Bulldogs boys basketball team use 70-53 loss as a teacing moment in regaining, keeping control.

WILL DENNER/MADRAS PIONEER - Lalo Gutierrez (12) draws a foul on a made basket during the first half Wednesday against Taft.
The Culver basketball team has shown the ability to go on runs. But the inability thus far to keep them rolling, is likely the difference between a few wins and losses.

Wednesday's home game at Taft was another example of the Bulldogs matching their opponent and outhustling them in stretches, only to play noticeably flat at other times.

Taft pulled away late to win 70-53, though the Bulldogs came as close as four points in the final quarter.

"Coach said we had momentum, we just didn't keept it and grab it," senior David Gutierrez said. "It's just sort of our inexperience having a lead or holding a lead ... This year, we all believe. We're together, we think we can beat anybody and we're going to come out and play the best we can."

Taft had a clear size advantage — eight players on its roster are listed at 6 feet or taller, including 6-foot-9 Ray Darrington. Yet arguably the biggest thorn in the Bulldogs' side was 5-foot-6 guard Josh Salsbery, who kept them off guard in the halfcourt with an array of moves off the dribble.

"We've kind of built what we've been able to do this year on playing hard, but also playing great halfcourt defense. I just didn't think we were doing that," Culver head coach Johnny Wilson said.

Three Bulldogs reached double figures in Weston Basl (24), Matt Krueger (15) and Gutierrez (11). Basl and Krueger were locked in from 3-point range early, as the two helped Culver hold a 15-14 edge after one quarter. Gutierrez also looked for his shot in the post, and he made the most of his opportunities, going 4 of 5 from the field. But as the shots stopped falling in the second half, Culver needed to find other ways to be effective. Wilson used it as a teaching moment — making hustle plays can make a big difference in regaining momentum.

"Any one given play can be a momentum change," Wilson said. "I challenged each one of them to be the guy who made that play."

The following night, Culver lost a close one, 43-40, at North Lake. Basl led Culver with 15, while Gutierrez chipped in 11 points.

The Bulldogs will play in the Summit JV Tournament Dec. 28-30, beginning Thursday against Bend JV at 12:45 p.m.

Contact Will Denner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow him on Twitter @MadrasSports, @WillCDenner

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