VAN WERT — If a team facing a large deficit makes one scoring run in a game, it could easily be chalked up to a lapse in focus by the team out in front.
If it happens twice, it becomes a strong show of perseverance by the team fighting back.
The latter was the case Friday night when Crestview defeated Ottoville 48-35 in the first sectional final game of the evening at Van Wert High School. Crestview will play St. Henry in the district semifinals Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Elida Fieldhouse.
In the nightcap, Delphos St. John’s beat Lincolnview 59-40. The Blue Jays will face New Bremen in the district semifinal at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday night at Elida Fieldhouse.
In the opener, Crestview jumped out to a dominant 17-5 lead in the first quarter, with the Knights’ defense grabbing full control of the game. The second quarter, however, brought a full 180 degree turnaround in the play of both teams. Ottoville’s ball movement improved considerably, and began to scrap for open shots anywhere it could find them. The result was the Big Green making a big run and closing the deficit to four points at halftime.
The second half played itself out in almost identical fashion.
The third quarter saw more suffocating defense from Crestview. After a pair of quick 3-pointers rocketed the Knights out to a 32-22 lead to start the second half, the defense became lights out again, allowing just two points from Ottoville in the entire quarter. Going to the fourth quarter with a 40-24 lead, Crestview again appeared to be on its way to an easy win.
But Ottoville was hardly prepared to let anything be easy for Crestview.
The Big Green started the fourth quarter on a surprise 9-0 run over the course of just two minutes to shrink the lead to just seven. Unfortunately for Ottoville, the Knights’ defense stepped back up and shut down the Big Green offense for the rest of the game.
Ottoville’s final record is 9-15.
“We were able to extend the lead and do some good things when our defense was solid,” Crestview coach Jeremy Best said. “They made that rally at the end of the second half, and we were able to re-establish ourselves in the third quarter. Then, we started to struggle again but a lot of that had to do with (Ottoville). Those kids are competitors, and I’m proud of our kids for hanging in there.”
Tyson Bolenbaugh led Crestview’s scoring effort, finishing with 12 points in the game, while Damian Helm scored 11 points. Cam Etzler and Preston Zaleski each hit two 3-pointers. Luke Schimmoeller led Ottoville with 12 points.
“We bounced back because of the kids we have,” Ottoville coach Todd Turnwald said. “Crestview packed a huge punch in the first and third quarters, and we ran some good offenses to fight back into the game. I’m extremely proud of our guys. But, at the end of the day, (Crestview) did what they had to do to win this game.”
Delphos St. John’s 59, Lincolnview 40
In game two, Delphos St. John’s defense played another outstanding game as they defeated Lincolnview to win the sectional title. The Blue Jays will face New Bremen at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday night at Elida Fieldhouse.
After a slow start to the evening, St. John’s shooters came out in full force in the second quarter, and opened up a 15-point lead at halftime. They were slowed up only slightly once the second half started, and Lincolnview was never able to make a comeback.
“It took us a little bit to get going, but once we got going we did a really nice job,” St. John’s coach Aaron Elwer said. “I think our team is really starting to develop as a defensive unit, and really make things difficult on the teams we face. Our defensive mentality kind of took over tonight, and there were times where are rebounding and shooting got going and helped us extend our lead.”
Curtis Geise led the Blue Jays with 15 points in the game, including two 3-pointers. Ryan Buescher scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Ryan Koester also had 10 points for St. John’s, and hit two 3-pointers.