Sports Zone

CHS teams feeling effects of tight scheduling


Creswell’s Caleb Lee (right) sneaks in for a third-quarter layup against Junction City.

COTTAGE GROVE – The first week of the high school basketball season went pretty much as expected for the Creswell boys and girls.

It was a mixed bag for both teams.

Each opened with impressive victories over Elmira. The boys improved to 2-0 by beating Cottage Grove, but the girls fell to 1-1, rallying back from a 15-point halftime deficit, only to lose by one to the Lions. Then, on Friday, both teams lost badly to Junction City. 

“We kind of knew what needed to happen. After winning a couple games we got a little big for our britches. You could see it coming,” Creswell boys coach Jesse Thomas said.

“They needed the lesson and they got it. There’s not a better teaching tool than having a good team beat you like that.

“But I was happy with our second team — they didn’t quit and they didn’t whine and complain, they just played hard.” 

The boys’ previous game against Cottage Grove was memorable because of the shooting of Caleb Lee, who scored 30 points on 8-of-10 3-point shooting. One of those misses was not a clear look at the basket, as he basically flung the ball at the rim as the third quarter ended. 

“Last year we had Tyler Frieze, Kai Apo and Dallton Dewey knocking down a lot of 3s, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had anybody hit eight pf them,” Thomas said, when asked if anyone had ever had a better shooting night during his regime. “And to miss only one in-rhythm shot, that’s pretty much unheard of.” 

Girls coach Tyler Hollingsworth was a little more philosophical after his team’s malfunction at Junction City.

“We were a step off on everything all night, just very sluggish,” Hollingsworth said. “But we have 16 players in our program and four of those kids are swinging back and forth to JV. Plus, some are still finishing softball.

“There’s a reason why NBA guys don’t like to go back-to-back.”

Hollingsworth said the abbreviated month-long season makes it difficult to stick with his usual coaching approach.

“We’re young, and we try to learn things quickly,” he said. “Normally, we try to build on things, but we don’t have that luxury now because we don’t have time to see the normal growth.”

Against Cottage Grove, Emme Whitson scored a team-high 15 points.

In the boys game against Junction City, Lee was the lone Bulldog in double figures with 11. 

Thomas said Tuesday that one of his players had tested positive and that the team is canceling all school activities until June 8. This Friday’s girls game against LaPine had already been canceled due to Covid-related restrictions.



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