Bulldog girls upset Santiam Christian

Kendrick Murphy/CG Sentinel

After losing in overtime on Tuesday, Jan. 25 to Harrisburg the Creswell girls basketball team rallied for one of their best performances of the year and exploded offensively for 66 points to upset the sixth-ranked Santiam Christian Eagles 66-60 on Jan. 28. 

“I’m just happy for the girls,” said Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. “They haven’t always played a complete game but they’ve given themselves a chance in close games and for them to finally win a close game against a good team it’s awesome for them. I hope that just keeps him rolling and keeps them believing that’s how good they can be.”

Emme Whitson has been scorching hot the last three games totally a career-high 32 points against Santiam Christian while also grabbing 7 rebounds and averaging 27 points per game in the last three games for Creswell. Samairah Quinones also contributed a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Dakota Carson chipped in 7 points off the bench. 

“I think we finally came out ready to go from the tip off, which we haven’t done in a while,” said Senior Guard Emme Whitson. “And we got started from the get-go putting pressure on them and trying to cause havoc. I think that this game is proof to ourselves that we can beat good teams and we can win tight games as long as our defense is good. We weren’t perfect on offense but overall our defense limited them.”

Whitson scored the first two points to get Creswell on the board but Santiam Christian responded swiftly going on an 8-0 scoring run in the first four minutes of the game. Creswell struck back going on a run of their own in the final minute of the first quarter with buckets from Whitson, Carson and Karinna Leonard to give Creswell the lead 15-14 at the end of the first. 

The lead continued to change seemingly every possession between the two teams in the second quarter with neither team being able to separate. The Eagles would make a pair of free throws followed 20 seconds later by two free throws made by Quinones to give Creswell a slim lead of 30-29 going into halftime. 

“We just said we got 16 more minutes at this fast pace, but you guys got to keep attacking,” said Hollingsworth. “We can’t be passive, you have to win the game and it’s not going to be given to you. They (Santiam Christian) are going to keep coming after you, you have to keep being aggressive. Don’t, don’t be passive. Take your shots when you have them. And for the most part, the girls did a really good job of being aggressive and attacking because they weren’t going to stop.”

The Bulldogs stormed out of the gate to start the second half scoring 11 points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Whitson led the charge with seven as Creswell was starting to create some separation leading 50-44 at the end of the third. 

Santiam Christian started to rally cutting the deficit to two points with 3:26 remaining in the game and Creswell clinging to a 55-53 lead. After the Eagles knocked down another pair of free throws the Bulldogs lead was down to one with 1:24 left and Creswell needing a bucket. 

Carson was at the right place at the right time after the ball ricocheted off a teammate into her hands for an easy layup. 

With 45 seconds left, Quinones missed both of her free throws but got a chance at redemption 20 seconds later this time making both free throws to hold Creswell’s lead at 64-58. 

Santiam Christian would score two more points off an offensive rebound but Whitson would put the game on ice after making two more free throws capping off an incredible team performance to get the win 66-60. 

“I was just so happy that they were able to get a big win at home against the top ranked team,” said Hollingsworth. “I really care about them, I want them do the best and I believe in them so much and, I want them to enjoy those moments. It’s just awesome to be honest there is no other way to describe it and I was proud of them.”

Creswell will look to keep their positive momentum going. Their next two games will be on the road at Pleasant Hill on Feb. 4 then the following week at North Douglas on Feb. 9. 

Stat Leaders

Emme Whitson 

32 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals

Samairah Quinones 12 points, 12 rebounds

Karinna Leonard 

5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals

Dakota Carson 

7 points, 2 assists