Sports Writer

PAULDING – For the second time in four days Paulding met up with a state-ranked team. Once again the results were not what the Panthers were hoping.

Crestview outscored the hosts in every quarter en route to a 62-38 Northwest Conference win on Friday night.

“I’d rather play in an atmosphere like this with an almost full gym against a good team,” Paulding coach Brian Miller said after his squad fell to 6-9 on the year and 3-3 in the NWC. “It shows your weaknesses and shows what you have to work on.

“That’s a really good team,” continued Miller. “They’ll go far in the tournament. But it’s what high school basketball is about, playing in games like this.”

The Panthers, which lost to once-beaten Hicksville (the Aces lone defeat came against Crestview) on Tuesday, stayed with the second-rated team in the state in Division IV for more than a quarter, trailing 13-12 after a 3-pointer from Fletcher Cook nearly one minute into the second stanza. But over the next five minutes of play the Knights scored nine consecutive points, capped off by back-to-back 3-balls from Wade Sheets and Derick Dealey to take a 22-12 lead with 2:39 to go in the opening half.

“Their length is a problem against any team they’re playing,” explained Miller, whose team turned the ball over four times in that span after Crestview turned to a half-court pressure zone defense. “We knew it was coming and I thought we were patient. We got some good shots but we didn’t hit them.”

Paulding never got closer than seven points the rest of the way, the last time at 31-24 at the 5:22 mark of the third quarter following 3-point shots from Cook and Jarret Miller. But the Knights outpointed the Panthers 12-3 the remainder of the period to go in front 43-27 through three.

“We had a game plan and stuck to it,” Miller said. “Sheets was as good as I’ve seen him play and Dealey hit a few threes. You have to give up something when you play them.”

While 6-7 senior Javin Etzler failed to score in the first half and finished with eight points, there were plenty of complimentary players to pick up the slack for the Miami of Ohio commit, who did contribute six rebounds as did Brant Richardson. Sheets had a game-high 18 points, Richardson came off the bench to score 12 and Dealey totaled 11, all in the first half.

“That was the plan, to make those other guys shoot,” Miller said

Crestview ended up hitting 24-46 from the field for 52 percent while adding 9-11 at the foul line for 82 percent.

“They’re good, one of the better teams around,” Miller added after Crestview picked up its 15th straight victory to improve to 17-1 overall and 5-1 in the NWC..”I’d have liked to see us hit more shots in the third quarter and stay closer but the effort was good. A very good team beat us.”

Paulding, which actually outrebounded the much taller Knights 25-24 with Cook pulling down seven and Jacob Eblin six, struggled knocking down shots hitting 11-38 field-goal attempts for 29 percent. The Panthers were 11-14 at the foul line for 79 percent but had 17 turnovers to just seven for Crestview.

Cook and Carson Shull each scored 12 points to lead the Panthers in scoring while Miller added nine.

“One of our strengths is shooting,” the Paulding head coach said. “We should be shooting better, but we’ve got guys that are tired and beat up. But I still think we’re not far from being a good team.”

Score by Quarters

Crestview 13  14  16  19  -  62

Paulding     9    8  10  11  -  38

Crestview 62: K. Etzler 0-0-3-3; Sheets 5-2-2-18; J. Etzler 4-0-0-8; Kline 1-0-0-2; Lautzenheiser 2-0-0-4; Richardson 4-0-4-12; Kreischer 2-0-0-4; Dealey 1-3-11. Totals 19-5-9-62.

Paulding 38: Shull 2-1-5-12; Miller 1-1-4-9; Cook 2-2-2-12. Eblin 1-0-0-2; Kauser 0-1-0-3. Totals 7-8-3-41.

JV Score: Paulding, 41-34.