COLUMBUS — Convoy Crestview’s defensive pressure wore down Tri-Village on Thursday night, which caught up to the Patriots in the third quarter when they were outscored 15-4, leading to a 54-50 loss in the state semifinals.
Tri-Village played well for most of the Division IV state semifinal game at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus and out-scored Crestview in three of the four quarters Thursday. Tri-Village led 24-19 at halftime, but the Knights’ pressure eventually caught up to the Patriots and their six-man rotation in the second half of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament game.
“I thought in the first quarter we had the tempo where we wanted it,” Tri-Village boys basketball coach Josh Sagester said. “Fairly methodical, fairly deliberate. The second half for a few reasons they were able to speed us up and I think caused us some uncharacteristic turnovers, shot a few quick shots and was able to get us a little discombobulated a little bit at times. I thought their pressure began to wear us down a little bit as the game progressed. But I thought our kids played hard. Really, the way you look at it, we had a really poor third quarter, and that summed it up.”
Crestview, the regional champion from Northwest Ohio, forced 15 Tri-Village turnovers on Thursday. The stat was most telling in the second half when the Patriots turned the ball over seven times compared to just two for the Knights.
“All of that was a tribute to our defensive pressure and keeping them off balance,” Crestview coach Jeremy Best said. “They are so good at running their sets and getting into their patterns. The first half they got into that way too many times. I thought in the second half we did a good job of making them catch the ball in different spots or just putting enough pressure where you throw their timing off. That paid dividends. I think they ended up with 15 turnovers, and every one of them was huge.”
Crestview struck first in front of more than 9,000 fans on Thursday with a Cam Etzler 3-pointer and led 7-2 through the first three minutes of the game.
But led by senior Tyler Cook, who scored eight of Tri-Village’s first 10 points, the Patriots were able to fight back and take their first lead at 10-9 less than two minutes later.
Crestview regained the lead on a Preston Zaleski 3-pointer, but Tri-Village held a 16-12 advantage at the end of the opening period thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by juniors Mason McCabe and Damion Cook.
Tri-Village held the lead the entire second quarter as cousins Damion Cook and Tyler Cook paced the Patriot offense, which outscored the Knights 8-7 in the second period to go into halftime with a 24-19 lead.
“They’re a heck of a basketball team,” Crestview’s Best said about Tri-Village. “I think they kind of imposed their will on us in the first half.”
While Tri-Village was able to impose its will in the first half, Crestview took control of the game in the third quarter as the Knights scored the first seven points of the second half to take their first lead since the first quarter, 26-24. Tri-Village didn’t lead the rest of the game.
A pair of Tyler Cook free throws with 4:50 left on the third quarter clock gave Tri-Village its first points of the second half and tied the game at 26-26, but then Crestview took the lead for good as the Knights went on an 8-0 scoring run before Damion Cook made two free throws to end the quarter with a 34-28 Crestview lead.
“I think by the third, I think we were wearing down a little bit,” Sagester said.
Tri-Village played from behind the entire fourth quarter, but the three-headed monster of Damion Cook, Tyler Cook and junior Colton Linkous kept the Patriots in the game.
“(Sagester) just kept telling us that we’ve got to believe in ourselves, believe in our team and believe in the staff,” Tyler Cook said. “I think we did it as best as possible, and we just came on the losing end of the stick.”
Tri-Village’s big break came when Damion Cook scored and drew a foul with just 16.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, draining the free throw to cut the Patriots’ deficit to a single possession at 50-47.
But Crestview made its free throws down the stretch, going 22 of 27 from the line for the game, to go up 54-47.
“I thought they were pretty aggressive,” Sagester said. “They shot 27 free throws to our 13. Give them credit for making them.”
Junior Mason McCabe made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but it wasn’t enough as the Patriots lost 54-50 to end their season in the state semifinals with a 26-2 record.
“It’s been a thrill of a lifetime, but any time you get here you want to win,” Sagester said.
