By BRUCE HEFFLINGER

Sports Writer

CONVOY - Paulding managed to score just three points in the fourth quarter and lost to Crestview 45-43 on Thursday evening.

Bailey Gregory hit the only two baskets for Crestview in the final stanza, but the pair of 3-pointers were enough to give the hosts their ninth consecutive victory and improve the Knights to 5-2 in the Northwest Conference.

“I told the girls that defense was gonna make or break it for us tonight and the Gregory girl hit a couple huge threes down the stretch,” noted Paulding coach Samantha Schmenk after the Panthers lost their third NWC contest by four points or fewer.

Gregory’s final hoop came with five minutes remaining to put Crestview on top and neither team could score the rest of the way. A Chelsi Geisige 3-point attempt at the buzzer hit the back iron.

Early on Paulding dominated, jumping to an 18-6 advantage after one quarter thanks to eight points by Bri Townley and seven from Geisige. However Crestview, which did not make a field goal in the opening period, outscored the Panthers 18-9 in the second quarter, with Lexi. Gregory scoring nine, to pull within 27-24 at half.

Bailey Gregory then poured in eight in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-balls, as the Knights trimmed the deficit to 40-39 after three.

“I thought that the momentum swing in the second quarter affected the way we came out of halftime,” Schmenk said. “The energy shifted and we couldn’t quite get it back.”

Townley scored 16 points to lead Paulding while Chelsi Geisige had 14 and Audrey Geisige 10.

“Bri played very well tonight,” noted Schmenk, whose squad slipped to 8-10 overall and 2-5 in the conference. “I thought that her size inside was very effective for us offensively.

“Chelsi started off very well, too, from inside and outside. The stretch where we struggled to finish we just couldn’t quite come back from.”

The Panthers finished 17-47 from the field for 36 percent and 5-6 at the foul line for 83 percent. However, only three Paulding players produced field goals in the game.

Sadie Estle had five rebounds for the Panthers, which were beaten on the glass 24-18, and Janae Pease dished off four assists in a losing cause.

Bailey Gregory totaled 16 points and Lexi Gregory 12, the two combining for seven 3-pointers for Crestview, which was 8-17 from long range for 47 percent and 14-40 overall from the floor for 35 percent. Olivia Cunningham chipped in 10 points, six at the charity stripe where the Knights ended 9-12 for 75 percent.

“Credit to the Panthers, they played their tails off,” Crestview coach Mark Gregory said. “If I was in their locker room I would be so proud of those girls too, just for their effort.”

The win kept Crestview within striking distance in the NWC, with Spencerville now 6-1, Bluffton 5-1 and Columbus Grove 5-1. Crestview closes out league play against Spencerville.

Score by Quarters

Paulding     18  9  13  3  -  43

Crestview    6  18 15  6  - 45

Paulding 43: Pease 0-0-2-2; C. Geisige 4-2-0-14; A. Geisige 2-2-0-10; Townley 7-0-2-16; Estle 0-0-1-1. Totals 13-4-5-43.

Crestview 45: B. Gregory 2-4-0-16; L. Gregory 1-3-1-12; Speith 0-1-2-5; Hammons 1-0-0-2; Cunningham 2-0-6-10. Totals 6-8-9-45.