LAUREL HILL — Crestview High School boys basketball Coach Greg Watson hopes Tuesday's win over Laurel Hill School can serve as blueprint for success as the Bulldogs prepare for the district tournament in two weeks.
Time for soul searching
Laurel Hill School Coach Kent Zessin wants his team to do some soul searching about which direction the Hoboes should take as they finish the season.
And although they're preaching different messages to their teams, both coaches agreed that the 78-29 score could serve a springboard to the playoffs.
"I thought defensively we did a really good job in the first half for the most part of making them shoot contested shots," Watson said. "And then right there in the third quarter we just shot the crap out of it. Ronnie (Baylark) hit three or four in a row and got his confidence going and it seemed like that got the other guys' confidence going.
"That was big for us. Hopefully, they will have more confidence on offense, which I have been trying to preach. Share the ball, move the ball, it's a simple game."
Zessin, on the other hand, was simply searching for answers.
"I thought my guys mentally and physically would have done a little better job with them," he said. Mentally, we didn't come in here focused and we've got to do a better job than that.
"We are in a spot where we have to decide which way we want to go. We are going to have to step it up because we do have a team that is capable of winning district and going far in the playoffs. If we want to go a long way (in the playoffs) we have to shake this one off and go back to work."
For the most part, the game between Class 7A Crestview and 1A Laurel Hill went as expected.
The Bulldogs (17-4) simply had too much fire power for the Hoboes (15-6).
Crestview took the early lead on baskets by Denzel Ware and Jerry Aaron. Laurel Hill answered with buckets by Lane Strickland and Max Smith.
The score was tied at 4-4 three minutes into the game. When the first quarter ended five minutes later, Crestview was up 18-7 and well on the way to the win.
Baylark's first basket of the game with 4:38 left in the first quarter put the Bulldogs up for good.
Baylark scored eight of his game-high 25 points in the first quarter. Aaron added six points as the Bulldogs stretched the lead to 18-4.
A long Chris Saylor 3-pointer at the horn for Laurel Hill closed Crestview's lead to 18-7.
Scored continued to be hard to come by for the Hoboes in the second quarter as Tee Calloway scored four of the eight Hobo points in the period.
Five Bulldogs scored in the second quarter as Crestview pushed the lead to 35-15 at the half.
With 6:46 left in the third quarter Strickland scored his last basket off the night for the Hoboes and Laurel Hill trailed 40-19. Seemingly on cue, the Bulldog offense erupted.
Ware sparked a 19-2 Crestview run with a 3-point play. Tay King hit a pair 3-pointers around a basket by Josh Hartzog score for Laurel Hill.
The Bulldogs hit seven 3-pointers in the third quarter's final five minutes. Baylark hit three of the 3-pointers. He was fouled on his last 3-pointer and stepped to the line to sink a free throw for the 4-point play.
With 2:39 left in the third, the Bulldogs were up 59-21 and the rest of the game was played with the running clock.
Baylark was followed in scoring for the Bulldogs by Aaron with 13 points and Ware with seven points. Marcel Moorer and King each had six points for Crestview.
Strickland topped the Hoboes with eight points. T.J. White scored seven and Calloway six.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.