Lady Warriors defense stifles Bulldogs

Kendrick Murphy/CG Sentinel

Since the end of January, the Creswell girls basketball team had found a groove, going 3-0 in league play and knocking off a top-ranked Santiam Christian squad at home. On the other side of the court the Lady Warriors basketball team had been dismantling their opponents and at one point winning 16 games in a row.

But in this rare non-conference matchup between these two schools, North Douglas showed why they are a legitimate contender for a state title this season beating Creswell 59-39. 

“I was a little nervous going into the Creswell game just for the fact that most of their (Creswell) games have been super close,” said North Douglas Head Coach Jody Cyr. “But I think our pressure bothers a lot of people pretty bad and if you can’t contend with our pressure you’re going to struggle.”

Samairah Quinones led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points and also grabbing 10 rebounds as her teammate Emme Whitson finished with 13 points.

Samantha MacDowell was the scoring leader for North Douglas with 13 points followed by Brooke McHaffie and Brooklyn Williams each with 11. The Warriors also tallied 25 steals on the night and held Creswell 10 points below their season average. 

“They got us off us off our mark,” said Creswell Head Coach Tyler Hollingsworth. “They (North Douglas) are really disciplined and every time we turned the ball over it felt like they were making a layup off of it, which is a big difference.”

Whitson put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard first with a made jump shot as Creswell led in the first minute of the game. But it did not take long for the Warriors signature full-court pressure to take effect with North Douglas responding with a 6-0 run to take a 10-4 lead midway through the first quarter. The tempo was like a track meet with both teams continually racing up and down the court and both teams trading baskets.

Whitson made another jumper and a pair of free throws in the last two minutes of the opening quarter to keep Creswell within five as North Douglas was still in front 17-12. 

The Warriors offensive attack kicked into another gear outscoring 11-1 with close to four minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Cydni Dill scored two buckets within a span of 30 seconds, as the fast pace was starting to really go the Warriors way. North Douglas held a firm lead at halftime 33-19 and outscored Creswell 16-7 in the second quarter.

“We knew it was gonna be super physical game, we knew they (Creswell) had a bunch of basketball players,” said Cyr. We knew we had the athletes to match and it really was just going to come down to who can execute and I think we did a pretty good job.”

Creswell came out of the locker room with seemingly newfound life, striking first with a 7-0 run to cut the lead back down to single digits 33-26. As the quarter wore on, the home Warriors were able to slowly get their lead back up to double digits with Dill and MacDowell both scoring in the final minute of the third period to increase the lead 46-33.

Nothing was going right for Creswell as their offense hit another dry spell to start the final quarter. The Bulldogs only mustered six points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors were able to put the finishing touches on a successful evening and came away with a signature win 59-39.

“I think it was a good test,” said Hollingsworth. “I always tell the girls I’d rather be the team beat in a tough physical game than beat someone by 30 because you’re not going to get any better that way.”

Creswell will have one more trip to La Pine to finish out their regular season on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. While the Warriors will gear up for their conference tournament over in Coos Bay starting on Feb. 18.

Stat Leaders for Creswell 

Samairah Quinones 15 points, 10 rebounds

Emme Whitson 13 points, 3 assists, 4 steals

Stat Leaders for North Douglas 

Samantha MacDowell 13 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals 

Brooklyn Williams 11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals

Brooke McHaffie 11 points

Creswell vs Harrisburg

Four Bulldogs had their last home game of the regular season on Feb. 11 against Harrisburg. Emme Whitson, Karinna Leonard, Emma Maness and Gabby Halgren all enjoyed the senior night festivities. This group of seniors won one conference game each year as freshman and sophomores and now are sitting atop the league with Santiam Christian at 5-1. The girls were able to refocus and regroup to take down Harrisburg 50-44. 

“I think against Harrisburg the first time we didn’t play good enough defense in the first half,” said Hollingsworth. “Going into this game we talked about what we need to do from the get-go and we came out and jumped on them pretty early. I thought our team defense was phenomenal, the way they were switching and on the same page covering was pretty fun to watch.” Emme Whitson led the Bulldogs with 17 points, Emma Maness had 10, Samairah Quinones had 9 and Dakota Carson added 8.

North Douglas vs Elkton 

The Warriors said goodbye to their two senior Cydni Dill and Samantha MacDowell in their last regular-season home game against Elkton on Feb. 12. North Douglas came away with the win a 62-7 over Elkton to finish the conference with an undefeated record 13-0.

“League is just a step in the process right now,” said Cyr. “The good news is we have a few days to practice.”