CRESTVIEW — There's good reason for the Crestview High School girls basketball team to be confident as they prepare for the District 1-7A tournament that starts in two weeks.
The Bulldogs are playing great defense and they are winning.
Crestview Coach Kathy Combest admits the Bulldogs still have some work to do on the offensive end of the floor, but she couldn't be much happier with the Bulldog defense.
"We still are doing some things that I have to tweak like thinking a little better with the ball on offense, but we are getting tougher with our defense every game and I have to give them that," she said. "Before we couldn't make stops and now we're making stops."
The undersized Bulldogs used their quickness and athleticism to keep Niceville at bay Monday in taking a 52-46 win and extending their winning streak to eight games.
"This is another win that builds our confidence heading into the district tournament," Combest said. And this is the time of year you want to have that confidence."
The Bulldog defense set the tone of the game from the opening tip.
Arianna Simms scored the first Bulldog basket off a steal with 21 seconds gone in the game.
Back-to-back baskets by Jessie Day put the Eagles in front 4-2 with 6:39 left in the first quarter. The lead would be the only one of the game for Niceville as Crestview went on an 8-0 run.
Simms got things started for the Bulldogs with a mid-range jumper with 4:18 left in the first quarter. Jasmine Middleton followed with a basket off an offensive rebound.
KK McTear finished the run with a pair of baskets that came off Niceville turnovers.
The Eagles played catch up the reset of the night.
Madison McNabb did her best to keep the Eagles close late in the first quarter. McNabb scored a pair baskets and Micheala Mitchell hit a free throw as the Eagles narrowed the lead to 10-9. But the Bulldogs (14-6, 5-2)closed out the quarter with a 6-0 run to lead 16-9.
The Eagles chipped away at the Bulldog lead throughout the second quarter. A pair of Aubrey West free throws with 1:53 left in the half pulled Niceville (12-8, 5-2) even with Crestview with the score 22-22.
Two quick baskets by McTear put the Bulldogs back in front for good.
Crestview led 27-24 at the half and was able to maintain the lead the rest of the way.
A 3-point basket by Mitchell with 4:58 left in the game closed the Bulldog lead to 41-40.
Jensis Coleman pushed the Bulldog lead back to four points when she converted on a 3-point play with 4:12 left in the game.
Coleman, who led all scorers with 17 points, score nine points in the fourth quarter seven of which came from the free throw line, to help Bulldogs hold on for the win.
Coleman as followed in scoring by McTear with 12 points. Middleton scored eight and Simms six.
Day led Niceville with 14 points. Jaci Hodskins joined her in double figures with 12 and Mitchell scored 8.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.