Sports Zone

Coach: Enjoy the atmosphere – Team finds relief in final home victory

The crowd, including the Creswell Community Singers, was a ”Sea of Red.” Gini Davis/The Chronicle

As Creswell prepares for the state tournament, pressure to perform well has never been higher.
”There was a point after the game where I think we all got to let out this deep breath we didn’t even realize we were holding,” said head coach Jesse Thomas.
”Everyone on the bench looked relieved. With this many seniors and this much on the line, every game we advance will be a little bit more of that breath we can let out,” he said.
Taking on No. 4 Amity in the quarterfinals Thursday, March 5, the Bulldogs traveled Wednesday to get better acclimated to the environment at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay.
The last time they advanced this far in the tournament, they ended up playing in the state title game, a track they’d like to follow this year. If it’s able to achieve title success this weekend, Creswell would earn its fourth OSAA State Basketball Championship.
With 80% of Creswell’s roster playing in its last year, the fans’ expectations also have been ramped up, and the stands have been filled up the past two home games.
”I didn’t take the time to look in the stands to appreciate the support and the environment like I wish I had at our playoff game this year,” Thomas said. ”Down at the tournament, I hope the guys take the time to do just that. It’s not every day you have parents decorating the lawns at the school or fans that will travel hours just to watch you play.
”Every game could be our last so we need to hold onto the positive side of that as well.” Thomas, who won a state title as a player in 2004, is hoping that this group of seniors plays the way it’s been preparing for their entire careers.
”Payden Criddle is known for always having such a good poker face but during the playoff game, I looked over at him and saw him fired up.
”He was yelling and was obviously excited, which is so rare for him. Watching kids evolve as competitors and athletes is what March is all about and they’re just getting started,” Thomas said.



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