Crestview’s Olivia Cunningham drives to hoop Tuesday night in the Lady Knights win over Celina. (Wyatt Richardson)
Crestview’s Olivia Cunningham drives to hoop Tuesday night in the Lady Knights win over Celina. (Wyatt Richardson)

CONVOY — With its tournament opener exactly two weeks away, Crestview again appeared to be well prepared, holding off a fourth quarter Celina rally to pull out a 42-34 win Tuesday night. The Lady Knights are now 12-5. The Lady Bulldogs are 5-14.

“I credit our kids for battling right from the get-go,” said Crestview coach Mark Gregory. “We got down early, but we battled the entire time. Celina played good defense tonight, but I thought we had some good patience on offense and took the right types of shots. That’s a great win for us going into tournament, playing against a team that’s strong, physical, plays smart, and is (as usual) bigger than us.”

There were some very anxious moments for Crestview fans midway through the fourth period. After trailing by as many as 12 late in the third quarter, Celina closed the gap to 34-30 with 3:30 left in the game.

As usual, the Knights were up to the challenge. Sophomore Olivia Cunningham banked in a 10-foot runner at 2:16, and sophomore Bailey Gregory canned a wide-open layup (assist by junior sister Lexi Gregory) at 1:50 — 38-30, Crestview. Celina sophomore Carley Eichler banked in a 10-foot runner from out front to create some doubt at 1:23 — 38-32.

Lexi Gregory swished two free throws with 37 ticks left, and the Knights retained possession on that intentional foul. Sophomore Raegan Hammons’ layup (assist Cunningham) at 0:21 removed all doubt — 42-32. Two free throws by Eichler finished up the scoring.

Celina started the game with a 7-0 run. With the ‘Dogs up 9-3, Hammons rattled in a 15-foot baseliner, and Lexi Gregory turned a fast break into an old-style 3-point play to get within 9-8 at 1:37. A layup by Celina sophomore Maria Lutz at 0:41 had the visitors up 11-8 after one. Crestview was fortunate to be that close after 2-for-12 field goal shooting — the Bulldogs were 5 of 11. However, Celina already had six turnovers, and the Knights hit 4 of 5 freebies.

The second quarter was totally dominated by the Lady Knights. Spurred by two triples from senior Haley Speith, Crestview reeled off a 16-2 quarter to lead 24-13 at the half. The shooting turned around totally during those eight minutes, the Knights going 7 for 9, the Bulldogs 1 for 8 from the field. Celina had 14 turnovers in the first half.

If Celina won the first quarter and Crestview won the second quarter, neither team took charge in the third. The stats for those eight minutes were almost even, and so was the scoring — an 8-7 win for the Bulldogs. The low scoring wasn’t due to bad shooting, but because of the patience showed by both teams trying to penetrate the opponent’s solid defense — a Crestview zone and a Celina man-to-man.

“I think our pressure got to them in the second quarter,” said Coach Gregory. “First quarter, we forced some turnovers, but we weren’t scoring, but as the game went on I think our pressure bothered them. We played a 1-2-2 (out front, then dropping) back to a 2-3 zone. They did a better job in the fourth quarter with it, but in the second and third quarter, it was the 1-2-2 (that caused Celina problems).”

For the game as a whole, the field goal shooting statistics were nearly identical. Crestview shot 41 percent (16 of 39), Celina 40 percent (15 of 38). Both teams hit 20 percent from beyond the arc — Crestview 3 of 15, Celina 2 of 10. The Knights got to the line more often — 7 of 11 (64 percent) to the Bulldogs’ 2 for 4 (50 percent). There was a big difference in turnovers — 12 for Crestview, 21 for Celina. The ‘Dogs had a 20-18 edge on the boards.

Knight scoring was led by Lexi Gregory, Bailey Gregory, Cunningham, Hammons, and Speith with 14, 8, 7, 6, and 6. Celina didn’t have anybody in double digits but had balanced scoring led by senior Maddy Luebke, Eichler, and sophomore Makenna Klingshirn with 9, 8, and 6.

Celina (34)

Carley Eichler 8, Makenna Klingshirn 6, Brooke Robbins 4, Maddy Luebke 9, Emma Homan 3, Maria Lutz 4, Sydney Howell 0, Makenna Ashmore 0, Emily Braun 0, Bailey Exman 0.

Crestview (42)

Bailey Gregory 8, Lauryn Black 0, Lexi Gregory 14, Haley Speith 6, Olivia Cunningham 7, Codi Miller 0, Aleigh Chesbro 1, Raegan Hammons 6, Lizzie Bowen 0, Emma Bowen 0.

Celina 11 2 8 13 - 34

Crestview 8 16 7 11 - 42

3-point shooting: Cel 2/10 (Luebke, Homan), CV 3/15 (Speith 2, Cunningham). Rebounds: Cel 20, CV 18. Fouls: Cel 11, CV 13. Turnovers: Cel 21, CV 12. Jayvee score: CV 26-19 (two quarters only).