By Gini Davis
The Creswell Chroncle
The Creswell Bulldogs opened preseason with three wins, downing visiting Siuslaw 52-42 on Nov. 29, host Scio 63-46 on Nov. 30 and host Oakridge 69-29 on Dec. 1.
“Playing three games in three days was rough, and the first two were so physical and draining, but it was a really good test for us,” said Creswell Head Coach Jesse Thomas.
Creswell led just 14-12 after the first quarter against Siuslaw, but stretched that to 30-23 at halftime.
Turnovers and missed shots allowed the Vikings to close the gap in the third quarter. “We went on a little run, then they switched to a triangle-and-two defense,” Thomas said. “They’re so big and strong in the middle that if you’re not making outside shots you’re in trouble; we missed four possessions in a row, so we pulled the ball out and made them guard us, and it worked because they couldn’t guard us man-to-man.”
In the final period, “we were able to hold on and pull away,” Thomas said.
Tayler Forsman paced Creswell with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He was 12-for-17 on free throws.
Chance Bellew added 11 points and three steals; Jack Callahan had 10 points.
At Scio, the tough, physical Loggers had Creswell in the double-bonus with a minute remaining in the first quarter, which ended with the Dawgs– who started the game down 0-8 – trailing 12-16. Creswell trailed 23-27 at halftime.
“They were bigger and stronger, and they shot the lights out – they shot almost 70 percent on field goals and made seven threes in the game,” Thomas said.
Things turned around when Chance Bellew – benched with foul trouble – came in midway through the third quarter. Bellew scored nine points, including two threes, and grabbed a couple of steals.
“Chance just went nuts; it changed the momentum for the whole game,” Thomas said. “From then on, it was all us.”
Creswell led 46-43 after the third and outscored Scio 17-3 in the final period.
Callahan led with 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, four steals and no turnovers. “He played really, really well,” Thomas said.
Forsman had 16 points – including 7-of-9 free throws – and six rebounds. During the fourth quarter, he was fouled and the Logger who fouled out on the play received a technical foul. Forsman sank both foul shots and both technical foul shots. “And then we scored on the possession, so that was six points right there,” Thomas said.
Bellew finished with 13 points and five steals. Coming off an illness, Trey Magnuson, added four points, five boards, three assists and three steals in less than 15 minutes of play.
Creswell had 15 live ball steals during the game. “That was huge; we were able to get out in transition,” Thomas noted.
Creswell subs saw action at Oakridge, where the Dawgs led 21-8 after the first quarter, 39-14 at halftime and 51-19 after the third. “With about five minutes left in the third quarter we pulled out all our regular players,” Thomas said. “It was nice to be able to rest them, and (our subs) played really well.”
Austin Gabriel led with 13 points (11 in the second half) and six rebounds. Forsman added 10 points, two boards, three assists and one steal; Bellew added seven points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Andrew Spence had seven points.