CONVOY — At least a share of the Northwest Conference boys basketball title is back in cozy Ray Etzler Gymnasium.
Crestview ran past Spencerville 89-43 to capture at least a share of the NWC title Friday at Crestview’s Etzler Gymnasium.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Crestview coach Jeremy Best said. “Pregame (senior night) was emotional. It was awesome and there was a lot of heartfelt emotion. I was proud of our five seniors tonight.’’
Crestview’s zone presses forced 22 Spencerville turnovers, with many of those resulting in scores at the other end.
Crestview also used its inside-out attack to knock down 13 of 23 on 3-pointers.
Junior Javin Etzler led the Knights with 24 points and seven rebounds. Etzler was 4 of 7 on 3-pointers.
“It feels good. I haven’t been able to put up a Northwest Conference number up on the banner (for a title),’’ Etzler said.
Derek Stout, Crestview’s 6-foot-4 man on the inside, had 15 points and three blocks.
“It feels great, especially this being my senior year,” Stout said. “It means all that much more (to win the NWC).’’
Grant Schlagbaum had 11 points with three 3-pointers. Trevor Gibson had eight points and six rebounds.
Point guard Drew Kline had six points, six rebounds and six assists.
It marked the Knights’ 17th boys basketball title.
Crestview, which has won 13 in a row, is 17-3, 7-0 in the NWC.
Spencerville is 2-17, 1-6 in the NWC.
Ben Dues led Spencerville with 19 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Keegan Goecke had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Crestview stood 4-3 on Dec. 27. It was fortunate for the Knights they were 0-0 in the NWC at that point.
“A lot of it was what we didn’t say or what we didn’t do during that stretch,” Best said. “These guys have been playing for two, three, four years and have played big games in other sports (like football). We all took a look in the mirror and said, ‘We can be better than this.
“You don’t always know what direction you’re going to head. But it’s been all them.’’
Etzler added, “It took us a little bit of time to get our chemistry together. It took us last year and first part of this year to finally get us clicking together. We’ve been really successful ever since we started trusting each other more and not trying to do everything one-on-one and sharing the ball.’’
Etzler started off with three 3-pointers in the first quarter.
But Spencerville’s defense was tight and Crestview held a 14-10 lead after the first quarter.
With the Knights ahead 14-12, Crestview went on a 19-4 run to pull out to a 33-16 lead.
Leading the way was the Knights’ 1-2-1-1 press. It forced turnovers in bunches, as Spencerville had 14 turnovers at the half.
“We got them to turn it over and that’s where we start, at the defensive end,” Best said.
Crestview took a 40-18 lead into halftime.
Etzler led the way with 17 points at the half. Stout had 11 points and three blocks.
Crestview won the boards on the night, 33-27.
The Knights shot 53 percent from the field and 56 percent on 3-pointers.
Spencerville shot 40 percent from the field and was 3 of 9 on 3-pointers.
It marked the final home game for the Crestview seniors.
“It was sad, but at the same time, I have to realize that the season is not over and I just have to keep pushing forward,” Stout said.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.