Players pictured in front row are Michael Joseph, Kaden Short, Caylib Pruett, JJ Ward, Dmitry Lichtensteiger, Gavin Etzler, Manager Colby Swager. Back row: JV Coach Steven Rickard, Head Coach Doug Etzler, Brody Brecht, Rontae Jackson, Carson Kreischer, Kalen Etzler, Dillon Underwood, Isaiah LaTurner, Assistant Coach Tony Springer, Freshman Coach Nick Leeth. (Photo courtesy of Gibby’s)
Players pictured in front row are Michael Joseph, Kaden Short, Caylib Pruett, JJ Ward, Dmitry Lichtensteiger, Gavin Etzler, Manager Colby Swager. Back row: JV Coach Steven Rickard, Head Coach Doug Etzler, Brody Brecht, Rontae Jackson, Carson Kreischer, Kalen Etzler, Dillon Underwood, Isaiah LaTurner, Assistant Coach Tony Springer, Freshman Coach Nick Leeth. (Photo courtesy of Gibby’s)

CONVOY — The 18 - time NWC Champion Crestview Knights will open the 2019-2020 season with a bevy of new challenges in front of them.

Following a 28 - win season that resulted in a state title, the Knights will have a new face on the sidelines for the first time in 17 years after former Head Coach Jeremy Best stepped down following last season.

Doug Etzler will now lead the Knights on to the court, named for his father Ray Etzler.

The Crestview grad and former Ohio State Buckeye captain returned home after coaching the past 14 seasons at Teays Valley High School, amassing a record of 160-152 over that time span.

Etzler will take over a team that will return only two letterwinners from a group that nearly ran the table last season en route to a state championship.

Kalen Etzler will enter his junior season after committing to play college basketball at The Ohio State University last season.

As a sophomore, Etzler averaged 12.6 points per game, grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game, and dished out nearly two assists while averaging a block per night.

Etzler will take the court as a Knight without his older brother for the the first time this season, as Javin Etzler graduated and is now playing college basketball for the Miami (OH) University Redhawks.

Carson Kreisher will also be returning for Crestview after averaging 2.7 points and one rebound per contest last season.

“This year we will be a team that has a small amount of varsity experience,” Head Coach Doug Etzler said. “We have a great group of hard-working players that will need to be gritty and do the little things extremely well to compete.”

Seniors on the team include Michael Joseph, Dillion Underwood, Caylib Pruett, Kaden Short, and Isaiah LaTurner. Dmitry Lichtensteiger, Kalen Etzler, Brody Brecht, and Carson Kreischer will represent the junior class, while sophomore JJ Ward and freshman Gavin Etzler round out the roster.

“I’m really looking forward to watching this team grow together and improve as the season goes on,” said Etzler.

The Knights open up their season tonight when they host the Van Wert Cougars.