COLUMBIANA - Presented with a chance to sweep the season series from East Palestine on Tuesday, Crestview's boys basketball team was in rare territory.
"Coach told us before the game that only us and Springfield had a chance to (sweep) this year," Crestview senior forward C.J. Collins said. "It doesn't happen that often. East Palestine's program has been insane these past few years."
Led by Collins' 16 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks, the Rebels used an 18-0 third quarter run to sink the Bulldogs 53-37.
Crestview improved to 10-4 and 6-3 in Tier 1 of the Inter-Tri County League. East Palestine fell to 6-5, 5-3. The Rebels and Bulldogs are two games behind league-leaders Springfield (8-1 in the league) and a game-behind second place South Range (7-2 in the league).
"We're obviously on three losses, but we still have to play South Range and Springfield," Crestview coach Herman Miller said. "And both of those teams have to play East Palestine, so we'll see what happens."
Collins and his partner in crime in the post Tom Oliver had a field day against the Bulldogs. Both dominated the boards, while Collins was able to block and change a lot of East Palestine shots in the paint.
Oliver led all scorers with 18 points. He said that this was the best performance for the pair of forwards against a quality opponent this season.
""We had a good performance against Mineral Ridge, but against a quality opponent I would give it to this one," Oliver said.
East Palestine trailed by eight at the half and made the first bucket of the third quarter to cut it to six. After that it was all the Rebels as the 18-0 run put the three-time defending ITCL upper tier champs away.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well tonight," East Palestine coach Tom Bingham said. "That's a big part of our game. We just got beat. They out-played us."
Not only did the Rebels dominate the paint, but they held Bulldog point guard Jake DiCello to four points - all by the way of free throws.
"I'm sure they were concentrating on taking him out of the game," Bingham said. "We tried some different things to get him going, but it didn't work."
Collins, who had 63 rebounds in the last four games, said the Rebels had aimed to shake off some recent adversity.
"After the first East Palestine game we went into a little lull," Collins said. "We knew how good we were, but we were satisfied with where we were at. After we dropped those three games to South Range, Springfield and Lisbon, coach sat us down and told us we had to step it up. He told us that it's not given to you. We've been putting ourselves in a good position to win lately and I think the difference these past couple weeks."
East Palestine might have a hard time getting back to striking distance for another league title, but Bingham isn't looking too far ahead.
"I can't predict the future," Bingham said. "We'll come to practice and just throw this one away. We'll do our best to forget about it."
Austen Reiser led the Bulldogs with 10 points and six rebounds. Zak Brockman also had six rebounds.
Adam Coppock, who did not score, had five assists running the point for the Rebels.
Crestview is at United on Friday. East Palestine hosts Columbiana on Friday.
Crestview won the jayvee game 50-29. Derek Bable had 11 points to lead the Rebels. Justin Fristik added 12 points for the Bulldogs.
E. PALESTINE: 6- 9- 6-16-37
EAST PALESTINE SCORING: Tyler Foster 2-0-4, Austen Reiser 4-0-10, Jake DiCello 0-4-4, Travis Cope 3-2-8, Zak Brockman 2-0-4, Nate Keylor 2-0-5, Cody Stewart 1-0-2, Josh Artrup 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 14-49, 6-15: 37.
CRESTVIEW SCORING: Dillon Gorby 0-0-0, Nate Climo 2-2-7, Collin Gilbert 0-2-2, Adam Coppock 0-0-0, C.J. Collins 8-0-16, Tommy Oliver 6-6-18, Robert Logan 5-0-10. TEAM TOTALS: 21, 10-18: 53.
Three-point goals: East Palestine 3 (Reiser 2, Keylor), Crestview 1 (Climo).