When Breanna Dapron blew out her ACL on March 27, it cast quite a shadow over the Creswell campus.
The always-competitive – and usually great – volleyball team ended the season on a downward spiral without its leader and heavy hitter. And there were rumblings that the basketball team’s season would be lost without its leading scorer and rebounder.
Just don’t tell that to any of the players.
“I think we were all in shock, but there’s a lot of people who can step up and take that spot,” said third-year starter Emme Whitson, a junior guard. “I think we will do just fine and maybe even win more games without her.
“If we come together as a team and work together and have good energy, we can still win.
There’s definitely some people coming in who will be leaders and some of the older people now will step up and be leaders, too.”
Her coach agrees.
“(Point guard) Karinna (Leonard) has stepped up a lot, so we can move the ball around which allows Emme to get the ball in space to make plays,” CHS coach Tyler Hollingsworth said. “I’m glad she has great optimism. I think she’s right; the style we’re playing will help us win more games.”
Last year’s team had two seniors and one junior. While this year’s team has no seniors, it had five juniors going into its opener; CHS visits Cottage Grove on May 20 at 5:45 p.m.
Other key players for the Bulldogs include Samairah Quinones, Emma Maness, Abbe Grubbs and Kendyl Whitson, younger sister of Emme.
The family theme is almost tough to keep up with here. While Emme is a junior, Kendyl is a sophomore and Tyler is an 8th-grade basketball player, still awaiting his turn. Kylee graduated in 2020 as all three sisters got to play for a volleyball state title. Their dad, Luke, is Hollingsworth’s assistant and their mom, Melanie, played basketball for Chemeketa Community College.
Oh yeah, and just for good measure, the whole family is related to Carter Cunningham, the senior point guard on the boys team.
“I think it’s cool that we have families of multiple siblings who play sports together,” Hollingswoth said. “We have so many great families. I think it’s a product of being a small community.”