By Malcolm Butler
Brian Osborne scored 17 points and Carter Hill added 16 more to lead Cedar Creek to a 49-33 win over Saline Friday night at the Brickhouse.
Creek (6-8) avenged an earlier season 48-47 loss to Saline at the Neil Killgore Memorial Tournament in early December.
For a while Friday night, it appeared as if the first team to reach 10 points would win as both squads struggled to score.
The Cougars trailed 5-3 after the first quarter as a Hill three-pointer were the only points of the opening eight minutes of action for Cedar Creek. The second quarter didn’t get much better although the Cougars were able to outscore Saline 8-1 to take an 11-6 lead into the halftime locker room.
“It just happens sometimes in basketball,” said head coach Lance Waldron. “They were struggling too. I thought both teams had some good looks and they were just rim out. Sometimes it just takes you a while to get going. We want to finish strong which is what we did tonight.I think it just takes you a while to get into a groove.
“The first time we played (Saline) we turned it over a lot and that’s what cost us that game. Tonight we didn’t make as many errors. I felt like we controlled the tempo of the game because we were taking care of the ball.”
Creek came out for the start of the third quarter with a full-court press. And it worked.
The Cougars forced turnover after turnover which led to some easier transition buckets as Hill and Osborne combined for 13 of the 19 points in the stanza. Parks McConnell also added a couple of big buckets in the frame to help Creek take a 30-19 lead into the final quarter of action.
“We created some turnovers and got some momentum going,” said Creek head coach Lance Waldron. “Things started to happen for us. We had some guys step up that we needed to step up. I feel like we won the rebounding battle. We created a lot of steals.”
Osborne scored seven points while Davis Walsworth and Hill each scored four points in the fourth quarter to lift the Cougars to the 16-point victory.
“Brian did outstanding,” said Waldron. “We have been needing that. Davis and Carter have been producing for us, but we need some guys to step up. Brian is one of those guys. He made some tough shots and got some tough rebounds for us tonight. We were more physical inside. We have been lacking that at times.
“Parks McConnell hit some big shots. Some of those short little jumpers. Those were huge. You miss a couple of those and you don’t know what could happen.”
Creek will face Lincoln Prep (11-4) tonight at the Ruston Sports Complex in the District 2-1A opener. Tipoff for the varsity girls is at 6 p.m. and the varsity boys will follow.
Lincoln Prep had its eight-game winning streak snapped by Gibsland Coleman Saturday.
“They are a really good team,” said Waldron. “They are well coached. Antonio Hudson does a really good job with them. They are man, full-court pressure. We have been working on that all year but its hard for us to replicate that in practice. We look forward to the challenge.”