By Gini Davis
Six seniors were honored during a Senior Night ceremony prior to the Creswell Lady Bulldogs’ final regular season home game, against the visiting Pleasant Hill Billies on Feb. 3.
The families of seniors Alyssa DuFault, Carly Ayer, Lauren Heater, Courtney Ficek and Dallis Cook and the host family of Belgian exchange student Emily Van Mulders joined their girls on the court, presenting them with balloons, flowers and other gifts as letters of appreciation and favorite sports memories from each senior were read aloud.
Head Coach Kassi Conditt also presented each girl with an action photo of themselves, framed along with a card detailing some of their best qualities as a player and teammate.
DuFault, Ayer, Heater, Ficek and Cook all got the start against Pleasant Hill, and with five seniors on the court the Lady Dawgs jumped out to a 7-2 lead – but the Billies surged back with a 7-0 run to end the first quarter tied 9-9. Creswell owned the second quarter, however, outscoring P-Hill 15-4. The sixth senior, Van Mulders, subbed in during the period.
“The five seniors I started did a pretty good job there at the beginning; they played well together,” Conditt said. “It was one of those nights where it didn’t matter who I put in, they kept that same momentum – the same median of effort and success for everybody.”
The teams played the third quarter almost even, with Creswell scoring nine and Pleasant Hill scoring 10.
With Billies guard Karlei Blatch ratcheting up defensively, the Billies made charge in the final period, edging the Bulldogs 14-11, but Creswell held on for the win.
“We took some timeouts and talked about how if there were three people on our posts, somebody had to be open somewhere,” Conditt said. “We did keep trying to force it in sometimes, but we did a better job of finding the open player after that.”
DuFault and Bailey Howell paced Creswell with 10 points apiece – Howell on five-for-five field goal shooting. DuFault padded her stats with eight rebounds and six blocks.
Karley Bellew added nine points, eight rebounds and five steals; Heater had eight points on four-for-four shooting, and one block; Ayer provided five assists.
The Billies’ Hannah Way scored a game-high 12 points; Chesney Wickwire added 11 and Victoria Lewis had 10.
The eighth-ranked Lady Dawgs, who are second in league standings, also defeated the host Glide Wildcats 37-29 on Jan. 31 and rolled over Cascade Christian 52-22 in a nonleague road game on Feb. 4.
At Glide, Creswell eked out a 6-4 first-quarter lead, but outscored the Wildcats 10-4 to take a 16-8 lead at halftime. “We came out pretty well,” Conditt said. “They’re a big and tall team, very long and tall, so we talked about making the bounce pass to get underneath them. We have just a quick window to hit that pass, and for the most part we did a good job of that.”
Creswell held a 10-5 advantage in the third period to go lead 26-13 at the end of the quarter, but scored just one field goal in the final period. “Nine of our 11 points were from free throws as they came out and fouled us,” Conditt said.
DuFault scored a game-high 15 points and had six blocks. Bellew contributed 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“Alyssa was open for a lot of passes because they triple-teamed Karley inside the last time we played them, so we moved her to guard; that took her outside and they had to come out and guard her,” Conditt said.
Whitney Stone scored 12 for the Wildcats.
At Cascade Christian, Creswell led 15-3 at the end of the first quarter, 30-9 at halftime and 44-22 after three quarters. With Cascade scoreless in the final period, Conditt was able to clear her bench, and almost everybody scored, with swing player Lexi McCrory hitting a three-point buzzer beater to end the game.
DuFault recorded a double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Bellew added nine points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals; Cook had nine points; and Ayer had eight.
“They left us open a lot on the outside, so when we talked at halftime I told the girls if they left us open on the outside, take it. What’s the worst that can happen? You miss and we get an offensive rebound for another chance, or we get back on defense and go again,” Conditt said.
“In the second half, our guards came alive; we were hitting the open player and hitting the open shot,” she added.
This week, the Lady Dawgs wrap league play on the road against second-ranked Coquille and Harrisburg.