Before the Eagles knew it, they were down by nine points after one quarter and the margin reached 15 points in the second quarter.
Crestline never led by less than nine points and stretched it out in the third quarter, taking a 65-42 win over Monroeville in a Division IV sectional semifinal at Galion High School.
"Crestline brought the intensity," Monroeville coach Paul Roeder said. "They took us out of our offense. They kept the pressure on and we were never able to deal with that. That is something we have to learn to deal with in the off-season."
The Eagles finish the season at 7-16, which is a vast improvement than the 1-22 record last season.
"On one hand, that is nice, but it is only seven wins," Roeder said. "Seven wins back when I played was nothing. I am proud the guys have made improvements. We exceeded expectations. We did things a Monroeville team has not done in several years. That gives us hope for next year."
While Monroeville won six more games this season than it did last year, the Eagles finished the season with seven straight losses.
"Only one of those games were we favored in," Roeder said. "The other games we were not favored in. I think that has something to do with it. We got playing conference teams, and it is tougher. We will use that as fuel in the off-season. The guys need to not be satisfied with seven wins."
The Bulldogs (9-14) scored the first five points of the game and after Chayce Schaub hit a 3 for Monroeville, Crestline scored six more points in a row for a 11-3 lead. Gunner Howell connected on a baseline jumper for the Eagles, but a 3 from Max Anatra pushed Crestline ahead, 14-5, after one quarter.
The Bulldogs kept the pressure up early in the second quarter. Crestline used precise driving, often cutting through the heart of the Monroeville defense to score at ease. An 8-2 run by Bulldogs open the lead to 22-7 with 4:41 left in the second quarter.
"We told our kids that we felt like Monroeville did not handle pressure well," Crestline coach Tyler Sanders said. "Getting on them early and making them bring the ball up the floor uncomfortably — especially once they enter the ball into their offense -- (we wanted to) make them feel uncomfortable from that pass."
For as bad as the Eagles had played to that point, Monroeville played better and got back within striking distance. Buckets by Eli Sweet and Isaac Roeder drew the Eagles within 11 points — the margin (26-15) at halftime.
In the third quarter, Monroeville got within nine points twice. The last came on a layup by Cody Schaffer, but that is when Crestline took over for good. The Bulldogs ran off the next 11 points — started on a 3 from Trevor Phillips -- and capped on a 3-point play by Anatra. That gave Crestline a 39-19 lead.
"Crestline forced us into some hurried shots," coach Roeder said. "Some guys took some shots on our team that were one-pass shots. Isaac was not in that flow. When he is not in that flow, that is a big chunk of our offense that we are missing."
The lead was 43-23 after three quarters for the Bulldogs. Things only got worse for Monroeville in the fourth quarter. Scores from Phillips and Kaden Ronk extended the lead to 50-26, and later, Ronk added a 3-point play off of a Monroeville turnover to put Crestline up 26 points.
"I do not think their outside shots hurt us," coach Roeder said. "I think it was them penetrating and getting second and third shots. They made the hustle plays. We did not."
Turnovers consistently hurt the Eagles. 18 trnovers by Monroeville seemingly always led to an easy basket for Crestline.
"The turnovers is a function of their intensity," coach Roeder said. "They would pressure us and then we would hurry a pass or we would think a guy was in a spot and he was not there. Whenever we did that, they would capitalize on it."
Roeder was held to six points, which was well below his season average of 18.1 points a game.
"Roeder is a stud and he is only a freshman," Sanders said. "We understand that when he goes left, he pulls up and when he goes right, he goes to the rim. We tried to make it as uncomfortable as possible for him."
Anatra scored 15 points for the Bulldogs while Phillips and Ty Clark each added 14 points. Ronk rounded out a quartet of double-digit scorers with 12 points.
"That is tough to defend," coach Roeder said. "What Crestline did a nice job with was their penetration. Their guard play is their strength. They would drive and dish and that has been a weakness for us throughout the year."
Cody Schaffer 3-1—7, Chayce Schaub 1-0—3, Isaac Roeder 2-2—6, Mason Tonelli 1-0—3, Eli Sweet 5-0—10, Gunner Howell 1-0—2, Merritt Key 3-0—7, Jake Sattler 1-0—2, Trevor Schafer 0-2—2. TOTALS 17-5—42.
Kaden Ronk 5-1—12, Max Anatra 5-4—15, Trevor Phillips 6-1—14, Ty Clark 7-0—14, Spencer Harley 1-0—2, Ethan Clark 3-0—6, Andrew Gundrum 0-2—2. TOTALS 27-8—65.
Monroeville 5 10. 8 19 — 42
Crestline. 14 12 17 22 — 65
3-point FGs: (M) Schaub, Tonelli, Key; (C) Ronk, Anatra, Phillips
Mans. St. Peter’s 62, Plymouth 42
SHELBY — The Big Red saw their season end with a 12-11 record following Tuesday’s Div. IV sectional semifinal loss to Mansfield St. Peter’s (14-8).
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