The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Apr. 21, 2024

Knights to play for D-IV state title

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

DAYTON — Crestview trailed by a point at halftime of Friday’s Division IV state semifinal game against Berlin Hiland, but it didn’t seem to bother the Knights very much.

The No. 5 Knights (25-3) came out from the break and used a 26-7 third quarter scoring blitz and went on to defeat the Hawks 69-63 at University of Dayton Arena, putting Crestview in Sunday’s state championship game against No. 1 Richmond Heights. It’s Crestview’s first title game appearance since 2019.

“We talked (at halftime) and told them they were 16 minutes away from playing for a trophy and we were one point down so it was almost an even game,” Crestview head coach Doug Etzler said. “We didn’t feel like we played like we were capable of playing, especially at the offensive end. We said if we go down let’s go down swinging by attacking the basket and making them stop us like they did to us in the first half.”

Crestview’s Mitch Temple (5) races by a pair of Hiland defenders. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

A bucket by Carson Hunter less than a minute into the third quarter gave the Knights their first lead of the game. Nate Lichtle followed up with a trey then his teammates went to work. Wren Sheets had a pair of baskets and Mitch Temple added eight points, including a pair of technical shots after Hiland head coach was whistled with just under three minutes to go in the period. When the quarter ended, Crestview was able to carry a 53-35 lead into the final quarter.

“That was on me,” Hiland head coach Mark Schlabach said of the technical foul. “I should have kept my mouth shut. It was a big momentum shift.”

Hiland (19-10) outscored the Knights 28-16 in the fourth quarter, with Crestview going 16-of-26 from the foul line in the fourth quarter and 30-of-41 for the game. The Hawks connected on nine field goals in the final stanza, including three treys.

Temple led all scorers with 25 points, including 15-of-17 from the free throw line. Sheets added 17 points and Hunter finished with 11. Sammy Detweiler led Hiland with 19 points, while Carson Habeger and Nick Wigton each finished with 10.

Hiland led 15-8 in the first quarter but Crestview closed the game to 17-16 by the end of the period. Sheets scored nine, including a 5-for-5 performance from the foul line. Each team scored 11 in the second quarter and the Hawks led 28-27 at halftime.

“Both teams played really hard and Crestview’s really good,” Schlabach said. “In the first half we gave them too many chances at the free throw line. We should have had more than a one point lead at halftime. We played really well offensively and if we had done a better job of not fouling them in the first half we could have cut out a little bigger cushion.”

“At the start we were a little nervous but once we got into a flow we had it going and it was hard to stop us at that time,” Temple said.

“It was basically another game for us…we had to zone everything out and focus on the second half of the game,” Sheets said.

Sunday’s championship game against Richmond Heights will tip off at 2 p.m. The Spartans, winners of 48 straight games, struggled in the first half against Russia but went on to beat the Raiders 66-51 in Friday’s second semifinal game.

“We’re going to see if we can come up with a game plan tonight then get in a brief practice tomorrow and we’re just happy to be in that championship game – we wanted to play for a trophy this weekend,” Etzler said.

Box score

Knights 16 11 26 16 – 69
Hawks 17 11 7 28 – 63

Crestview: Gavin Etzler 2-3-7; Mitch Temple 4-15-25; Carson Hunter 3-5-11; Nate Lichtle 1-0-3; Wren Sheets 5-7-17; Jaret Harting 2-0-4; Nasir Easterling 1-0-2

Hiland: Phin Kelly 2-1-5; Sammy Detweiler 6-6-19; Alex Miller 2-0-6; Carson Habeger 2-5-10; Alex Yoder 4-0-8; Connor Beachy 1-0-2; Nick Wigton 4-0-10; Luke Mast 1-0-3

POSTED: 03/17/23 at 10:40 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports