DELPHOS – Crestview’s Kalen Etzler’s basketball talents were on full display against Delphos Jefferson and the Knights needed all those skills and a defensive adjustment to down a determined Wildcat squad 55-42 Friday night.
With the win, Crestview improves to 10-2 on the season and 3-1 in Northwest Conference play. Jefferson suffers its first conference loss and falls to 2-1 and 4-7 for the season.
The Ohio State bound senior standout pumped in a game-high 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds en route to the victory. In addition to his scoring Etzler was instrumental in the offense by dishing off five assists when he was double-teamed. Defensively, he had four blocked shots.
Crestview head coach Doug Etzler said Kalen Etzler does a good job of finding his teammates for easy buckets.
“He does a good job of drawing help and when he does and when he does he finds guys for layups. It is always good when we get a good point blank shot like that,” coach Etzler said. “When they don’t help he did a good job of attacking the rim tonight. I thought he did a good job of attacking the rim tonight and not just shying away from it. He did a really good job offensively for us tonight.”
Delphos head coach Jordan Jettinghoff said the Wildcats had early success due to their defensive effort and the ability to take what the Knights were giving them.
“We focused a lot on their sets and they run a lot of sets and they like to run their shooters off staggers and isolate the post whether it is Kalen (Etzler) or (Carson) Kreisher and I told our kids you have to be physical and battle with them as much as you can and with a team that likes to run sets you have to be disruptive so they are not in a flow and not getting easy shots and we were doing good.
“We took a couple of their key shooters out a little bit and like I said they went to their Ohio State commit late in the game and it kind of hurt us.”
Even with Etzler’s ability to score despite Jefferson’s best efforts, it took an adjustments by the Knights’ defense in the second half to help them pull away from the Wildcats.
The first half ended 20-19 in favor of Crestview as Jefferson “contained” Etzler to 10 points but also found ways to score buckets by slashing to the hoop and making cuts for easy layups. But in the second half coach Etzler made a change.
“Defensively we kind of changed up what we were doing,” coach Etzler said. “We didn’t do a very good job of keeping them in front and we denied a little too hard and they got a lot of shots on back cuts so we made them change it to make them catch it up top.”
In the third quarter, Etzler hit two 3-pointers to key the offense but that only gave the Knights some slight breathing room going into the final eight minutes, leading 37-31.
But in the fourth quarter, the Knights defense stepped it up and behind Etzler’s nine points, the Knights finally pulled away in the final minutes of the game.
“They did a great job I mean offensively they put us in situations where we were trying to get out and put pressure on them and make it a little more uptempo game and every time we overextended it was two points on the back-cut layup versus two-points from a jumper…. But I liked the way we battled and got out of here with a gritty win.”
Also scoring in double-digits for Crestview was Kreisher who finished with 12 points.
For Delphos, Ian Wannemacher led the team with 10 points and he also grabbed six rebounds.
“We were battling and you can’t fault our kid’s efforts,” Jettinghoff said. “We couldn’t make a couple of shots late and a couple of our layups rimmed in and out so we couldn’t get it back to a four, five or six point spread there. I’m glad our kids battled.”