In a rare boys basketball game on a Thursday night for the network, The red-hot Waterloo Vikings took on The Red Devils of Crestwood for the first time in nearly three years! Two programs that reside in Portage County and have quite the history with one another, going back to Coach Jason Wise of Waterloo and Josh Jakacki from Crestwood competing against each other for their respective teams, when they were in the same conference, many moons ago.
Nowadays, the two teams play in two different conferences, but look to keep the feeling and emotions of beating their rival with nothing more than bragging rights on the line this season. But to the two schools, bragging rights means everything! Sporting a great crowd for both sides, especially for Waterloo, who still had nice attendance numbers despite The Lady Vikings being on the road and very much alive in their conference hopes. With the high amount of people, the energy was created in the junior varsity game and tension was at its highest just before the varsity tipoff.
The first quarter saw the two teams exchange buckets early one before The Red Devils captured an early advantage. A two headed dragon of three point scoring from Dekota Johnson, Charlie Schweickert helped Crestwood maintain momentum, leading 12-8 after a quarter. By the second period, The Vikings had started on the comeback trail, getting as close as trailing by just two points 18-20, thanks to a big time three by Jackson Eichler. However, The Red Devils had a response run in them, scoring the next couple buckets to end the first half in front 24-18.
Once again, Waterloo attempted to get back to even in the ballgame at the start of the third. Anthony Podojil got The Vikes within a bucket once again, as he found a turnaround hook to cut the deficit to three points at 26-29. As some things changed, others stayed the same, cause Crestwood had plenty of responses silencing the crowd on a 5-0 run to take an eight point lead and for Waterloo into a late third quarter timeout. Out of the huddle, The Vikings would slightly trim the Crestwood lead, with The Devils leading 36-30 after three.
Start of the fourth and final quarter and enter that man, that Player of The Game, Waterloo’s Navarre Alhassan! Scoring an opening three pointer, going to the foul line for two and securing a steal for a fast break bucket, The Vikings were able to capture their first lead of the game with a 7-0 run to start the fourth, all of the points being scored by Alhassan! A Resilient bunch of Red Devils would not be vanquished so easily, with Crestwood re-taking the lead in the fourth, Dekota Johnson clutching some free throws at the line to squeeze in front 42-41. Call him Navarre “The Answer” Alhassan, as the senior immediately took the next possession down the court and swished a mid-ranger to grab the lead once again, but this time, hold it for good.
The Vikings would then be tested by being sent to the free throw line to clinch the game. Despite shooting a sharp click, with a majority of the makes coming from Alhassan, The Red Devils still would not go down. Dekota Johnson played hero ball in the fourth for Crestwood, hitting two big time three pointers in the winding seconds of the game, cutting The Viking lead to just a single point! However, not enough time would be allotted for The Red Devils, as Waterloo was able to dribble out the clock to escape with the thrilling 53-52 victory!
After the loss, Crestwood (4-6) will now travel to Cuyahoga Heights (8-0) in a meeting with The Red Wolves on Saturday, January 7th. Following the win, Waterloo (8-3)(3-1) will go back to conference action, traveling to Mineral Ridge (0-9)(0-4) in a bout with The Rams! Interviews with Waterloo Head Coach Jason Wise and Player of The Game Navarre Alhassan can be found below!
Navarre Alhassan: 19 PTS (Player of The Game).
Aidan Hall: 10 PTS.
Anthony Podojil: 10 PTS.
Drew Flarida: 8 PTS.
Ryan Wise: 3 PTS.
Jackson Eichler: 3 PTS.
Dekota Johnson: 18 PTS.
Charlie Schweickert: 16 PTS.
Jimmy Peters: 7 PTS.
Augie Schweickert: 5 PTS.
Ty Fanin: 4 PTS.
Josh Delaney: 2 PTS.
Scoring by Quarter
Q1: Waterloo 8 – 12 Crestwood
Q2: Waterloo 10 – 12 Crestwood
Q3: Waterloo 12 – 12 Crestwood
Q4: Waterloo 23 – 16 Crestwood
Final: Waterloo 53 – 52 Crestwood.
*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell