The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

CONVOY — After a slow start, Crestview kicked it into high gear and clinched at least a share of the Northwest Conference championship with an 89-43 victory at Ray Etzler Gymnasium on Friday night.

Winners of 13 consecutive games, the Knights (17-3, 7-0 NWC) can win the outright conference title next Friday at Columbus Grove.

“It’s a goal that we had set and we talked about it as we went through the year,” Crestview head coach Jeremy Best said of the conference championship.

Crestview’s Trevor Gibson drives to the basket against Spencville. Gibson finished with eight points. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

“We have a piece, but we really don’t want to share it,” Best added. We know we have one more to finish out next week, but I’m proud of our guys.”

The game was tied at eight with 1:42 left in the first quarter, but Javin Etzler hit back-to-back triples to give Crestview a 14-8 lead. Spencerville’s Keegan Goecke hit a jumper that drew the Bearcats (2-17, 1-6 NWC) to within four at the end of the period.

“It took a while for us to get going, but that happens sometimes with emotion,” Best said. “Spencerville played pretty well and we looked a little bit flat early, but I thought we found a way to fight through that.”

A basket by Ben Dues to open the second quarter made it a 14-12 game, but that was as close as the Bearcats would get for the remainder of the contest. Jace Vining’s bucket, two baskets by Etzler and a pair of foul shots by Derek Stout increased Crestview’s lead to 23-12.

Later in the quarter, a steal and layup by Drew Kline sparked a 14-2 run by the Knights. Stout had six of those points, Etzler added four more and Crestview led 40-18 at halftime.

The Knights outscored Spencerville 22-11 in the third quarter, with Grant Schlagbaum hitting two triples, while Etzler and younger brother Kalen Etzler each connected on a trey and a basket. (more…)

POSTED: 02/17/18 at 8:18 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

PAULDING — Lincolnview capped off Northwest Conference play with a 65-54 win at Paulding on Friday night.

The victory assures Lincolnview (13-7, 7-1 NWC) of at least a second place finish in the conference. The Lancers can earn a share of the NWC title if Columbus Grove upsets Crestview next Friday.

Lincolnview enjoyed a 16-12 advantage after one quarter and a 32-26 lead at halftime. However, the Panthers fought back and took a 42-40 lead late in the third period. The Lancers led 45-44 at the end of the third quarter, then outscored the hosts 20-11 in the final stanza.

Chayten Overholt led Lincolnview with 14 points, followed by Zane Miller (13) and Alek Bowersock (11). Ethan Rhonehouse was Paulding’s top scorer with 12 points.

The Lancers will play their final two regular season games at home – tonight against Arlington and Friday against Perry.

POSTED: 02/17/18 at 8:17 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

CELINA — Van Wert appeared to be heading toward win No. 11, but the host Celina Bulldogs had other plans on Friday night.

Trailing 49-38 with just under three minutes left, the Bulldogs scored the final 12 points of the contest and shocked the Cougars 50-49. The scoring run included a Kole Murlin basket off a missed foul shot that gave Celina the victory at the buzzer.

Van Wert led 14-10 after the first quarter, 32-26 at halftime and 42-38 after three quarters.

Drew Bagley led all scorers with 17 points while Jacoby Kelly finished with 12. Kyle Flaute had 13 for Celina and Brett Schwieterman chipped in with 12.

Van Wert (10-9, 4-4 WBL) will play at Lima Central Catholic on Tuesday then will finish the regular season at home against Defiance on Friday.

Celina (5-15, 3-5 WBL) will entertain Lima Central Catholic tonight then will host Shawnee on Friday.

POSTED: 02/17/18 at 8:17 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert High School’s Drew Bagley is this week’s Van Wert independent/ Northwest Ohio Welch Trophy Student Athlete of the Week. The 6-4 junior, who was nominated by athletic director Craig Hershey, is averaging 11 points per game and six rebounds per game. Bagley carries a 3.69 GPA and wants to major in civil engineering in college. Coaches and athletic directors may nominate student athletes for the weekly award by e-mailing Winners will receive a T-shirt courtesy of Northwest Ohio Welch Trophy, 1034 Westwood Drive, Van Wert. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 8:02 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

SPENCERVILLE — The Crestview Lady Knights extended their winning streak to 10 games, finished the regular season 16-6 (6-2 NWC) and played the role of spoiler on Thursday night.

Crestview defeated Spencerville 56-43 and prevented the Lady Bearcats (14-8, 6-2 NWC) from winning at least a share of the Northwest Conference championship. Columbus Grove finished as the outright champion, while Crestview, Spencerville and Bluffton finished in a three way tie for second.

Paige Motycka (16 points, eight rebounds), Lyvia Black (15 points, four rebounds) and Lexi Gregory (13 points, five rebounds) led the Lady Knights.

Crestview led 13-9 after one quarter, 27-22 at halftime and 42-33 after three quarters.

The Lady Knights will begin tournament play against Patrick Henry at Lincolnview High School at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 8:02 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Abby Jackson hit the winning basket and free throw with one second left on the clock to boost Van Wert to a 55-52 win over Celina 55-52 on Thursday night. Jackson (pictured above) and Reagan Priest each finished with 13 points for the Van Wert. The Lady Cougars finished the regular season 8-14 (3-6 WBL) and will begin sectional tournament play against Elida at Spencerville on Tuesday night. Photo by Jerry Mason for the Van Wert independent

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 8:00 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports

It was a rough night from the floor for Lincolnview.

The Lady Lancers were just 11-48 (22 percent) from the floor and fell to Paulding 44-35 in Thursday night’s regular season finale for both teams.

Lincolnview trailed 13-5 after the first quarter, 17-14 at halftime and 29-22 after three quarters.

Olivia Gorman led the Lady Lancers with 14 points while Maddie Gorman finished with 10.

Lincolnview finished the regular season 10-12 (3-6 NWC), and it was the final home game for five seniors – Olivia Gorman, Maddie Gorman, Alena Looser, Kayla Schimmoeller and Frankie Carey.

The Lady Lancers will open sectional tournament play against Delphos St. John’s at Paulding High School on Tuesday night.

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 7:49 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports/submitted information

KENTON — The Van Wert Lady Cougars placed fourth out of 10 teams at the Western Buckeye League bowling tournament held at Hillcrest Lanes in Kenton on Thursday.

Lorrie Decker

Van Wert finished behind league champion Wapakoneta, runner-up St.Marys and third place Lima Shawnee. The Lady Cougars got a little revenge by besting three teams – Bath, Celina and Defiance – that each defeated Van Wert in match play earlier in the season.

Top scores came from Allison Hauter with a three game series of 473, Cloey Spry with a 469 series and Lorrie Decker a 536 series.

The boys team placed seventh on their side of the tournament. Top scores were unavailable.

The WBL tournament winners and top individual announced then followed with the regular season league champion and individual award winners. Van Wert had two individual award winners: senior Cloey Spry (All-WBL honorable mention) and freshmen Lorrie Decker (first team All-WBL).

On the boys side, junior Nathan Bidlack was named a member of the All-WBL first team and senior Steele Stabler earned honorable mention accolades.

The boys will bowl in the Minster sectional starting at 5 p.m. Friday night and the girls will begin sectional competition at noon on Saturday.

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 7:48 am. FILED UNDER: Sports

Van Wert independent sports/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Member high schools of the Ohio High School Athletic Association will vote in May on a proposed change to the OHSAA’s transfer bylaw.

The proposed change, which can only be approved by a majority vote of the OHSAA’s 819 member high schools, changes the sit-out period for transfer students who do not meet one of the established exceptions to the transfer bylaw.

Currently, transfer students who do not meet an exception must sit out preseason contests and the first half of the regular-season before becoming eligible to participate. Instead, the proposed change would have students sit out the second half of the regular-season and the OHSAA postseason tournament.

Member schools will vote on all proposed changes from May 1-15, with results announced on May 16. If approved by the membership, the change would become effective immediately and apply to any students who transfer after May 16, 2018. Changes to the OHSAA Constitution and Bylaws can only come from a majority vote of the member schools.

“Much of the feedback we have received from the membership indicates that the current consequence – sitting out the first half of the regular season – is not a significant deterrent,” Dr. Dan Ross, OHSAA Executive Director, said. “If a student knows that the end of the regular-season and the tournament will still be available, they are more likely to transfer. We don’t believe that a high number of transfers is good for education-based athletics.” (more…)

POSTED: 02/15/18 at 3:29 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

It’s hard to believe the end of the 2017-2018 boys’ high school basketball season is around the corner, but that’s the case. Games will be played this weekend and next week. League and conference champions will be crowned during that time and teams will begin preparing for the postseason. Below is a brief look at this weekend’s games.

Crestview vs. Spencerville, at New Knoxville

In terms of the Northwest Conference title, it’s quite simple for the Knights (16-3, 6-0 NWC) – a win at home against Spencerville on Friday night will clinch at least a share of the NWC title, and a win at Columbus Grove next Friday would mean an outright title.

First things first. Spencerville was the 2016-2017 NWC champion, but the Bearcats (2-16, 1-5 NWC) have struggled during the current season. Spencerville’s two wins have come against St. Marys and Allen East, and scoring has been a major issue. The Bearcats average just 38 points per game, while allowing 51 per game.

The Bearcats have lost five straight entering the weekend, while Crestview has won 12 straight, including last week’s wins over Paulding and Wayne Trace. Against Paulding the Knights won the fourth quarter scoring battle 28-8, and Crestview outscored Wayne Trace 44-12 in the second half of that game.

New Knoxville (6-13, 1-6 MAC) will host Marion Local on Friday, then will entertain Crestview on Saturday. The Rangers average 44 points per game and give up 55 points per contest.

Lincolnview at Paulding, vs. Arlington

Lincolnview (12-7, 6-1 NWC) remains alive for at least a share of the NWC title, but the Lancers need to win their remaining two conference games and get some help from Crestview’s opponents. (more…)

POSTED: 02/15/18 at 8:17 am. FILED UNDER: Sports