Culver girls snag final playoff spot


Lewis pours in 22 points to lift Bulldogs past Central Linn

It seems the Culver High School girls basketball team is peaking at the right time.

Bulldogs head coach Scott Fritz said his team played some of it best basketball in the last week of the season, which ended with a 50-41 win against Central Linn on Friday to claim the sixth and final Tri-River Conference playoff spot.

Culver (6-10, 9-15) will travel to the No. 5 seed, East Linn Christian (8-8, 12-11) of Lebanon, on Wednesday for the first round of the conference playoffs.

“This last week our improvement has just been unbelievable,” Fritz said. “We didn’t struggle with anyone’s press, we limited our turnovers and we outrebounded every team but one. This whole week has been great.”

Hannah Lewis blew up for a season-high 22 points for Culver, allowing the Bulldogs to post the highest offensive output they have all season. Fritz said Lewis didn’t really do anything drastic to her game in order to score a bunch of points.

“She was just aggressive,” Fritz said. “She saw gaps in the defense well, hit them and her shots were falling.”

The offensive explosion for the Bulldogs came after nearly a full day of traveling back from Toledo, where the Bulldogs played Thursday night. The game was originally scheduled for Monday, but the winter storm that blanketed most of Oregon with ice and snow caused the game to be moved.

“The team‘s response to that was just great,” Fritz said. “We were at a definite disadvantage, and we were exhausted. The team showed a lot of heart and determination.”

The long bus ride back home to play a game the same day was one thing, but it was also Culver’s fourth game in a row.

Raeanne Slaght pitched in 11 points against Central Linn to help the Bulldogs claim the victory, and eliminate the Cobras from the postseason.

The Bulldogs picked up another win, albeit a sloppy one, against Toledo on Thursday, 29-19. A 12-3 second-quarter scoring surge lifted the Bulldogs to the win, and Lewis scored nine points to lead the way.

“The first half was a bit haphazard for us; we kind of looked like we were just going through the motions,” Fritz said. “But we picked up the defense.”

Culver certainly did up the defensive effort in the second half, allowing just eight points. Toledo didn’t score any points in the fourth quarter.

Culver met East Linn Christian on Feb. 12 and lost by three, 38-35, in Culver. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they didn’t score in the first quarter.

The Eagles raced out to a 14-0 lead after the first frame, but the Bulldogs kept clawing their way back into the game. Culver outscored East Linn 35-24 in the remaining three quarters, but didn’t quite have enough firepower to overcome the huge deficit. Lewis scored 11 points and Alysha Fritz had 10.

Against Santiam on Feb. 11, the game that kicked off Culver’s four-game series, the Bulldogs fell 53-33, but Coach Fritz said his team played well.

“My thought was to rest our starters in the second half, but we stayed with them so long I played them until the end of the third,” he said. “It was one of the best games we played all year.”

Alysha Fritz couldn’t miss in the second and third quarters of the ballgame. She poured in 15 of her team-high 19 points during the two frames, and hit her final seven shots.

“She couldn’t miss,” Coach Fritz said.