Slow start part of team’s growth; Creswell’s Whitson leading scoring effort so far

Maleata Polamalu of Douglas drives to the basket against Creswell’s Emma Maness (15) and Kendyl Whitson (3) during Thursday’s season opener. RON HARTMAN/CHRONICLE PHOTO

CRESWELL – Despite their 0-2 record, the Creswell girls have put together two good halves of basketball. Coach Tyler Hollingsworth said he’s looking forward to the day when the Bulldogs can put those halves together.

“In the first half we settled for too many jump shots – but they were good jump shots, shots we wanted,” Hollingsworth said after Saturday night’s 50-29 loss to North Bend.

“We were open, we just couldn’t throw it in the ocean, and we put ourselves in a big hole,” he said. “The second half you wouldn’t have known we were down 20 by the way we were attacking the paint, and we started flying around playing defense the way we’re supposed to play.” 

The script was flipped in the Dec. 2 season opener, which Douglas rallied to win 46-39. The Bulldogs led for most of the game, only to go ice-cold early in the fourth quarter. 

“It was a combination of getting a little tight and a little fatigue, and that’s a recipe for not doing well,” Hollingsworth said. “We need to learn how to close out games and play with a lead.

“We’re not creating enough. We’re trying to get to the line, but we need to be more feisty on defense, which will lead to more aggressive offense.”

Against Douglas, Emme Whitson led a balanced attack with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists. Emma Maness added 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals; Lauren Bailey had 11 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists; Karinna Leonard contributed 4 points, 4 assists and 2 steals, and Samairah Quinones pitched in with 7 points and 4 rebounds. 

Whitson also had 16 points in the North Bend game, while Bailey was again the leading rebounder with 10. She also had 3 blocks. 

“This is the time of the season, between weeks 1 and 2 and weeks 2 and 3, when teams can really get better,” Hollingsworth said. “Hopefully, we learn from these first games. The important games are our league games, and I think we’ll be ready for league play. We just need to keep getting better every day.”



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