ATWATER OH- Officially, high school tournament basketball is now in full-swing for the state of Ohio with various sectional semifinals occurring all over the state, in what hopes to be the first step of many for a large number of talented squads. Head over to Atwater on Tuesday night and you would have seen the intriguing matchup between two members of The Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference (MVAC); however, not in the same conference division. With The Waterloo Vikings (Scarlet) hosting The Crestview Rebels (Gray). Throughout the regular season, Cresview sported an 11-11 record, good enough to get them #17 in The Division 3 Northeast 1 (Canton District), while The #13 Vikings had a resurgent year with a solid 14-8 record and an opportunity to host a playoff game.

The Rebels, as their team name would indicate, cared very little who had home court, as they came out of the opening tip red hot from behind the arc. At one point, Crestview captured a double digit lead 16-6 in the opening quarter! Waterloo was able to cut into the deficit following a timeout from Coach Wise, but it was Coach Gates and company that held a 16-10 lead after eight minutes of play. It is typically said by many coaches that you lean on your seniors during this time of the year and boy did the senior leaders show up in Fred Brookover Gymnasium. Navarre Alhassan was a deadeye from distance in the second, nailing down three shots from the perimeter while also getting other players involved as four Vikings scored a three pointer in the second to push Waterloo back in front. On the other side, it felt like Kirkland Miller had a response ready for The Vikes, no matter the shot. Hitting buckets from the perimeter, the post, at the line or on the drive it did not matter, Kirkland Miller was the real deal! After both teams found their offensive rhythm, Waterloo held a slim 30-29 lead at halftime.

Out of the half, the third quarter kept the same script as the eight minutes previous. This time, it was Vikings senior Anthony Podojil who got the hot hand, hitting three of his five triples in the third quarter alone! But the ability to curb momentum was there for Kirkland Miller, as he nailed down a pair of threes to his own credit in the third. Both teams scored 11 points in the frame and The Vikings still remained in front by just a single point heading to the fourth. Crestview was tired of being on the comeback trail and managed to get over the hump down the stretch, reclaiming a lead in the final quarter. However, the lead was short lived, as Navarre Alhassan put on his Captain Clutch hat and absolutely nailed down a distance three to retake the lead for Waterloo! Working to get themselves in the bonus down the stretch, The Rebels sent Alhassan to the free throw stripe eight times in the fourth, he hit six of those shots to stretch the lead and keep The Vikings in front for good! 

The loss for Crestview (11-12) will end The Rebels season, but nothing to be ashamed about from that performance. Leaving it all out on the floor, like Coach Gates teams always tend to do, The Rebels look to get back to work in the offseason and come back stronger in the 2023-24 campaign. As we here at YSN bid a farewell to the seniors and wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors! For #13 Waterloo (15-8) they will now hit the road in a matchup with #7 Newton Falls (17-5) in a Sectional Final on Friday, February 24th set for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off. Interviews with Co-Players of The Game Anthony Podjil and Navarre Alhassan as well as winning Head Coach Jason Wise can be found below! 


Scoring (Waterloo)

Navarre Alhassan: 24 PTS.

Anthony Podojil: 17 PTS.

Drew Flarida: 4 PTS.

Ryan Wise: 4 PTS.

Jackson Eichler: 3 PTS.

Aidan Hall: 3 PTS.


Scoring (Crestview)

Kirkland Miller: 25 PTS.

Jonathan Best: 13 PTS.

Matt Lindsay: 5 PTS.

Jameson English: 5 PTS.

James Best: 2 PTS.


Scoring by Quarter

Q1: Waterloo 10 – 16 Crestview

Q2: Waterloo 20 – 13 Crestview

Q3: Waterloo 11 – 11 Crestview

Q4: Waterloo 14 – 10 Crestview

Final: Waterloo 55 – 50 Crestview

*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell