Bailey Howell reaches to grab an offensive rebound before putting it back for two of her game-high 18 points against Cascade Christian. GINI DAVIS – THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Dicey conditions over the pass kept the Creswell Bulldogs from making their scheduled trip to La Pine on Jan. 26, but the Lady Dawgs put away the visiting Cascade Christian Challengers, 56-25 in a nonleague matchup on Jan. 23 to improve their overall record to 14-6.
Going inside to Bailey Howell as the Challengers defense closed around top scorer Karley Bellew paid off all night long for the Lady Dawgs, who jumped out to an 18-3 first-quarter advantage and never looked back.
”Our offensive timing has improved a ton,” said Creswell Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. ”Bailey’s posting up better and doing a better job of finishing, and our guards are getting better at looking for her and getting passes in to her.”
The Lady Dawgs led 27-8 at the half and 49-16 at the end of the third quarter. Creswell reserves saw action throughout the game.
The Challengers were without their top player, 6-foot junior center Emily Stephens, who suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the season, but the Lady Dawgs’ decisive victory owed at least as much to their own improvement as the season’s progressed as to Stephens’ absence.
”We beat them by one with her playing (at the Salem Academy Tournament, over winter break), so I knew it would hurt them some not having her, but wasn’t sure how much,” Hollingsworth said. He added that Challengers coach Scott Martinez remarked after the game that the Bulldogs were much improved since the teams’ last meeting and noted that the Challengers had already won four games without Stephens.
As a team, the Lady Dawgs shot 48 percent on the night, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc, and grabbed 13 steals, but were just 12-of-22 from the line.
”We came out pretty hard and played solid; overall I was happy with our effort,” Hollingsworth said.
Howell scored a game-high 18 points, to go with four rebounds.
Bellew added 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Aleesha Fox had seven points, four rebounds and four assists. Cali Allen had six points and five assists.
The La Pine game has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 5.