Sports

Lady Dawgs’ Cinderella story still being written

The Lady Dawgs bested sixth-ranked Lakeview on the road Friday to advance to the state championships. From left: Tabetha Donovan, Assistant Coach Chandler Gabrio, Morgan Janshen, Aleesha Fox, Lexi McCrory, Jada Gallegos and Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. Lower: Aubrie Hatch, Megan Seele, Karley Bellew, Freya DeMasters, Bailey Howell and Jessie Hiatt. Not pictured: Cali Allen. GINI DAVIS – THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE

An upset victory over sixth-ranked Lakeview, 54-46, on Friday, Feb. 23 has the 11th-ranked Mountain Valley Conference second seed Lady Bulldogs advancing to the OSAA 3A Girls’ Basketball State Championships this weekend in Coos Bay.
With snow threatening to the south, as of 8:30 a.m. on game day it was still undecided whether the Lady Dawgs would make the trip, or if the game would be rescheduled for Saturday. After receiving the green light, the girls endured a 7.5-hour bus trip that had them arriving just 45 minutes before game time.
Attempting to avoid snow, ”we went down to Medford and over, which was about an hour longer,” said Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. At 4,700 feet, Lakeview is also billed as the highest city in Oregon. But neither the grueling bus ride nor the elevation daunted the Lady Dawgs.
”I think it helped that they were excited it was playoffs – that gave them an extra boost, mentally,” Hollingsworth said. ”They handled it all really well.”
The score was 14-14 after one, but Creswell held a 30-21 halftime advantage and the lead fluctuated from eight to 12 points the rest of the way.
”We came out and played really hard and we did a pretty good job on their best player, Alex Conley,” Hollingsworth said. ”We didn’t press like we normally do; we ran more of a half-court defense, and that seemed to benefit us. We only pressed five or six possessions all game.”
Creswell led 39-31 after three and was up 11 in the fourth until Lakeview hit a three down the stretch.
”We got a little shaky down the stretch when they started pressing more, but I honestly felt like we could’ve been up 15 to 20 the whole game,” Hollingsworth said. ”We played pretty good defense overall and offensively it was definitely a team effort.”
Karley Bellew and Cali Allen each scored 13 points to lead Creswell. Bellew added seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals, while Allen added two boards and three assists. ”Cali shot really well; she hit three threes,” Hollingsworth noted.
Bailey Howell had eight points and six rebounds, despite early foul trouble that had her on the bench for several minutes of the first and second quarters.
In her stead, Freya DeMasters came off the bench and contributed six points. ”She was very productive and did some really good things for us,” Hollingsworth said.
Guard Aleesha Fox added six points and 10 boards. ”She rebounded really well,” Hollingsworth said.
Conley paced Lakeview with 15.
Creswell meets third-ranked Rainier in the state quarterfinals on March 1. Coquille, who downed Warrenton 69-48 in their state playoffs game, faces second-ranked Dayton.
Follow the Lady Dawgs’ progress through the state championships at http://www.osaa.org/activities/gbx/brackets.

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