The Bell tolls as Creek downs Claiborne Christian

With Cedar Creek trailing by as many as 17 points and struggling to find any offense in the second half, Cougars head coach Robert Mitcham turned to his bench trying to find an answer Tuesday night at the Brickhouse.

That answer came in the form of freshman Jack Bell.

Bell hit a trifecta of three pointers and scored 11 points over the final 10 minutes, igniting the Cougar crowd and his teammates as Creek rallied for a 60-57 win over Claiborne Christian.

“It was a last gasp attempt to get some offense from the outside,” said Mitcham. “We weren’t doing anything else.  We were missing too many free throws. We were missing too many easy shots inside not going up strong. It was just a whim; a hunch.

“He shoots it like that in practice. In games he has been a little hesitant. We wouldn’t have won it tonight without Jack. He turned it around in the fourth quarter. I am so proud of him. That’s a tough spot to be put in as a freshman.”

Bell hit his first three pointer in the third quarter to help Creek close a 17-point deficit down to 48-37 heading into the fourth and final quarter. In that eight minutes, Bell hit two more three-pointers and two-of-three free throws (fouled on another three-point attempt) while the Creek full-court defense turned it up a notch and held Claiborne Christian to just nine points in the final quarter.

Carter Hill led Creek with 17 points, including nine in the opening quarter that saw him end the frame by draining a half-court shot that pulled the Cougars to within 22-13. Creek trailed 33-23 at the half.

“We got nothing out of our offense,” said Mitcham about the first half. “We were impatient on the offensive end. And we didn’t guard well. They did the same thing to us last year for three quarters. Everything they threw up went in, and somehow we came back and won that one by double figures. I don’t know how. It felt like a bad nightmare again. I felt like I was reliving it. You have to give them credit. They don’t back down. They have two or three pretty good ball players that can shoot it.”

Claiborne Christian hit nine three-pointers in the first three quarters before being held without one over the final quarter, as Creek outscored the Crusaders 23-9.

Hayden McCluskey added 15 points while Connor Norris scored nine – all coming in the second half.

Creek travels to Saline Thursday and then will host Ouachita Christian Friday.

Photo: Darrell James (