Shaking off two weeks of winter break idleness, the Creswell Bulldogs came out energized and recharged to win their boys’ basketball league opener over La Pine, 62-31, on Friday, Jan. 4.
The score was tied 11-11 after the first quarter, and the Dawgs held an eight-point lead, 25-17, going into halftime.
”You could tell we were a bit rusty; we missed a lot of good shots in the first half,” said Creswell Head Coach Jesse Thomas. ”But we came out of halftime and almost immediately the onslaught started.”
Creswell exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Hawks 19-6 for a 46-23 advantage at the end of the period.
”They ran a two-three zone on us most of the game, and in the first half we were reluctant to drive in – but in the third quarter we were swinging the ball and getting layups and we started attacking and kicking out for perimeter shots,” Thomas said.
Tyler Frieze scored six of his 14 points in the third quarter, while Andrew Spence hit two threes and Kai Apo hit a three and a jump shot from the free-throw line.
La Pine switched briefly to a triangle-and-two defense, keeping defenders on Frieze and Apo, ”but we just spread them out and shredded them,” Thomas said. ”We scored on three successive possessions and they switched back to the two-three (zone).”
Frieze added eight rebounds and three assists to his 14 points. Taylor Forsman also scored 14 points – nine of them in the fourth quarter, including two threes – and had seven assists and three steals. Apo finished with 13 points and five rebounds; Spence added nine points; Austin Gabriel was the team’s leading rebounder with nine, plus three points; Dallton Dewey added four points and Gauge Smith had three.
”We got open shots all night; it was just a question of whether we were going to start making them – and in the second half, we did,” Thomas said. ”Our scoring guys did most of their damage in the second half – and pretty much everybody who played, scored.”
The Bulldogs travel to Pleasant Hill this week for their second league contest. ”They’re pretty tough,” Thomas said of the Billies. ”They played a good non-league schedule. It should be a good game.”