Boys basketball: Crestview to play for Division IV crown

Mar. 17—DAYTON — Crestview followed directions — followed them all the way to the Division IV boys basketball state championship game — when it defeated Berlin Hiland 69-63 in a state semifinal game on Friday afternoon at the University of Dayton Arena.

After falling behind early, Crestview had four chances to go in front in the first half but all four times the Knights were stopped a point short of drawing even with Hiland.

The halftime discussion in the Crestview locker room focused on being more aggressive. And that adjustment turned the game into something that might have been a little more one-sided in the second half than the final score indicated.

Hiland led 28-27 at halftime but that was the last time the Hawks had the lead. By the end of the third quarter Crestview was up 53-35 and its lead grew to 20 points at 56-36 a minute into the fourth quarter.

Mitch Temple scored 25 points to lead the Knights (25-3). Wren Sheets had 17 points and 7 rebounds and Carson Hunter scored 11 points. Sammy Detweiler's 19 points led Hiland (19-10).

"In the first half Hiland did a great job of really pressuring us and getting our offense out a little bit further than we liked," Crestview coach Doug Etzler said. "Offensively they did a great job of getting downhill and getting to the basket. Those are the two main things we talked about at halftime.

"We said, 'You are 16 minutes away from playing for a trophy and you're one point down. It's almost an even game.' We didn't feel like we played like we are capable of, especially at the offensive end. We said if we go down, let's go down swinging by attacking the basket and making them stop us. If we get beat, get beat by being aggressive."

Crestview took the lead for good at 34-32 on a drive to the basket by Temple with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

Its next three field goals, also came on drives to the hoop, which reflected the more aggressive approach in the second half.

The Knights also got a little help from Hiland coach Mark Schlabach, who thought one of his players "got clobbered" while missing a shot and drew a technical foul with Crestview holding a 38-32 lead with 2:46 left in the third quarter.

Crestview turned the technical into five points on a pair of free throws and a basket-and-one to start a 15-3 run to end the third quarter with an 18-point lead.

"That was the game. That was on me. I got T'd up. I should have kept my mouth shut," Schlabach said. "That was the biggest stretch of the game. It was a big momentum shift.

"In the first half we gave them too many opportunities at the free throw line. We should have had more than a one-point lead (at halftime) because we were playing very well offensively," he said.

Temple said, "Once we got it going the crowd was getting into it and that kind of fueled us. At the start we were a little nervous but once we got into the flow and got it going it was hard to stop us."

Crestview will play Richmond Heights, a 66-51 winner against Russia, for the Division IV state championship at 2 p.m. Sunday, a goal they've thought about since the preseason.

"At our very first meeting we wrote simple things on the board. First we put Northwest Conference title. We didn't get that done, we got beat by a very good Spencerville team. But we put sectional title, district title, regional title and state title. That was our goal," Etzler said.

"We had a great summer, we had a lot of guys coming back. Our goal was to get here and compete once we got here. We knew it was going to be tough because of who we had to beat to get here, but it was a goal from the get-go," he said.


Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0451.