After splitting two road games, the Creswell Bulldogs – who trounced Harrisburg, 57-35, on Jan. 16 but had fourth-ranked Coquille return the favor, 49-63, on Jan. 19 – are in a three-way tie, with Glide and Pleasant Hill, at 3-2 for second in league standings, behind Coquille (5-0).
At Harrisburg, the Dawgs jumped out to a 23-7 first-quarter advantage, but the Eagles closed to 34-24 halftime. ”We had a big defensive lapse in the second quarter,” said Creswell Head Coach Jesse Thomas. ”We got a little too complacent, stopped making good decisions with the basketball and weren't defending well, and Harrisburg scored 17 points; it was the only quarter they were in double digits.”
Buckling down in the third, Creswell improved to 47-31, ending with three straight buckets by Jack Callahan, who scored eight of his 10 points in the second half. ”Jack really carried us in the third quarter,” Thomas said.
Tayler Forsman recorded a game-high 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, and was 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. Trey Magnuson added 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists, with 7-of-8 free throw shooting. ”Those two got to the line all night long,” Thomas said.
Callahan also grabbed five boards.
At Coquille, Creswell led 18-16 after one and trailed just 27-28 at halftime. Callahan was again dominant in the early going, scoring nine of his team-high 15 points in the first quarter.
”The problem was, we were just trading baskets,” Thomas said, noting that Magnuson also picked up three first-quarter fouls and had to sit, hampering the Bulldog offense.
The Dawgs lost ground in the third, finishing at 42-47, but were still in it before going ”absolutely ice cold from the field in the fourth quarter,” Thomas said. ”We didn't score from the field the last six minutes of the game.”
Defensive breakdowns hurt the Bulldogs, who gave up 16 offensive boards for 14 second-chance points. ”That's what killed us,” Thomas said. ”We did not defend well at all the entire game – we were out of position, didn't hold our block-outs for rebounds and did not lock down and get stops.”
Lack of patience and not taking advantage of their inside dominance also cost Creswell. ”We did not do a good enough job getting Jack the basketball in the paint in the second half, and in the fourth quarter we were not patient enough to pass up the first open three we had. They weren't falling, and we didn't adjust.
”It's a learning process,” Thomas added. ”Guys were being aggressive, trying to get us buckets, but when it's not working, you have to be able to recognize it and do something else, be patient and work your offense.”
Despite the missteps, the game was closer than the final score indicated. ”They made free throws down the stretch that widened their lead,” Thomas noted.
Callahan added four boards and three assists to his 15 points. Chance Bellew had 13 points. Seth Waddington scored a game-high 19 for Coquille.