Crestview’s Mackenzie Riggenbach dribbles the ball past a Kalida defender in a district semifinal game at Lima Senior High School Thursday. The Lady Knights escaped with a win in double-overtime. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Crestview’s Mackenzie Riggenbach dribbles the ball past a Kalida defender in a district semifinal game at Lima Senior High School Thursday. The Lady Knights escaped with a win in double-overtime. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)

Times Bulletin Correspondent

LIMA - Thursday's Division IV district semifinal was definitely not one for the faint of heart.

In a double-overtime game with many twists and turns, Crestview prevailed over Kalida 53-47. The Lady Knights (22-2) advance to Saturday's 7 p.m. district final against Ottoville, which took out Lincolnview 62-27 in Thursday's second game. Kalida's fine season ends at 15-9.

In a game full of drama, the fourth quarter was probably the most heart-stopping. Kalida had ended the third period with a 5-0 run to take a 29-28 lead into what might have been, but wasn't, the last eight minutes. The Lady Wildcats extended that run to 7-0 with the first bucket of the fourth period, a mid-court steal and layup by Summer Holtkamp to make it 31-28, Kalida, at 7:34. Crestview's Kennis Mercer sliced inside to cut the lead to 31-30, but the Cats' Elizabeth Turnwald muscled in a layup, and Brittany Kahle picked off a pass and went the distance to make the score 35-30 at 6:13.

Back came the Knights, of course. Terra Crowle swished a three-pointer from the right corner, and Mackenzie Riggenbach hit two free throws to tie it at 35 with 4:42 left. Kylie Osterhage escaped for an open layup to lead 37-35, but the Knights' Emily Bauer bounced in a 10-footer to tie it again. Crowle was fouled on a three-point try, but hit only the first of three to lead 38-37 with 1:49 left. Bauer hit two freebies at 0:44 to up the lead to three, but three straight Knight turnovers led to a 6-0 Wildcat run on an Amy Smith layup, a steal/layup by Jackie Gardner, and two free throws by Holtkamp. Kalida led 43-40 with five seconds left. Then came the play of the game.

Riggenbach was fouled on a half-court heave, and went to the line with 1.9 seconds left, having to make all three shots to keep Crestview in it. The cool sophomore hit nothing but net on all three tries to send the game into its first overtime.

"Those were big," said Crestview coach Greg Rickard of Riggenbach's free throws. "You can't get any more pressure - a district semi, one point some seconds left, and she knocks down three free throws. That's very impressive. She's our best free throw shooter for the year, but that's a lot of pressure."

"I was a little nervous, but we had worked so hard that you can't blow it on missed free throws," said Riggenbach. "I knew I had to make them for my teammates, and that's what I did."

The first overtime was the trading of Crestview turnovers with Kalida missed shots. Bauer powered in a layup at 1:15 to lead 45-43, but Gardner nailed a pull-up jumper at 0:48 to tie it up. Motycka had a chance to win it with a short-but-contested jumper with two ticks left, but her shot rolled off the rim.

Osterhage got the first basket of the second overtime - a jumper from the top of the key at 2:55, but a minute and a half later, Motycka snared a defensive rebound and went the distance, finishing with a dandy crossover dribble and layup to tie it at 47. Kalida missed a front end at 0:56, whereupon Riggenbach came up big again, swishing a trifecta from the left corner - 50-47, Knights, at 0:36. Kalida misfired, and Bauer was fouled on the rebound at 0:21. She hit the second of two to make it a two-possession game - 51-47. When the Cats missed again, Motycka grabbed the rebound, and Riggenbach finished it off with two more free throws with two seconds left.

The first quarter was a virtual standoff at 12-10, Crestview, but Bauer picked up her third foul at the 3:35 mark and didn't return until the start of the second half.

Kalida controlled the second quarter, albeit almost totally from the foul line. The Cats won that quarter 10-5, with only one field goal, but with eight free throws in 14 attempts. Crestview went to the line only twice during those eight minutes and hit both. The maroon-and-gold led 20-17 at the break, after making only 11 of 19 free throw tries in the half, while the Lady Knights went to the stripe four times, hitting two. Kalida was also cold from the field - 4 of 17 (24 percent), Crestview a tad better at 7 of 19 (37 percent).

Gardner's put-back started the third quarter with a 22-17 Kalida lead, but the Knights then seemed to seize control with a 10-0 run. Bauer powered inside for a layup, then added a nifty turnaround 10-foot jumper. Riggenbach rattled in a trey from out in front, and Crowle drained a triple from the right wing - 27-22, Crestview, at 3:02. Back came the feisty Lady Cats with a 7-1 run - Turnwald free throw, Brittany Kahle layup, Osterhage layup, Osterhage free throw - and it was 29-28 after 24 minutes.

"Defensively, we've been playing our best basketball here the last few weeks," said Kalida coach Adam Huber. "We did another great job tonight. They've got such skilled offensive players with Bauer, Mackenzie (Riggenbach), Motycka, Mercer - it just goes on and on. If you lose them for a second, they usually make you pay. I just told the girls in the locker room they might not think so today, but they've created some good memories. It was a great high school basketball game, and it's a shame somebody had to lose. Good luck to Crestview. They're a great team."

Rickard had nothing but praise for the Kalida defense. "They're aggressive, they're quick, they're well coached," he said. "They took away the inside. They weren't gonna let us stand out there and shoot threes. That's how they've played all year. They're just very good defensively."

In the end, it was the three-point shot that made the difference, Crestview making seven of them, Kalida only one. The Knights were slightly better from the field as a whole - 39 percent (16 of 41) to 30 percent (16 of 53) - and from the line - 64 percent (14 of 22) to 56 percent (14 of 25). Crestview won big on the boards, 36-22, but Kalida was far better in the turnover department, 10-23.

Bauer, Riggenbach, Crowle, Mercer, and Motycka accounted for all of the Knight scoring with 15, 15, 10, 8, and 5. Kalida had seven players in the scoring column, led by Osterhage and Gardner with 17 and 10.

Score by quarters:

Crestview 12 5 11 15 2 8 - 53 Kalida 10 10 9 14 2 2 - 47

Crestview (53)

Mercer 3 0-2 8, Riggenbach 2 9-9 15, Henry 0 0-0 0, Bauer 6 3-4 15, Motycka 2 1-2 5, Crowle 3 1-5 10, Hartman 0 0-0 0, Hicks 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 14-22 53.

Kalida (47)

Gardner 4 2-2 10, Recker 0 2-2 2, Holtkamp 1 2-3 4, Smith 1 4-8 6, Turnwald 2 0-0 4, Osterhage 6 4-9 17, Kahle 2 0-1 4, Honigfort 0 0-0 0, Recker 0 0-0 0, Siebeneck 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 14-25 47. Three-point field goals: Crestview 7 (Crowle 3, Mercer 2, Riggenbach 2), Kalida 1 (Osterhage).