|Lady Knights trek on in tourney|
|Sunday, March 02, 2014 9:00 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
LIMA — The farther along one gets in a high school basketball tournament — any tournament — the harder it usually gets to advance.
For the Crestview girls unit, that chore became more difficult when junior guard Kennis Mercer went down with an ACL tear in Tuesday’s Division IV District semifinal win over Pandora-Gilboa.
“Kennis does a little bit of everything: she is another primary ballhandler, she rebounds, she plays great defense, she is quick and she’s a good foul shooter,” Crestview mentor Greg Rickard noted.
In Saturday’s finals, the Lady Knights had to go up against a much taller and senior-dominated (8) Leipsic crew, led by twin towers Kelly Nadler (6-2) and Amber Gerdeman (6-1).
As expected, it came down to the fourth period and the Knights shone, outscoring the Lady Vikings 15-6 to emerge with a 41-33 conquest.
Crestview (23-0) advanced to take on Holgate, a 51-47 victor over Ayersville, at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Elida Regional.
The Lady Vikes (21-4) led 27-26 entering the finale eight minutes. When senior Kirstin Hicks (5 boards) — battling through foul trouble — hit a pair of free throws at 7:14, the Lady Knights led 28-27 and never trailed again. Their man-to-man defense pitched a shutout for the first 4:50 of the fourth, allowing them to build a 33-27 edge on a pair of singles by sophomore Emily Bauer (13 markers, 4 boards, 3 blocks) at 4:59. Senior Haley Gerten (14 markers, 6 caroms, 3 assists, 3 steals) hit a free toss at 3:10 to finally break the Purple and Gold drought and junior Shalynn Morman hit a drive off a steal at 1:50 to get Leipsic within 33-30. However, they were then forced to foul as Crestview spread the floor and in the final 1:25, the Knights downed 8-of-11 charity tosses (13-of-16 in the canto; 19-of-23 overall for 82.6%) to finish it off and earn the trek to Elida.
Leipsic coach Gary Kreinbrink was disappointed for those eight seniors.
“You want to win so badly for them but credit Crestview; they deserved to win. They got to the line a lot more and outscored us from there 19-3; that’s the difference,” he noted. “We usually make a living getting to the line but it just didn’t happen tonight. They played a great defensive game.”
“We didn’t hit perimeter shots as well as I thought we’d have to do to win this game. We hit the free throws; down the stretch usually, you have to in order to win tournament games,” Rickard went on. “We had some girls step up in order to off-set the loss of Kennis, especially to handle the ball; the attitude is next girl up. Even though they were bigger, I felt we did a great job of keeping their girls away from the basket, especially rebounding; we have some pretty physical girls.”
Leipsic scored the first seven points of the night against the Crestview 2-3 zone, forcing Rickard to call time at 6:07. He switched into the man scheme and mainly employed that strategy the rest of the game. They only gave up a Gerten basket at 3:19 and got within 9-8 on two free throws by junior Lindsey Motycka (14 counters, 4 rebounds) at 1:18.
Crestview remained in chase mode most of the second stanza, staying within one possession most of the time. They briefly took an 18-17 edge on a 12-foot turnaround by the 5-7 Motycka at 41 ticks before Morman found Gerten on a lob at 23 ticks for a 19-18 halftime margin.
In the third period, a deep 2-pointer by Motycka gave Crestview the lead again and its began to assert more defensive pressure on their foe, especially taking away the high-low game and the lob. They shut the Lady Vikes out the first 4:17. The Leipsic man scheme also did its best in limiting the Lady Knights’ offense as the teams traded the lead midway through the stanza. Leipsic outscored Crestview 6-4 the last 1:03, including a buzzer-beating banked-in 25-footer from the right wing, to take a 27-26 edge into the finale.
“We struggled offensively against their man but didn’t against their zone,” Kreinbrink added. “Usually it’s the other way around. We were prepared for them to play zone and executed early. We didn’t execute our man stuff.”
Leipsic ended up shooting 13-of-38 from the field (4-of-12 3-pointers) for 34.2 percent and 3-of-7 free throws (42.9%). They added 27 boards (6 offensive) as Gerdeman nabbed 10; 17 miscues; and 17 fouls.
“When they went up 7-0, it as easy to look back at last year when we fell way behind to Ottoville and got blown out,” Rickard added. “We decided to try the zone and make them shoot over the top but that didn’t work right away. We were excellent in the man.”
Crestview compiled the following stats: 11-of-32 shooting (0-of-10 beyond the arc) for 34.4 percent; 25 caroms (3 offensive) as junior Mackenzie Riggenbach (8 points, 4 thefts) added five; 11 errors; and 12 fouls.
Hailey Kreinbrink 0-0-0, Emily Schecklehoff 0-0-0, Rachel Rieman 1-0-3, Shalynn Morman 2-0-5, Amber Gerdeman 2-1-5, Kelly Nadler 3-0-6, Haley Gerten 5-2-14, Maddie Steffan 0-0-0. Totals 9-4-3-33.
Terra Crowle 1-0-2, Claire Zaleski 0-0-0, Mackenzie Riggenbach 1-6-8, Emily Bauer 4-5-13, Lindsey Motycka 5-4-14, Megan Hartman 0-0-0, Kirstin Hicks 0-4-4. Totals 11-0-19-41.
Score by Quarters:
Leipsic 9 10 8 6 - 33
Crestview 8 10 8 15 - 41
Three-point goals: Leipsic, Gerten 2, Rieman, Morman; Crestview, none.