LYNN HAVEN — Crestview was showing signs of overcoming its miserable start, after Choctawhatchee opened their District 2-6A semifinal at Mosley on Friday with the first 13 points of the game.
But the Bulldogs, who had crept within 26-19, had no answer for another 11-point blitz by the Indians that bracketed the second and third quarters.
As a result, Choctaw opened a 20-point bulge by the first minute of the third quarter and eased to a 76-58 victory and a berth in tonight’s championship game.
Short-handed Crestview, 13-12, missing the presence of Denzel Ware inside, simply couldn’t respond when the Indians, 14-11, clamped down on Ronnie Baylark.
The Bulldogs junior finished with 18 points, but 10 of them came in the fourth quarter when the outcome had been long decided.
“Our main focus was to limit Ronnie’s points tonight,” Choctaw coach Andy Thigpen said.
The Indians opened in a box-and-one defense with four players in a zone and the other hounding Baylark man-to-man. Four different Indians had the responsibility of limiting Baylark’s touches and Crestview mostly was forced into a perimeter game.
“We played as smart as we have played all year,” Thigpen said. “We did the things offensively and defensively that we need to do this late in the season.”
Bryan Baker and Dylan Williams each had 16 points to pace the Indians, Williams adding six blocked shots as Choctaw controlled the paint. Thomas Clay and Quaybo Lawton each added 14 points in a balanced output.
Jonathan Buckelew had 12 points for the Bulldogs.