CONVOY - The Jefferson boys basketball team visited Crestivew Friday night to open Northwest Conference play for both teams.
The start of league action was much kinder to the Knights, who pulled away in the second half for a 62-33 win.
The story of the game was the second half, in which the stingy Crestview man defense held Jefferson to only one field goal on eight percent shooting.
“That’s just the case of our guys buying into what we’re trying to do defensively,” explained Crestview coach Jeremy Best. “We talk about (how) we want to contest everything. Tonight, I thought we did a great job of that.”
Jefferson coach Marc Smith said that Crestview beat them at their own game: “We pride ourselves on our physicality and they outphysicalled us tonight. They were the aggressors.”
That played out in the battle of the boards, where Crestview grabbed 25 rebounds to Jefferson’s 12, and 10 offense rebounds to the Wildcats’ three.
The Knights dominated the post from the tip, with junior forward Tyson Bolenbaugh grabbing six early points in the first quarter. Bolenbaugh paced Crestview on the evening with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Senior center Josh Ream was 2-of-4 inside as well.
“We got the ball into the post early, which was good to see, and we came back and established that in the third quarter. That’s something we have worked really hard on. When you get in there, you want to make some money and we did a good job with that,” Best described.
The first half was highly contested. Crestview took a 14-9 lead at the end of a quarter with the help of five points from junior point guard Cam Etzler to go along with Bolenbaugh’s six.
Jefferson fought back in the second and pulled within one, 15-14, on a 3-pointer by junior point guard Austin Jettinghoff. Bolenbaugh answered with a layup to spark another Knight rally. A 3-pointer by senior guard Alec Heffner in the closing seconds of the second frame gave the Knights a 27-20 advantage at the break.
“I thought we did a decent job in the first half playing through some foul trouble,” said Smith. “At one point, fouls were 9-2 or something like that - our key players (were in foul trouble). Going into halftime only down seven, we were pretty pleased at that point.”
The second half was not as highly-contested as the Knight defense buckled down and Crestview outscored Jefferson 23-9. Jefferson made its only field goal of the second half in the form of a layup from sophomore post Nick Fitch.
“We talked about, at halftime, how we wanted to mix up defenses and we did a little bit but it just goes back to our man-to-man. I think we did a really good job of gap help - cutting off their penetration,” Best said.
Bolenbaugh added 10 points in the third quarter, while freshman forward Trey Smith added five free throws for Jefferson.
Four more Smith free throws were all the Jeffcats could muster, offensively, in the final frame as the team went 0-of-8 from the field. The poor shooting helped Crestview increase their margin to the final score of 62-33.
“Being youthful - with one senior in our top seven players - everything we have is a learning experience. We’re going to have some nights like this, just like we’re going to have some good nights. You would like to have a level of consistency and we think we’ll have it as the kids grow up a little bit,” added Coach Smith.
Before going 1-of-13 in the second half, the Jeffcats shot 8-of-14 in the first half for an overall mark of 33 percent (9-of-27). Crestview shot 62 percent (25-of-40) from the floor, including 6-of-15 from 3-point range.
The Knights were a model of efficiency with 16 assists to only 10 turnovers. Jefferson turned the ball over 16 times and added only four assists.
Etzler had 11 points on the evening.
Smith led Jefferson with 16 points, while going 11-of-12 from the free-throw line. No other Wildcat topped six points, however.
The win improves Crestview to a perfect 5-0 (1-0 NWC) and they face off with non-conference opponent Fort Jennings Tuesday.
Jefferson falls to 1-3 and 0-1. They travel to Kalida today (6:30 p.m. junior varsity tip) for their fifth consecutive away game to start 2012-13.
JEFFERSON (2pt. 3pt. FT Tot.)
Jettinghoff 0-2 1-2 2-2 5, Thompson 3-5 0-1 0-0 6, Fitch 1-3 0-0 0-0 2, Ricker 0-1 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 1-4 1-2 11-12 16, Mox 1-1 0-2 0-1 2, Williams 1-1 0-2 0-0 2.
Zaleski 0-0 1-2 0-0 3, Etzler 3-6 1-2 2-4 11, Helm 3-3 0-5 1-2 7, Bolenbaugh 8-9 0-0 3-5 19, Ream 2-4 0-0 0-0 4, Simmerman 0-1 1-2 0-0 3, Heffner 1-1 2-3 0-0 8, Brown 1-1 1-1 0-0 5, Rolsten 1-2 0-0 0-0 2.
Score by Quarters:
Jefferson 9 11 9 4 - 33
Crestview 14 13 23 12 - 62
Pictured: Jefferson junior Ross Thompson considers his options against Crestview Friday night at the Castle. The host Knights grabbed a 29-point NWC win.