The Creswell Zags fourth-grade boys’ basketball team. From left, top: Assistant Coach Todd Cranmer, Teagan Roberts, Emmerson Verlarde, Colton Hartman, Coldan Clark and Head Coach Sean Frieze. Lower: Jax Pelham, Tanner Frieze, Landon Foote and Brock Cranmer. Photo Provided/Creswell Zags
Creswell Zags youth basketball teams – third-grade boys, fourth-grade boys, fourth-grade girls and fifth-grade boys – made a clean sweep of Eugene Kidsports’ end-of-season tournaments, held March 15-17. Each local Zags team entered the tournament as a top seed and claimed their division’s championship title.
The third-grade boys, coached by Chris Wigington played in their grade’s highest division, Aqua. Undefeated on the year, the top-seeded Zags received a bye on March 15 and met Awbrey Park in the semifinals on March 16, winning 22-12.
In the March 17 championship game, they edged Sheldon in overtime, 36-34.
”The most impressive thing about our team during the season and tournament was our ability to play team basketball. They did an excellent job running our offensive plays and passing the ball, working together as a team,” Wigington said. ”I’m also very proud of how aggressive they were on defense, playing hard every game no matter what the score.”
Team members included Miles Wigington, Isaac Johnson, Braden Hartman, Asher Bielskis, Maddoxs, James Green and Lincoln Criddle. Mandy Wigington was assistant coach.
The top-seeded fourth-grade boys, coached by Sean Frieze, received a first-round bye on Friday and soundly defeated Cottage Grove, 74-16 in Saturday’s semifinals.
”We might have played our best game of the year,” Frieze said. ”The boys pushed the ball and made layup after layup on fast breaks, and everyone was playing tough defense; Cottage Grove was very frustrated.”
The Zags also dominated Sunday’s championship game, blasting Sheldon 38-15.
”As always, we pushed the ball in transition – but the shots weren’t falling, or the game would have really been a blowout,” Frieze said.
The team finished the season 10-0, averaging 62 points per game. Their only loss in two years, Frieze noted, was their third-grade Kidsports championship, by just two points.
”These boys are very athletic, very coachable, very competitive, and I love being around them,” Frieze said, also crediting ”a great group of parents.”
On the roster were Teagan Roberts, Emmerson Verlarde, Colton Hartman, Coldan Clark, Jax Pelham, Tanner Frieze, Landon Foote and Brock Cranmer. Todd Cranmer served as assistant coach.
The fourth-grade girls, coached by Todd Cranmer, repeated as Kidsports tournament champions, having also won last year as third graders.
The Zags downed Thurston in Friday’s semifinals and bested Twin Oaks Elementary in Saturday’s championship game, 28-22.
”As coaches, we are very proud of the improvement the girls made throughout the season; they are a pleasure to coach,” Cranmer said.
The team roster included Paige Cranmer, Blakely Carlson, Mila Nguyen, Cruz Kinney, Piper Hanson, Kelcei Dumas, Jordyn Lee and Kinslee Roberts. RJ Dumas was assistant coach.
The fifth-grade boys, coached by Ryan Bailey, won their grade’s highest Gold League championship, defeating O’Hara 48-32 in Sunday’s finals after rolling over Willamette 47-16 in Saturday’s semifinals.
”This group of boys played all season long with an unparalleled amount of passion and heart,” Bailey said. ”I could not be more proud of, or more thankful to have coached, these boys.”
Filling the team roster were Ace Arnold, Hunter Muskin, John Michael Petty, Braidyn Morse, Brady Pratt, Luke Bailey, Cota Aanrud, Matthew Jenkins, Cash Flores and Finley Thurman. Abby Flores was assistant coach.
Looking ahead to these all these young Creswell Zags’ middle and high school years, Coach Frieze anticipates skilled and confident players who are ready to don and do proud those Tiger and Bulldog uniforms.
”If they keep working on their game, the future is bright for Creswell basketball,” he said.