Crestview’s Alex Brown defends a Lincolnview player in a game at Crestview High School earlier this season. The Knights face off with Paulding Friday. (TB file photo)
BY SEAN LAFONTAINE
Times Bulletin Correspondent
CONVOY - The Crestview Knights picked up two big wins last week against cross-county rival Lincolnview and sixth-ranked Arlington. With those two wins, the Knights themselves are now ranked tenth in the state as they head into this weekend. Crestview will be in action on Friday when it travels to Paulding to take on the Panthers in conference action.The Panthers come into the contest with a 9-3 record overall, 2-1 in the Northwest Conference. Knight coach Jeremy Best knows Crestview needs to be ready for a battle Friday night.
"I think they are a really challenging team for us from a matchup standpoint. They play a lot of guys and can go anywhere from nine to 12 deep. I think they are nasty, mean, and I think they are pretty good - and I mean those things as a compliment. We are really going to have to be tough mentally and physically because our matchups aren't very good."
Senior forward Lance Foor leads the Panthers, averaging 17 points per game, with his season low being 11 points, showing his consistency. Foor along with a few other Panthers worry Best about possible matchup problems.
"Foor is one of the most underrated players in our conference, and he might be one of the best all-around athletes from the standpoint of quickness, jumping ability, and his ability to handle the basketball. (Kyle) Kauser is a nice solid point guard for them, and (Neil) Roehrig is very good for them as well. They present matchup problems for us all across the board."
Best went on the speak about the strategy the Knights will use against the tough matchups he expects to see from the Panthers.
"I think it depends on the flow of the game and what direction the games goes. We have mixed more defenses this year than we have in the past. We know our base is our man, but due to matchup situations that might cause us to approach things differently. They run a really nice matchup zone and if we are on our heals, they will cause us trouble and it has the past two years. We have not done a very good job of solving it, so we have to be tight and aggressive with the ball and attack the basket and kick out when we can."
Paulding has defeated the Knights in each of the past two seasons. Best is well aware of what his kids will need to do in order to get a win.
"Bottom line is it comes down to this: The last two years were the last two years. They beat us the last two years and we think a lot of that had to do with them being mentally and physically better than we were. We are going to have to cross that bridge if we expect to go over there and play well."
In the newest polls, the Crestview Knights were ranked 10th in the state for Division IV boys basketball. Best commented on what the state ranking means to him and his team.
"I think as far as the rankings, that's a respect issue. Our kids know and we as coaches try to empathize that you only get respect by what you do on the court and you're only as good as your next game. It's a compliment, but at the same time Paulding doesn't care and will come ready to play."
Throughout the season, the Knights have used a few different starting lineups. Best spoke about the continuing competition amongst his team, and why he has changed the starting line up.
"We have had some different lineups and we have talked to our kids all year about competition and our kids compete very well in practice. When you get an opportunity to play in a game and play well, you will continue to be rewarded. We think out of our nine guys, all nine can start, but only five can start at a time. As of right now as long as our guys continue to compete it doesn't really matter who we start, it's the outcome that we are looking for."