Crestview, which improved to 28-0 with Thursday’s victory, advanced to play Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas in the Division IV state championship game.
Tri-Village, which made the state final four for just the second time in program history and the first time since 1991, fell one game short of its goal of playing for a state title.
“It’s pretty sad losing, but it’s been a heck of a ride with him,” Damion Cook said, referencing his cousin Tyler Cook.
Tyler Cook led Tri-Village with a game-high 20 points, and he had eight rebounds in his final basketball game with the Patriots. Damion Cook scored 16 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
Also for Tri-Village, Linkous scored eight points while McCabe added six.
Tyson Bolenbaugh led Crestview with 15 points in the victory. Also for the Knights, Etzler scored 13 points, Damian Helm scored 10, Connor Lautzenheiser scored seven, Zaleski scored six, and Isaiah Simerman added three.
The loss marked the end of the high school basketball careers for Tri-Village’s two seniors, Tyler Cook and Tommy Bell.
The Patriots will have a lot of pieces back next year, Sagester said, but it will be tough to replace Cook, The Associated Press’ Division IV co-boys basketball player of the year.
“We rode the horse for many years, and now the horse is going to be out of the stable,” the Tri-Village coach said. “So we’re going to have to find a new one.”
Bell made the most of his opportunity as a senior, Sagester said, and made some big plays for the Patriots.
“Sometimes his contributions didn’t show up in the stat sheet, but he’s a leader for us on and off the floor,” Sagester said.
Convoy Crestview vs New Madison Tri-Village
03/20/14 8:30 p.m. at Value City Arena (Columbus, Ohio)
At Value City Arena (Columbus, Ohio)
CONVOY CRESTVIEW 54, NEW MADISON TRI-VILLAGE 50
CONVOY CRESTVIEW (28-0)
Bolenbaugh, Tyson 6-9 3-5 15; Etzler, Cam 3-7 6-8 13; Helm, Damian 0-4 10-10
10; Lautzenheiser,Connor 2-8 2-2 7; Zaleski, Preston 2-6 1-2 6; Simerman,
Isaiah 1-1 0-0 3; Jones, Eli 0-0 0-0 0; Rickard, Mitchell 0-2 0-0 0;
Lautzenheiser, Cain 0-0 0-0 0; Rolsten, Brock 0-0 0-0 0; Gibson, Luke 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 14-37 22-27 54.
NEW MADISON TRI-VILLAGE (25-2)
Cook, Tyler 9-19 2-4 20; Cook, Damion 5-12 5-6 16; Linkous, Colton 2-5 3-3
8; McCabe, Mason 2-4 0-0 6; Bell, Tommy 0-0 0-0 0; Vanwinkle, Tyler 0-1 0-0
0. Totals 18-41 10-13 50.
Convoy Crestview………….. 12 7 15 20 - 54
New Madison Tri-Village……. 16 8 4 22 - 50
3-point goals—Convoy Crestview 4-14 (Simerman, Isaiah 1-1; Zaleski, Preston
1-2; Lautzenheiser,Connor 1-5; Etzler, Cam 1-2; Rickard, Mitchell 0-2; Helm,
Damian 0-2), New Madison Tri-Village 4-8 (McCabe, Mason 2-3; Linkous, Colton
1-3; Cook, Damion 1-2). Fouled out—Convoy Crestview-None, New Madison
Tri-Village-Linkous, Colton. Rebounds—Convoy Crestview 23 (Bolenbaugh,
Tyson 8), New Madison Tri-Village 29 (Cook, Damion 9). Assists—Convoy
Crestview 4 (Zaleski, Preston 1; Helm, Damian 1; Rickard, Mitchell 1;
Lautzenheiser,Connor 1), New Madison Tri-Village 13 (Cook, Tyler 4). Total
fouls—Convoy Crestview 10, New Madison Tri-Village 23. Technical
fouls—Convoy Crestview-None, New Madison Tri-Village-None. A-9303