Culver Lady Dawgs start 3-0
The Culver Bulldogs girls basketball program has started the year undefeated, winning their first three games of the season.
The team traveled to Sherman County for a tournament Nov. 30, and Dec. 1. They played Stanfield to start the tournament and outran the Tigers for a 49-24 victory.
Culver was able to take an early 14-4 lead at the end of the first and a 22-8 lead by halftime.
The Bulldogs outworked Stanfield for a win in the first game in the tournament.
"They just didn't have the athletes to keep up with us," head CHS girls basketball coach Scott Fritz said. "We made a lot of mistakes, but pulled away as we should have."
Irma Retano led the team in points with 20 on 9-for-15 shooting, 11 rebounds and seven steals. Mia Gamboa and Nena Mendoza contributed with seven points. Kianna Webb led the team in assists with four.
The Bulldogs faced Grant Union in the championship game and would fight to a big win.
Grant Union took a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 26-20 lead at the half.
In the last minute of the game, Mikayla Haessler was able to make a mid-range jump shot and Kianna Webb hit some crucial free throws to tie the game. Retano made a crucial steal that led to a Webb lay-in to take the lead. With six seconds left in the game, Mia Gamboa stole the inbounds pass and dribbled out the clock for a 41-39 victory.
"The Grant Union game was huge," Fritz said. "I think they were considered one of the best 2A teams in the state. They were a lot bigger than us and very athletic. After the first three minutes, I thought the game was over. They could do everything and we couldn't do anything. We just kept fighting back, got close and we just wanted it more. We showed a lot of heart and desire."
Retano led the team with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six steals. Haessler had seven points and five rebounds and Mendoza ended with six points and six rebounds.
La Pine win
The girls traveled to La Pine on Nov. 28, and beat the Hawks (3A) 35-29 in their season opener.
Culver took a 17-14 lead at halftime and came out the second half to score 15 points in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs outran the Hawks to a 35-29 win.
"A lot of these wins are coming from our scrappiness," said Fritz. "La Pine came out in a triangle-and-two zone. We had not practiced against that at first and our outside shooting was struggling. We made some adjustments at the end of the first quarter to attack the zone and we did a good job. We dealt with their height and started running."
Retano led the team in points with 12 points, 12 steals and nine rebounds. Right behind her was Gamboa with 10 points and four steals.
"They are adapting," he said. "Each game has been totally different and they have adapted to each game on how they needed to play to be successful."