Sports Zone

Boys clinch title, look to finish strong

Gauge Smith deflects a pass by Harrisburg’s Trey Crabb as Creswell teammate Tyler Frieze helps set the trap during the Bulldogs’ 75-52 victory over the visiting Eagles. The Bulldogs had 15 deflections and nine steals in the game. Gini Davis/The Chronicle

CRESWELL – Home-court advantage doesn’t seem to matter to the Creswell Bulldogs boys basketball team this year.
They’ll clinch titles any place, anywhere.
That’s exactly what CHS did last Wednesday when it traveled nearly an hour away to face private school Santiam Christian.
”About halfway through the season, it dawned on the guys that they could potentially win out for the rest of the season and they have zero intentions of failing, especially now,” head coach Jesse Thomas said.
Creswell finished 9-0 in league play, and is 17-4 overall.
The Bulldogs turned Santiam’s 13 turnovers into 18 points, recorded nine steals and totaled 17 deflections by game’s end, winning 59-42.
Creswell has beaten Santiam Christian by an average of 20 points this season, even though early coaches polls had the Eagles ranked five spots above the Bulldogs for more than three weeks.
Santiam Christian’s Koby Williamson scored 24 of the Eagles’ 42 points but it wasn’t enough to get past the Mountain Valley League champions.
Thomas, a member of Creswell’s 2004 state title team, said the feeling of victory is similar now as the coach.
”The preparation for the game may be different,” he said, ”but the feeling you get when your team wins, that part is the same.”
One other thing that’s a little different? Being the target for every water bottle the team could acquire. The coach spent the hourlong drive home soaked in celebration.
”It was worth it,” he said.
Home-court advantage may not affect how the Bulldogs play, but it will be a nice perk for the postseason.
Winning the league gives Creswell its first state playoff game on its own court and the potential to celebrate in its own gym.
Senior Night is Wednesday, Feb. 19, and school is celebrating by encouraging fans to ”pack the house.” The City Choir will be in attendance to sing ”The National Anthem” before the girls game.



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