Now 0-4 in league and 6-9 overall, the Creswell Lady Bulldogs suffered a pair of basketball losses last week, falling 16-37 to visiting Harrisburg on Jan. 14 before dropping a 33-36 down-to-the-buzzer nail-biter to host Santiam Christian on Jan. 16.
Another scheduled game, at La Pine, was canceled because of snow and will be played this week.
Against Harrisburg, the Lady Dawgs played decent defense but lacked consistent offense and coughed up the ball too many times - issues that have plagued the team this season.
With 33 turnovers, the Lady Dawgs ”had more turnovers than shot attempts,” noted Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. ”That doesn't help when you're trying to score.”
Creswell was scoreless in the first quarter for a 0-9 deficit, trailed 5-20 at halftime and 13-24 after the third quarter.
Bailey Howell had six points, six rebounds and three blocks for Creswell.
”We played a more solid third quarter but didn't sustain it,” Hollingsworth said. ”Overall, this was the worst we've looked. It was a real rough game.”
Offensive production came more readily to the Lady Dawgs at Santiam Christian. ”It was a whole different game, being able to shoot the ball and having 18 turnovers instead of 33,” Hollingsworth said.
Down 8-14 after one and 14-20 at halftime, Creswell opened the third quarter with back-to-back threes by Aubrie Hatch and Emme Whitson to tie the score.
The Eagles closed the third quarter up 29-20, but the Lady Dawgs battled back in the final period, closing to within two points with less than a minute remaining after another three by Hatch. ”She hit some big shots for us,” Hollingsworth said.
From there, Creswell missed two open threes, then fouled, with SC hitting one of two; the ball went out of bounds off SC; Creswell missed another three; Howell got the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Kylee (Whitson), who attempted a long shot at the buzzer.
”It was really close to counting, by the clock - but I knew we'd shot a two; it was about a foot inside the line, so I didn't fight for it,” Hollingsworth said. ”We played hard and had multiple chances down the stretch. We made a good effort and got good looks; they just didn't go in.”
Howell paced Creswell with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Hatch added nine points, four rebounds, three assists and five steals; Freya DeMasters had five points and four rebounds and Emme Whitson had four points and four rebounds.
Looking ahead, Hollingsworth said the relatively inexperienced Lady Dawgs have the opportunity and ability to start winning games.
”Only two players got significant varsity experience last year, so there's a big learning curve for a lot of girls,” Hollingsworth noted. ”We've been practicing harder and better, and pressing better of late - which didn't show against Harrisburg, but Santiam Christian was probably the most complete game I've seen us play.”
And with league teams slated to play each other three times, ”if we can sustain those improvements and get on a run,” he added, ”who knows what can happen the rest of the season.”