CRESWELL – Saturday’s championship game of the inaugural Bulldog Invitational presented the Creswell girls with a stage unlike anything they’d seen before.
“For almost all of our girls, that was the biggest game they had ever played in,” Bulldogs coach Tyler Hollingsworth said of his team’s 58-41 loss to Sutherlin. “They were playing for a tournament title and it was against one of the best teams in the state.
“But it was a good measuring stick for us. We showed that we could play with them, but we have to do it for 32 minutes.”
Creswell actually took a 26-24 lead late in the second quarter before trailing 28-26 at halftime. Sutherlin (6-0), which has been a top-3 team this season, stretched its advantage to 43-35 after three quarters.
“They’re not only big, their guards are very fast,” Hollingsworth said, noting that Sutherlin had two 6-foot-1 players. “We’re not in the shape we need to be in to play against a team like this.
“But it was a fun game to be a part of. We wanted to play Sutherlin. We wanted to get tested and see what we need to do to get better.”
Creswell (3-3) had opened the Bulldog Invitational with a 55-27 victory over Monroe, starting the game on a 12-0 run and leading 17-3 after the first quarter.
“I thought we came out phenomenal Friday. I think it was the best start we’ve had all season.
“That team had decent players but we really limited what they wanted to do. Our overall team defense played well. Emme (Whitson) and Karinna (Leonard) did a great job of ball defense.”
Whitson finished with stat lines to remember in the tournament: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals in the first game, then 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals in the title game.
Talk about a player who nickels-and-dimes you to death.
“Emme had a really good tournament. She also guarded the best player in both games and did a good job on both ends,” Hollingsworth said, adding that Whitson made the all-tournament team.
Whitson’s sister Kendyl also played well against Sutherlin, contributing 9 rebounds, 5 points and 4 assists. Lauren Bailey added 6 points and 11 rebounds.
Samairah Quinones, with 16 points and 13 rebounds, led the team in both of those categories against Monroe. Bailey had 7 points and 7 rebounds while Gabby Halgren connected on 4 of 5 shots and scored 8 points to go along with 4 rebounds.