CRESTVIEW — A red hot Crestview boys basketball team extended its winning streak to five games and made it four straight in District 2-6A play with a 64-54 win over Choctawhatchee on Friday.
The win improved the Bulldogs to 10-9 overall and 4-3 in district play. More importantly it puts them in position to take an all-important second or third place seed in next month’s district tournament.
“I drew the bracket on the board before we stepped out tonight and showed them where we are and where we could be with tonight’s win,” Crestview coach Ken Meinser said. “Right now we are playing for two and three (in the district). We have one more to go at Mosley next Friday and then we will be set for the tournament.
“This is the first time I’ve been over .500 at Crestview. We are 10-9 and we were 2-7 at one time. It goes to show you that hard work and the hours of the tears and sweat these kids have put in are starting to pay off and I’m so proud of them.”
The Indians (14-9. 4-3) got off to a fast start as Michael Hawkins scored on a 4-point play 19 seconds into the game. But Crestview wouldn’t be denied.
Baskets by Ronnie Baylark and Denzel Ware tied the game at 4-4 and it was game on as the teams traded baskets throughout the first several minutes of play.
A Baylark 3-pointer at the 4:32 mark in the first quarter gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 9-6.
Crestview led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter before a pair of free throws by Hawkins tied the game at 14-14 early in the second period.
Baylark, who finished the night with a game-high 28 points, was good for six points in the second quarter as the Bulldogs continued to fight off the Indian attack.
An Angel Acosta 3-pointer put the Indians in 23-20 with just less than four minutes left in the half.
Baskets by Jonathan Buckelew and Baylark sparked a run that helped the Bulldogs to a 26-25 lead at the half.
The game was nip and tuck throughout the third quarter.
A Bryan Baker basket put Choctaw up at 30-29 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. The Indians held the lead throughout most of the period.
The game was tied at 40-40 with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter when Josh Hinton converted on a 3-point play to put the Bulldogs in front once and for all.
The final five minutes of the game was more of a free throw battle than anything else with the Bulldogs stepping to the line and hitting 17-of-21 from the strip in the final stanza to pull of the win.
Buckelew scored 16 points to join Baylark in double figures for the Bulldogs.
Hawkins led a trio of Indians in double figures with 15 points. Dylan Williams had 12 points and Baker 10 points.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524