By Jim Cox
DHI Correspondent
sports@putnamsentinel.com
LIMA — Crestview turned in an all-around solid performance in Thursday night’s Division IV district semifinal against Pandora-Gilboa. Still, it wasn’t until halfway through the fourth quarter when, Terra Crowle buried her fourth 3-pointer of the game, that Lady Knight fans could relax and enjoy it.

The final result was a 56-42 Crestview win that advances the Knights (22-1) to Saturday night’s 7:00 p.m. final versus Leispic. The Lady Vikings defeated Putnam County League rival Ottoville in Thursday’s other semifinal match-up, 47-44.

There was a damper on the victory, however, as Crestview’s Kennis Mercer went out with a knee injury with 1:56 left in the game. The feisty lefty point guard was on crutches afterwards. A Friday MRI will reveal the extent of the injury.

Although leading only once at 3-2, the pesky Lady Rockets (16-9) managed to stay within striking distance, barely, until Crowle’s dagger from the right corner made it 50-34 with 4:12 left in the game.

Lindsey Motycka’s six points, and treys from Mackenzie Riggenbach and Mercer, sparked Crestview to a 14-4 lead after one. Crowle then entered the fray and promptly swished a trifecta to make it 17-4, but that’s when the Rockets warmed up, going on a four-minute 14-6 spurt to get within 23-18 at the 3:50 mark.

“That was where we had our turnovers,” said Knight coach Greg Rickard of P-G’s second quarter run. “I think we had six at halftime, and four were in that stretch. We let ‘em right back in the game. We gave them extra possessions, and they scored out of it. They wanted it to be an up-tempo game, and we didn’t want it to be, because we knew that was their style.”

Motycka answered the Rocket run with an old-style three-point play. She then added a 17-foot jumper from the left wing and one of two free throws in an 8-2 run to make it 31-20, Knights, with eight seconds left in the half. The Rockets’ Hunter Hermiller hit two freebies, her fifth and sixth in as many tries in the first half, to make it 31-22 at the break.

The Knights’ halftime lead was due largely to better shooting. Crestview hit 10-of-23 (43 percent) from the field, while P-G landed only 6-of-21 (29 percent). Five of the Knight buckets, one by Mercer and two each from Crowle and Riggenbach, were from long range. The Rockets hit two treys, getting one each by Hermiller and Olivia Maag.

Motycka even got into the long-range act, draining one from the right wing halfway through the third stanza to push the lead out to 38-26. Two minutes later Crowle drained her third triple, and Mercer’s nifty six-foot floater at 0:43 gave Crestview a 43-30 lead after three.

The veteran Rockets, who started five seniors, had the better of it in turnovers, 10-15, and free throws, 78 percent (7-of-9) to 67 percent (12-of-18). However, the Lady Knights dominated the boards, 31-19, and the field goal shooting, hitting 47 percent (18-for-38) for the game to 32 percent (16-for-50) for the Rockets.

“They (the Rockets) have nice size, they’re quick, aggressive defensively,” said Rickard. “We shot really well from the perimeter. We got the ball inside, which we thought we could because they played behind a lot. For us, the key was taking care of the ball. We had some spells where we had turnovers, but most of the time we took care of the ball. We did a great job on the boards, limiting them to one shot, which was huge.”

Motycka, Emily Bauer, and Crowle led Crestview’s scoring with 17, 14, and 12, respectively. Megan Maag, a 1000-point career scorer, had 18 for Pandora-Gilboa. Hermiller added 11 for the Rockets while Olivia Maag scored 9 points in the loss.

Score by quarters

Pandora-Gilboa 4 18 8 12- 42

Crestview 14 17 12 13- 56

Pandora-Gilboa (42)

McCullough 2, Hermiller 11, Olivia Maag 9, Megan Maag 18, Abelovska 2, Alexa Maag 0, Watkins 0, Swary 0, Breanna Hovest 0, Brittany Hovest 0

Crestview (56)

Mercer 7, Riggenbach 6, Bauer 14, Motycka 17, Hicks 0, Crowle 12, Hartman 0, Grote 0, Zaleski 0