Trey Magnuson scored 21 points to lead the Bulldogs in their upset of fourth-ranked Coquille on Saturday to capture the league’s top state bid. Here, he scores against the Red Devils during Creswell’s Senior Night game on Feb. 9. GINI DAVIS – THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
After falling to Coquille 49-63 on Jan. 19 but just 58-61 in their Feb. 9 rematch the Creswell Bulldogs were the acknowledged ”underDawgs” going into Saturday’s game at the Red Devils’ house to determine the Mountain Valley Conference’s first and second seeds to state.
But coming off a 60-54 overtime league playoff win over Pleasant Hill on Feb. 14 the Dawgs already knew they were headed to state, and Coach Jesse Thomas said that allowed them to relax and ”just play” their way to a 54-50 upset.
”It was a huge thing having that pressure off about going to state,” Thomas said. ”We knew we were good enough to beat Coquille – it was a mental thing; now we had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and we did that.”
Creswell trailed 10-11 after one but led 27-24 at halftime and 39-38 after three. The Dawgs were up seven with just under a minute remaining after a pair of fast break lay-ins by Trey Magnuson, fed by Chance Bellew – but from there things got dicey.
Coquille hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to one. With 20 seconds left, Tyler Frieze was fouled, made one to put Creswell up two, the Red Devils rebounded, missed a three, rebounded, missed another three, rebounded and attempted yet another three. ”We couldn’t get a rebound,” Thomas lamented.
With just a few seconds on the clock, Bellew got fouled and sank both for the game’s final margin.
Magnuson paced Creswell with 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. ”He was an absolute animal; we needed it from him, and he delivered,” Thomas said.
Bellew added 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. ”He was getting to the rack; he played great,” Thomas said.
”We played really solid all the way through; it was a fun night,” Thomas said.
Because the teams tied for second in league, Wednesday’s Creswell/Pleasant Hill game was hosted by Harrisburg, and there the Bulldogs’ state hopes were nearly dashed.
The Dawgs’ nine first-half turnovers nearly equaled their points scored, as Creswell trailed 10-21 at halftime. ”We were tight, nervous,” Thomas said. ”We defended well but just couldn’t get a shot to go in.”
But the Bulldogs outscored the Billies 16-12 in the third and 22-12 in the fourth, spurred by eight consecutive threes between the mid-third and mid-fourth quarters: three by Magnuson, two by Frieze, and one each from Forsman, Eli Ream and Jack Callahan.
Up by four with four minutes remaining, Creswell saw that four-point advantage flip to Pleasant Hill. With 13 seconds to go Magnuson was fouled, made one and missed one; Callahan grabbed the offensive board and found Frieze, who was fouled on his attempted three with 3.9 seconds remaining. He sank two, then the third after a P-Hill timeout to tie.
Creswell outscored their rivals 12-5 and were 10-for-11 from the line in overtime. ”I knew we had it when we tied it,” Thomas said. ”We had all the momentum.”
Magnuson had 15 points and five rebounds, Frieze had 13 points and three assists, Callahan had 11 points and six boards and Bellew had 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Now seventh-ranked, the Bulldogs host 10th-ranked Oregon Episcopal School for a state playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 24. Coquille travels to sixth-ranked Cascade Christian.
”It’s a huge, huge help getting that home game,” Thomas said. ”We should have a good home-crowd turnout.”
Winners travel to the OSAA 3A State Championships at Marshfield/North Bend, March 1-3. Follow the Bulldogs’ progress through the 3A state championship brackets at http://www.osaa.org/activities/bbx/brackets.