Updated: Division IV State Championship: Crestview dominates third quarter, finishes as 29-0 state champions

By AARON GROSS agross@crescent-news.com Published:

COLUMBUS — The Knights of Convoy Crestview completed the first perfect season in Division IV boys basketball since 2008, finishing 29-0 and claiming the OHSAA D-IV state championship with a second-half explosion against Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 71-44 at the Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Saturday afternoon.

Leading just 26-23 at the half, Crestview caught fire in the third stanza, scoring the quarter’s first 18 points and outscoring Aquinas 20-3 overall in the period. The top-ranked Knights stretched their advantage to as much as 31 late in the fourth quarter, shooting a blistering 16-of-23 in the second half (70 percent) on their way to the program’s first state championship in school history.

“When we make up our minds to take away what they want to do, which has happened all year, we feed off of that,” explained Crestview head coach Jeremy Best, an Edon native. “We just had to take care of the basketball and impose our will.”

Said Best on the 18-0 run: That’s a pretty unreal run. That’s good stuff. Once we got turnovers and run outs, that’s when we’re able to do that and we’re pretty good.”

Led by Division IV co-Player of the Year Damian Helm’s 20 points, Crestview claimed an OHSAA-record 29th win of the season in much the same way that earned them the other 28: defense.

The Knight defense forced 22 St. Thomas Aquinas turnovers, including 11 in the second half, and held the Aquinas Knights to 6-of-20 shooting in the game’s final 16 minutes. Helm shone individually, shutting down co-Player of the Year Austin Hill, holding the 6-3 senior to 6 points on 3-of-6 shooting.

6-5 senior Tyson Bolenbaugh added 18 points and eight boards, while starters Connor Lautzenheiser and Preston Zaleski added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“That’s a good basketball team,” said St. Thomas Aquinas coach Matt Hackenberg. “They made it hard for us to get good looks. They took care of business.”

Junior Anthony Moeglin was the only Aquinas player to record double-figure scoring with 10 points for the Knights (18-12), who caught fire in the postseason after an 11-11 regular season.

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