The 12th-ranked Lady Dawgs are second in league standings after splitting two road games last week. Creswell downed Harrisburg 49-35 on Jan. 16 but missed their chance to share first place in falling 30-45 to eighth-ranked Coquille on Jan. 19.
Coquille (5-0) holds a one-game league advantage over Creswell (4-1).
At Harrisburg, Creswell led 12-8 after one and 22-16 at halftime, but costly turnovers opened up a 6-0 Eagles run in the last 1.5 minutes of the third, eroding the Lady Dawgs' lead to 33-30.
”Harrisburg plays an unorthodox style – they've got two good guards who are constantly trapping and running at you from different directions, and it seems random, so there was an ebb and flow of styles in the game,” said Creswell Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth.
”They do a good job of trying to make you play out of control, but in the fourth quarter we settled down and there was no craziness,” he added. ”We had no turnovers, and that was key to not giving them chances. We took advantage of their aggressiveness to make the extra pass and get the open shot.”
Karley Bellew and Bailey Howell – who each scored a game-high 20 points – were aggressive in posting up and attacking the rim, netting points and drawing fouls.
”We made 15 of 22 free throws,” Hollingsworth noted.
Bellew added eight rebounds, six steals and two blocks; Howell added four boards and three blocks; and Aubrie Hatch had seven points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.
At Coquille, Bellew had another monster game, tallying 24 of Creswell's 30 points. She also had four rebounds, while Hatch had six.
The score was 7-7 after one, but Creswell trailed 13-16 at halftime and 24-30 after three. In the final period, the Lady Dawgs were down by just four with seven minutes remaining, but the Red Devils went on a 12-0 run to stretch their advantage to 43-27. ”And we didn't score again until the last minute,” Hollingsworth noted.
Both teams played a half-court game, slowing the game pace and reducing shot attempts. ”They were in man the whole time, and they pressure the wing pretty hard, while we ran zone on them, which was effective,” Hollingsworth said. ”We were doing a good job on defense until the end of the third quarter – but while we were getting a lot of good looks we didn't shoot well and had too many uncharacteristic turnovers.”
Those 18 turnovers led to 17 points, including five lay-ins, for Coquille.
”The whole second half, we just didn't seem our normal selves in our energy level, and that affected our execution,” Hollingsworth said.