Lincoln City — There’s nothing like a Saturday afternoon treat over on the Oregon Coast! The Creswell Bulldogs made the trip up US-101 to Lincoln City to face the eighth-ranked Taft Tigers, an early season surprise out of the Coastal Range League this season. The Bulldogs entered looking to snap a two-game losing streak and get their first win of 2022. In this affair, it was one where neither team could breakaway to seal the deal, and it ultimately ended up in overtime where one team finally decided to take the dub.
The opening quarter was a slow one, with Samairah Quinones opening the scoring for Creswell to give them a 2-0 lead to start. After about four minutes of action, Taft finally got going with a bucket and some free throws by Brooklyn Mangold and Sienna Lillebo, making it a 6-2 Tigers lead. Quinones would put more points on the board for Creswell, finishing with five points in the first quarter, while Taft would get some treys by Mangold and Lily Hatton to have a 10-7 lead after the first quarter. The second quarter was sloppy on both ends, with neither team finding any momentum on offense in the first few minutes, struggling from both the field and at the free throw line. The Tigers would lead 20-16 at the half in Lincoln City, with Brooklyn Mangold leading the way with eight points at the half for Taft, and Samairah Quinones led Creswell with five points.
The cold play would continue into the second half, with offense simply sputtering on both ends of the floor. Taft would find a way to extend their lead to 29-23 after three quarters of action, with a fourth quarter that no one would’ve believed to go down on standby. Creswell would find themselves trailing by as many as eight in the fourth quarter, but then the ball started to fall in a big way. Kendyl Whitson and Emma Maness hit treys, Dakota Carson made a bucket with a free throw, and Kailtyn Machado hit a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game late in the fourth. Whitson would nail two three throws with 1:15 left to tie the game at 35-35 with Taft. On their next possession, Carson would grab a steal and kick it out to Maness for the go-ahead trey with 45 seconds remaining 38-35. Facing their first deficit of the game, Taft went to their reliable shooter Brooklyn Mangold and she came through big, hitting the game tying trey with 27 seconds left to make it 38-38 and send it to overtime.
In overtime, Maness would get Creswell back in the lead with another trey, putting the Bulldogs ahead 41-38. Chloe Peterson responded with a steal to the house, cutting it to 41-40 Creswell leading in OT. Creswell followed up with making one of two free throws, and Aliviah Mode pulled up with a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 42 apiece. Whitson made two free throws that made it 44-42 Creswell, but Mangold responded with a bucket that tied the game again late in overtime. With 40 seconds remaining in overtime, Peterson came through with a beautiful trey off the pass from Mode, drilling it and giving Taft the 47-44 lead. Sienna Lillebo’s layup with ten seconds left in the game sealed the deal, putting Taft ahead for good as they went on to win 49-46 over Creswell, surviving the upset bid at home. Brooklyn Mangold carried the load for Taft, finishing with 18 points in the victory while Creswell was led by Emma Maness 16 points in the loss.
Taft: This game has much to be happy about, but also much to be concerned about. Their resilience in the face of blowing the lead and trailing late is a huge positive but fixing how the collapse happened is also just as important. Their execution was poor in the paint and at the free throw line, ultimately opening the door to Creswell’s comeback. Defensively, they made life rough for Creswell, but they have to work on turning that great work into points on the scoreboard. Brooklyn Mangold and Chloe Peterson showed in both the stat book and on the floor, keeping the ship afloat in times that it could’ve sank for the Tigers.
Creswell: Oh so close Bulldogs. They got a taste of the lead a couple times, but ultimately couldn’t hang on for the upset. Emma Maness is a huge bright spot on this team, and the motor of Samairah Quinones also stood out on the floor if it didn’t show in the stat book. There’s lots to build on with consistency and execution, but this loss was a step forward for a struggling Bulldogs program. With some winnable games coming up, Creswell can grab some momentum entering league play with Pleasant Hill on January 19th.