Fort Recovery beats Crestview at the buzzer

Crestview junior forward Kalen Etzler
Fort Recovery senior guard Grant Knapke
Fort Recovery junior forward Clay Schmitz
Crestview freshman guard Gavin Etzler

Fort Recovery, OH — Ohio State commit Kalen Etzler and the defending D-IV state champion Convoy Crestview Knights traveled to Fort Recovery to take on the Indians. Fort Recovery was fresh off of a big two-point win over Parkway in a MAC showdown between two teams fighting for a chance at the MAC title this year. Fort Recovery knew that out-conference foe Crestview would be a major test for them as Etzler has defined himself as one of the best forwards in Northwest Ohio. Fort Recovery was led by senior Grant Knapke who is one of the best returning players in the MAC this season and will be a crucial part of the Indians’ success this season. Another impact player for Fort Recovery was big man Clay Schmitz who played some big minutes Saturday as well. Freshman Gavin Etzler got the scoring started with a three-ball from the corner to get the Knights out to an early advantage. Crestview came out in a 2-3 zone which didn’t seem to affect Fort Recovery at all. Clay Schmitz got the scoring started for the Indians as he backed down the defender and got the easy layup. Then, Grant Knapke went above the Clay Schmitz screen and knocked down the open three as Fort Recovery’s offense seemed to be flowing pretty smoothly in the first quarter. Knapke and Schmitz both added onto Recovery’s lead as Schmitz got an and-one and Knapke drilled another three-ball. Kalen Etzler’s quiet first quarter ended when he drilled a deep three and drove to the rim for a layup to bring Crestview back into the game and make it a 17-17 score at the end of the first quarter. Etzler hit another deep three to begin the second quarter, then he made the play of the night as he blocked a Fort Recovery player’s shot and drove down the length of the court before dunking it over a Recovery defender attempting to take a charge. Clay Schmitz got his own rebound and made a buzzer-beater to round out the first half. The score at halftime was 28-23, Crestview led. The Indians started to trap in the second half as their defense stepped up a notch and got them back in the game as it was a 37-36 score at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter made for some exciting action as both teams traded buckets the rest of the way. Etzler made a big three to put Crestview up. Fort Recovery cut it to a two-point lead and then forward Clay Schmitz drove down the lane with 29 seconds left and was fouled. Fort Recovery was in the bonus so Schmitz was sent to the line. He made the first shot but missed the second shot to tie. Etzler rebounded with a one-point lead and 25 seconds left. Then, Gavin Thobe made the play of the game as he stripped Etzler of the ball and made the layup with Etzler chasing from behind. Crestview called a timeout and the Fort Recovery gymnasium erupted as the Indians held the narrow lead with less than 15 seconds to go. The final possession was mayhem as Kalen Etzler handed it off to Gavin Etzler who dumped it off to a guard in the corner. That left for only a second left as he barely got the shot off. It rattled in and out and the Fort Recovery Indians survived at home. Grant Knapke led the Indians in scoring as he finished with 11 points and big man Clay Schmitz finished with 9. This was a big win for Fort Recovery as they’ll return to action on the 21st at Ansonia.

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