|Knights pull away late for win over DSJ|
|Sunday, February 23, 2014 9:00 PM|
VAN WERT – Delphos St. John’s gave Crestview all the Knights could handle for 3 1/2 quarters of Saturday’s Division IV sectional championship at Van Wert High School.
However, the Lady Knights used an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter to seal a 45-29 victory over the Blue Jays to advance to Thursday’s district semifinal against Pandora-Gilboa at Lima Senior High School.
The Knights, now 21-1, take on the Rockets (16-8) at 6:15 p.m. at the home of the Spartans.
Trailing 30-22 at the end of three quarters, the Lady Blue Jays got buckets from Erica Saine and Sydney Fischbach along with a pair of foul shots by Jessica Geise to get within 32-28.
“The girls battled all night long and we had an opportunity there in the fourth quarter,” commented Blue Jay head coach Dan Grothouse. “You have to give Crestview credit though; they came up with some big plays when they had to.”
“We knew coming in that they would be a challenge for us and it would be a struggle,” Crestview mentor Greg Rickard stated. “They do a great job defensively and you don’t get a lot of good looks against them.”
Crestview, though, got a big shot from Terra Crowle as the junior guard hit a trey from the wing in front of the Knight bench that returned the momentum to the red, white and blue and pushed the lead to 35-28.
“That was a big shot,” Grothouse continued. “We had gotten some of the momentum back on our side and then they answered right there.”
Crowle’s trey ignited an 11-0 run that sealed the Knight win, expanding the margin to 43-28 before the Blue Jays were able to score again.
Crestview hit six of eight free throws in the stretch, getting two each by Mackenzie Riggenbach and Kennis Mercer while Lindsey Motycka and Emily Bauer both connected on one of two charity tosses.
“The girls did a good job of stepping up and hitting free throws there when we had to,” Rickard continued.
Geise broke the run by converting a foul shot for Delphos St. John’s to make it 43-29 but Motycka added two more Knight free throws to wrap up the 45-29 victory.
“I am very proud of the efforts these girls gave tonight and all season,” Grothouse continued. “They gave it everything they had and that’s all I can ask from them.”
The two squads were tied at 6-6 after one quarter before the Knights tried to open the game up in the second stanza.
A Kirstin Hicks bucket followed by a Riggenbach trey and a Mercer basket put the red, white and blue in front 13-7 with 5:23 left in the half.
After Delphos St. John’s got within 15-12 on a pair of Geise free throws, consecutive buckets by Crowle and Motycka pushed the Knight lead to 19-12 at the intermission.
Crestview widened the margin to 27-18 in the third quarter, using a three-point play from Bauer and a Motcyka free throw before expanding it to 30-20 following a Riggenbach trey.
However, the lady Blue Jays picked up a pair of Geise charity tosses to get back within eight at the end of three periods.
The loss ended the careers of four Blue Jay seniors. Emilie Fischbach, Brooke Zuber, Erica Saine and Amanda Boberg all wore the St. John’s uniform for the final time on Saturday.
“The seniors have provided great leadership all year long,” Grothouse stated. “They have been a key part of this team and have helped lead this team through the ups and downs we have seen this year. This is a quality group of girls and I am very proud of the way they have led this squad and shown the younger players what needs to be done on and off the floor to become better basketball players and better people.”
Geise scored 17 points to top the Blue Jays, who finish the year with a record of 8-16, while also grabbing five rebounds. Fischbach added five markers and four caroms while Saine chipped in four points. Rebekah Fischer also had three points for Delphos St. John’s.
Motycka had 14 markers for the lady Knights while Bauer and Riggenbach added eight points apiece. Riggenbach topped Crestview with six caroms and five assists while Motycka and Hicks picked up four rebounds.
“Right now, they key is to just keep advancing,” closed Rickard. “Every game is going to be a tough one at this point and we just have to come ready to play every night.”