Mitch Temple of Crestview glides to the basket against Berlin Hiland on Friday night. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
Mitch Temple of Crestview glides to the basket against Berlin Hiland on Friday night. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)

DAYTON — Friday night's division IV state semifinal was a one-point game at halftime, but the Knights put together a 26-point third quarter behind another signature performance from Mitch Temple to pull away from Berlin Hiland for a 69-63 victory.

Crestview never led in the first half and the Hawks clutched to a 28-27 lead at the break. However, things changed quickly for the Knights in the third quarter. After tying things up at 32, Temple led his team on a 14-0 run, scoring nine points along the way.

Crestview's onslaught was culminated by Carson Hunter's double-clutch layup and a foul, followed by Temple's reverse layup and-one on the next trip down the floor. Temple's old fashioned three-point play made it 46-32 Knights with 2:08 left in the third.

"Once we got it going on offense in the third quarter, that brought up our energy level," said Crestview guard Mitch Temple. "The crowd started to get into it too and that fueled us on the run."

Hiland snapped the skid with a free throw from Phin Killy, then Wren Sheets took over in the post with a pair of baskets in the final minute, and as time expired in the third, Temple hit a left wing three-pointer to put Crestview up 53-35.

Sheets carried the Knights through the first two quarters with 11 first half points and Temple went off for 12 in the third where Crestview outscored Hiland 26-7.

"We had to zone everything else out at halftime and refocus on the game itself," said Crestview forward Wren Sheets. "After we started to relax in the third quarter, it basically became just another game for us."

Crestview's lead grew as large as 21 points with 5:19 left in the game.

Hiland made a bit of a late charge by taking advantage of some missed free throws and turning them into points on the other end, but the 69-63 final score is not a strong indication of how far apart the two teams really were in the second half.

In the middle of Crestview's 14-point third quarter run, Hiland head coach Mark Schlabach picked up a technical for arguing with officials.

Counting the free throws from the tech and Hunter's three-point play that followed, Crestview scored five points on the possession to turn a six-point lead into a 43-32 advantage.

That point in the game was a far cry from the back and forth battle that took place in the first half.

Hiland led the entire way after scoring the game's first basket and the Knights trailed by as much as seven (15-8) with 2:31 left in the first quarter.

Crestview used free throw opportunities and timely buckets to stay within striking distance early on.

Wren Sheets drew three trips to the line in the first quarter and scored nine of Crestview's 16 points. Sheets closed out the first with a three-point play to cut Hiland's lead to 17-16 after one.

The Hawks opened the second with seven of the first nine points to go up 24-18, but Gavin Etzler scored and Temple drained a triple try to make it a one-point game.

Jaret Harting traded baskets with Connor Beachy, and Carson Hunter did the same with Carson Habeger to make it 28-27 Hiland at the break.

"I thought Hiland did a good job in the first half of pressuring us on defense and getting downhill on the offensive end," said Etzler. "Those were the two main things we talked about at halftime. When we came out in the third quarter we wanted to be the aggressor."

"We knew that we were 16 minutes away from playing for a trophy and we were only down one despite not playing our best game in the first half," continued Etzler. "We had to play downhill in the last two quarters. If we were going to go down, we wanted to go down swinging by forcing them to stop us. "

Crestview went on the attack in the third quarter and Hiland had no answer.

After shooting 9-of-20 as a team in the first half, the Knights went 9-for-15 from the field in the second half and outscored the Hawks 42-35.

Most importantly, Crestview was efficient from the free throw line where they made an astounding 30-of-41 attempts.

Temple's 25 led the way, followed by Sheets with 17 and Hunter with 11. Etzler and Harting also both contributed a pair of field goals.

Crestview is now set to play for the D-IV state championship on Sunday afternoon against undefeated Reichmond Heights (28-0). The Spartans outlasted a tough Russia team 66-51 in the final game of the night.

"For some teams, getting here is their goal. Our goal has always been to play for a trophy," said Etzler. "We're going to come up with Sunday's gameplan tonight and we're going to come ready for the championship game."

Crestview head coach and former Knight Doug Etzler is now set to coach his Alma matter in Sunday's state title game.

"It's special for me because I didn't think I'd ever have the opportunity to come back home," said Etzler. "I know the tradition that we have at this school and I'm incredibly lucky to have the chance to coach in a gym that's named after my father. There's so many special things about Crestview and the opportunity to win a state title here as a coach is one of them."

Box score

Crestview 16 11 26 16 - 69

Berlin Hiland 17 11 7 28 - 63

Crestview (69)

Mitch Temple 4-8 25, Wren Sheets 5-7 17, Carson Hunter 3-4 11, Gavin Etzler 2-5 7, Jaret Harting 2-4 4, Nate Lichtle 1-4 3, Nasir Easterling 1-1 2, Connor Sheets 0-2 0, Isaac Kline 0-0 0.

Totals: 18/35 (51%), REB: 29, TO: 10.

Berlin Hiland (63)

Sammy Detwiler 6-10 19, Carson Habeger 2-8 10, Nick Wigton 4-5 10, Alex Yoder 4-10 8, Alex Miller 2-4 6, Phin Killy 2-7 5, Luke Mast 1-1 3, Connor Beachy 1-4 2, Ashton Schrock 0-1 0, Jack Hershberger 0-0 0, Logan Troyer 0-0 0, Ryan Miller 0-0 0, Kendrick Wilson 0-0 0.

Totals: 22/50 (44%), REB: 24, TO: 8.