A foul on the shot sends Chance Bellew to the line for a pair of clutch free throws in the final two minutes of the Bulldogs’ 46-41 victory over Cascade Christian. GINI DAVIS – THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Snowy pass conditions grounded the Creswell Bulldogs, forcing a league game at La Pine slated for Jan. 26 to be rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 5. But the Bulldogs picked up a 46-41 non-league win over the visiting Cascade Christian Challengers on Jan. 23 to improve to 12-8 on the season.
The Dawgs led the entire way, but the Challengers kept nipping at their heels, refusing to go away. Creswell led 14-11 at the end of the first quarter, 25-22 at the half and 35-31 after three.
”We were really, really, really patient with the basketball; we’ve been working at making defenders work harder to guard us, and that was key,” said Creswell Head Coach Jesse Thomas. ”We were getting good shots and making enough of them.”
Creswell led 41-33 with about two minutes left to play, but Cascade Christian amped up their defensive pressure, forcing some turnovers which they converted into quick threes. ”They turned the pressure up and we lost our composure for a few possessions,” Thomas said. ”They’ve got some good shooters, and they did what good shooters do – they hit threes when it counted.”
But Jack Callahan responded for the Bulldogs with a big bucket off an out-of-bounds play, and guards Tayler Forsman and Chance Bellew sank some key free throws to help Creswell protect their lead.
”We knocked down enough to keep them off us,” Thomas said.
As a team, the Bulldogs made 11 of 23 field goals and were 5-of-8 from three, but were just 9-of-19 from the charity stripe and had 16 turnovers. ”We overcame an atrocious night at the line and were uncharacteristically turnover-prone,” Thomas said, noting Creswell averages just 10 turnovers per game. ”But we battled through it.”
Callahan scored a team-high 14 points and had five rebounds and three assists. Joel McLemore had a game-high 16 for the Challengers.
Trey Magnuson added nine points, four rebounds and four assists for Creswell; Bellew had eight points, nine rebounds and three steals; and Forsman had five points and nine rebounds.