Crestview wins intense county rivalry contest over Van Wert 53-42

CONVOY -- It frequently comes down simply to which team shoots the basketball better. Neither Crestview nor Van Wert was shooting all that well Monday night, but the Lady Knights were enough better from the field to pull out a 53-42 win that wasn't decided until the last minute and a half. The Lady Knights are now 9-6, the Lady Cougars 4-12.

"Our kids just battled from start to finish," said Crestview coach Mark Gregory. "So proud of 'em. We've had trouble of physical contests getting away from us. We've found times where we've played two quarters, three quarters, but tonight we played four quarters of Crestview basketball."

The lead went back and forth until midway through the second quarter when the Knights went up 18-17 on two Lyvia Black free throws with 4:33 left. Van Wert never caught up after that, although the Cougars stayed close. 

Crestview scored the last five points of the third quarter -- Lexi Gregory 3-pointer and Olivia Cunningham layup -- to take its biggest lead to that point, 41-32, after three. Gregory started the fourth quarter with an interception and layup to up the margin to 43-32. The Cougars inched their way back within 48-42 on two Cassidy Meyers free throws at 1:36, but the visitors were then forced to foul. Although the Knights only made 3 of 7 free throws in the remaining time (along with a last-second layup), Van Wert missed its last four shots.

Crestview played a 2-3 zone for the entire second half. "What it came down to is that they (the Cougars) are really quick, and I just felt that (the zone) was our best opportunity in the second half," said Coach Gregory. "That's not something we wanna do a lot, but good things were happening, so we just stuck with it."

"Two tough teams, two county rivals, two coaches who love each other -- a battle -- that's what it was for 32 minutes," said Van Wert coach Rob Adams. "We're definitely more comfortable going against man than we are zone. Our outside shots, we got a few in the first half, couldn't hit 'em in the second half, had some good looks at it, that's the way it goes. Even a couple there at the end would've put us right in it."

Cold shooting from the field was Van Wert's downfall. The Cougars hit only 24 percent (13 of 53) from the field, including 14 percent (2 of 14) from three. Crestview didn't exactly light it up either, but the Knights were better -- 34 percent (17 of 50) including 15 percent (3 of 19) from long range.

Percentage-wise, Van Wert was considerably better from the line -- 74 percent (14 of 19) to 61 percent (16 of 26) -- but Crestview went there more often. The Knights also won the boards 35-27 and had fewer turnovers, 11-13.

Lexi Gregory, Paige Motycka, and Black led the Crestview scoring with 16, 11, and 11. Abby Jackson had 12 for Van Wert.

"I was very proud of our seniors (Motycka, Black, Alyssa Gent, and Ally McCoy) on Senior Night," said Coach Gregory. "A lot of emotions out here tonight. I was proud of how they stayed the course. It was a physical game, but they maintained their composure and their poise."

Crestview (9-5) won the jayvee game 48-31. The Lady Knights were led in scoring by Kaylee Wolford and Lizzie Bowen with 15 and 13. Jaylyn Rickard and Allison Schaufelberger had 11 and 10 for Van Wert (2-14).