Damian Helm (TB file photo)
BY SEAN LAFONTAINE
Times Bulletin Correspondent
CONVOY - Crestview got a good start to the 2012-2013 season last week. The Knights defeated county rival Van Wert Friday night 50-43, then came back Saturday night and beat Wayne Trace 60-40 to claim the Van Wert Hospital Tip-Off Classic title.
"It's always nice to get the season started. Players want to play games and coaches always want to get better at this point in the season," said Crestview coach Jeremy Best. "Last weekend was pretty good and our focus this week is to get better and work on what we didn't do well last week. We got off to a good start, but it's only two games and we need to keep getting better."
Best was pleased with some of the development he saw from his team from Friday night to Saturday night.
"I thought from game one to game two, our decision making was a lot better. I thought we did a better job of reading defenses and getting the ball up the floor quicker off the pass and not the dribble.
"We defended pretty well both nights, but one thing I would like to see us do better is our free-throw shooting. We also need to do a better job with our post game. We want to get the ball down there, especially when we don't shoot the ball well. We want make it a point of emphasis to get he ball down there and when we do, we need to finish "
Best was also pleased to see his team develop some depth.
"We want to continue to develop our depth too. We were happy with getting some different guys off the bench and in to the game. Developing that depth really spurs competition and even your starters can sense some uneasiness. They know they have to compete in practice every night."
The Knights were forced to go to their bench in both games last weekend. Friday night junior point guard Cam Etzler and Saturday night senior center Josh Ream got in foul trouble. Best was forced to go to his bench in both games, and he was pleased with some of the results he found.
"Saturday night we got a pleasant surprise with Isaiah Simerman," said Best. "We knew he could shoot it like that, but it was nice to see him hit some big shots in a game situation. We have confidence in him, we see him shoot like that every night in practice. We have other guys who can shoot the ball too and we have confidence as well."
"Preston (Zaleski), being a sophomore, stepped in to that position Friday night for us, but he has done that the past two years for the football team," said Best. "We knew from a confidence standpoint he wouldn't bat an eye at that situation, that is just his nature. He is going to get better and better with more playing time and confidence."
Not only did Best find some of his players were ready to step up last weekend, he also found an effective offense lineup.
"When Isaiah (Simmerman) came off the bench Saturday night after Josh (Ream) got two early fouls, it really created some mismatches for us defensively. Maybe more importantly we found some things offensively we could do when Ream had to go down. I think we can be diverse and we are trying to be and I think that will continue to develop as the season goes along," explained Best.
Crestview didn't have time to dwell on a successful weekend as they prepare to take to the road this coming week. The Knights will head to Delphos Friday night to take on St. John's at the Vatican, and Saturday night they will travel south to take on the Parkway Panthers.
"This will be the first game of the year for St. John's, so we don't know a lot about them," said Best. "They do have a handful of new faces, but Curtis Geise is not new. This will be his fourth year playing for them and he is one of the better guards in northwest Ohio who can score the ball. They also have Ryan Buescher who is long, athletic, and can slash. We know it's going to go through those two guys, but they also always find athletes who can step up and fill holes. We know we have our hands full going over there and we never have much success playing at their place.
"Parkway was a young team last year. I know they lost two really close games last weekend. They have some really good athletes and are still young right now and putting pieces together. We haven't talked a whole lot about Parkway yet because we are approaching St. John's like it's a conference game even though it's not. Once we get through Friday, we will talk more about Parkway later."