Crestview’s Tyson Bolenbaugh (center), Spencerville’s Cole Roberts (left) and Spencerville’s Dominick Corso (right) watch a ball head out-of-bounds in a game at Crestview Friday. The Knights won 58-49. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
BY BRIAN BASSETT
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY - It's a good time to be a Crestview Knight basketball fan.
The Knights, who sent out a starting lineup which didn't feature a senior, handed Spencerville its first Northwest Conference loss of the season Friday evening at Ray Etzler Gymnasium, 58-49.
In fact, of Crestview's 58 points, 56 were scored by underclassmen.
Leading the way for the Knights (12-2, 3-2) was freshman guard Connor Lautzenheiser, who had 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
"He's one guy who's earned the opportunity to play and he's making the most of it. Our guys are doing a good job of incorporating him into what we do," said Crestview coach Jeremy Best of Lautzenheiser.
The Knights jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game, thanks to seven points from Lautzenheiser and two from junior forward Tyson Bolenbaugh.
The Knights never trailed in the game, and fought off every Spencerville (7-5, 4-1) run with one of their own.
"They're a good team. And like any good team, no matter what the score they're going to keep coming at you. They just kept throwing punches and throwing punches. We got enough stops down the stretch and made some good decisions," added Best.
Crestview ran its early advantage to a 17-13 lead after one. The Bearcats got five first-quarter points from junior guard Ben Bowers to pull within four at the end of the stanza.
The Knights led 25-19 after a low-scoring second quarter.
An unfortunate situation at intermission, in which a youth player suffered a badly broken arm, forced an extended halftime, but neither team seemed affected in the third.
Crestview opened the third with a Lautzenheiser three, but Spencerville came storming back. A three-pointer by freshman guard Zach Goecke brought the Bearcats within one, 31-30, with less than two minutes to play in the third.
Crestview junior forward Damian Helm countered with a huge three of his own to return the Crestview lead to four, which held through the end of the quarter.
Foul trouble that the Bearcats had been battling all night came full circle in the fourth, as the team sent Crestview to the charity stripe 23 times and saw two starters - senior forward Derek Goecke and senior center Dominick Corso - foul out.
The Knights put up 24 fourth-quarter points, but made only three field goals.
"At about the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, it was really hard to get anything going. We made some good decisions, had some good plays at the basket and hit free throws down the stretch," explained Best.
Crestview fired 20-of-25 from the charity stripe on the evening.
"In a game like this, where everything is hard to come by because both teams are good defensively, free throws are crucial," Best said.
Along with Lautzenheiser's 20, Bolenbaugh had a perfect night with 13 points including 5-of-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from the foul line.
Junior guard Cam Eztler had 12, eight of which coming from the line, and Helm added 10.
"We have good balance, that's good to see. I think, as we continue down the road here, for us to be more diverse offensively, that's important," concluded Best.
The Knights collectively shot 18-of-42 (43 percent), but hit 16-of-28 from two-point range. Spencerville also shot 18-of-42 on the evening, but 14-of-30 from short. The difference came down to free throws, where the Bearcats hit only 9-of-14.
Crestview grabbed 22 rebounds to Spencerville's 21, and committed seven turnovers to the Bearcats' 10.
Spencerville was led by Corso and Zach Goecke, who scored 12 each. Bowers added 11.
SPENCERVILLE (2pt. 3pt. FT Pts.)
Cook 0-0 0-1 0-0 0, Corso 4-8 0-0 4-4 12, Roberts 2-2 0-2 0-0 4, Patton 0-0 01- 0-0 0, Z. Goecke 2-6 2-3 2-3 12, Bowers 2-9 2-6 1-3 11, D. Goecke 2-2 0-0 2-4 6, Miller 2-2 0-0 0-0 4.
Etzler 2-4 0-1 8-10 12, Helm 3-4 1-5 1-1 10, Bolenbaugh 5-5 0-0 3-3 13, Zaleski 0-3 0-1 1-2 1, Heffner 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 1-3 0-0 0-0 2, Lautzenheiser 5-7 1-7 7-9 20, Simerman 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0-0 0.
Spencerville 13 6 11 19 - 49
Crestview 17 8 9 24 - 58