Much more on the line in Crestview’s rematch versus Miller City
Friday, March 07, 2014 12:00 AM
By John Parent
Crestview’s Cam Etzler (5) knifes through the lane during the December 27 Knights’ win over MIller City. Etzler scored nine points and had five assists in that game. (TB file photo)
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
CONVOY — An outright Northwest Conference title means little to the Crestview Knights right now. An undefeated regular season means even less. The only thing the Knights are focused on at this moment is their next opponent and trying to be 1-0 at the end of each game.
This game just happens to be for a district championship, as the Knights will take on Miller City at the Elida Fieldhouse on Friday at 7 p.m.
“That’s been kind of a buzzword, the word ‘focus. I guess the word I would use more is ‘understanding,’” said Crestview head coach Jeremy Best. “We have a veteran group of guys and they understand the situation. They have a good sense of what’s going on right now; they’re not worried about what has happened before, they’re not worried about what could happen (in the future). They’ve been really good at getting engaged in the moment. That’s something we hope can continue as we move into (Friday).”
The Wildcats are a foe that Crestview should be familiar with, having defeated Miller City 60-38 in Convoy in late December. That game was a non-conference game in the middle of Christmas break. This one is for the right to advance to regional play. Considering the circumstances surrounding this game, coach Best doesn’t think his team can gain anything from looking back at the previous meeting.
“I think both of our teams have changes quite a bit over the course of the year,” Best commented. “December 27 was a long, long time ago. I don’t think there’s any connection between game one to the game we’re gonna play (on Friday). The stakes of the game, the time of year… I think there is very little we can take from that first game.”
The Wildcats held Delphos St. John’s to a mere 36 points in Tuesday’s district semi-final and Best sees a tenacious squad that won’t back down versus any opponent.
“They’re just a group of guys that are relentless: they just keep coming at you,” Best noted. “That’s a concern for us and something we have addressed. Hopefully (Friday), we’re the aggressor all night long.”
“They just play very, very hard. You have to earn everything you get against them. They don’t give up on plays.”
The Wildcats will have a tough task in holding down the Crestview offense. The Knights have four players averaging between 9.8 and 15.1 points per game. Three of those players, Damian Helm, Cam Etzler and Tyson Bolenbaugh, are seniors.
“Our seniors have been the core group of our team,” Best noted. “There is no secret behind that at all.”
Though the starting five is outstanding, the Crestview depth is what makes them a team capable of a long tournament run. Senior Isaiah Simerman scored 11 points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers, in the win over Columbus Grove on Tuesday night. He had eight points on 2-of-3 from downtown in the first meeting with the Wildcats.
“We’ve been fortunately that we haven’t been in foul trouble and we haven’t had injury situations (in the tournament), but we have a belief that, if those types of things happen, and we need to get deeper into our bench, that our guys are ready to go,” Best added. “They’ve logged valuable minutes this year, and we anticipate they’d jump right in there and we won’t skip a beat.”