After a decisive 69-46 boys’ basketball win over visiting Harrisburg on Jan. 14 and a hard 36-62 fall to host Santiam Christian on Jan. 16, the Creswell Bulldogs are 2-2 in league and 9-6 overall.
Snow forced cancelation of a third scheduled game, at La Pine, that will now be played this week.
Against Harrisburg, the Dawgs jumped out to a 17-8 first-quarter start and were up 34-15 at halftime and 45-30 after three.
“We got off to a pretty good start,” said Creswell Head Coach Jesse Thomas. “Austin Gabriel started us off with two great post-ups and we were up 4-0, and we took off from there.”
Tyler Frieze scored a game-high 32 points, including nine in the first quarter and nine in the third, along with eight rebounds and five assists. He hit three threes, “but they zoned us the whole game and Tyler was able to get to the rim through some holes, hit some mid-range jumpers — he was kind of hitting from everywhere,” Thomas said. “He played very, very well.”
Andrew Spence came off the bench for 11 points and four rebounds; Tayler Forsman contributed six points, four rebounds and six assists.
Other than a brief Harrisburg run early in the third quarter, when the Eagles hit a couple of threes, “It was kind of a beatdown right from the start,” Thomas said.
Unfortunately, the seventh-ranked Bulldogs exchanged beatdowns last week, suffering one themselves at the hands of top-ranked Santiam Christian.
Creswell never put together an effective offense, trailing 0-11 before scoring and 7-15 after the first quarter; the Dawgs scored just four points in the second quarter for an 11-27 halftime deficit and trailed 20-50 after three.
“Their starting lineup is 6’8,” 6’7,” 6’7,” 6’6” and 5’10,” and they rotate in a couple more 6’4” guys off the bench, so they’re legitimately massive; it was like playing a college team,” Thomas said. “They’re so big that we were overly hesitant about driving and making their shot blockers actually block. We took too many perimeter shots that didn’t go in and we couldn’t get many second-chance opportunities against them.”
Creswell’s defense “wasn’t terrible,” Thomas said, “except in the third quarter when SC made five threes — a few of those in transition; their guard, Ben Galceran made three in a row.”
Galceran finished with 13 points, while the Eagles’ Josh Baugher led all scorers with 19.
On offense, Creswell relied on outside shots and went 3-of-24 from beyond the arc.
“We shot the ball very, very, very poorly and we didn’t match the energy, the intensity (and) the tenacity you have to have as a significantly smaller team,” Thomas said.
Forsman led Creswell with 11 points and four rebounds. Gabriel added six points and eight rebounds, Frieze had five points and four rebounds and Dallton Dewey had five points.
Creswell was still without the injured Kai Apo, who should return this week. “He’ll help us with shooting and that length for rebounding,” Thomas said.
The positive take away from the SC game is that the Dawgs get two more cracks at the Eagles this season: “Now we know what we need to do and what we can’t do against them, so we should be able to come up with a good game plan,” Thomas said.