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Culver Lady Dawgs basketball team keeps on winning, beats Sheridan Spartans 56-35.

STEELE HAUGEN - Mikayla Haessler dribbles the ball during a fast break. 
The Lady Dawgs beat the Sheridan Spartans 56-35 on Jan. 3, to start the season 10-1. 
(Photo from Dec. 26.)The Culver Lady Dawgs improved their league record to 2-0, after traveling to Sheridan and defeating the Spartans 56-25 on Jan. 3.

The Lady Dawgs found themselves down by double digits early in the game.

"I don't know if it was rust from the 14 days we did not play, or if we just weren't prepared to play," head coach Scott Fritz said about the team's early struggle.

Culver scored 26 points in the second quarter to take a commanding lead.

"They kicked it in gear a little more," said Fritz. "We made some in game changes and it worked well. The team was able to get Irma (Retano) some good looks and when they adjusted again, we made some more changes."

"The girls did a good job of making in-game changes and we have struggled with that in the past, with on-the-fly changes. They did exactly what they needed to do to counter what Sheridan was doing."

"A lot of the game was us running and them not being able to catch up," said Fritz. "Our press did pretty good; I think we were able to get six five-second calls.

"Overall we were short-handed and struggled a bit, but they were able to get going again and did what we were supposed to do."

After the slow start, the Lady Dawgs wore down the Spartans. They outscored Sheridan 21-5 in the third quarter and came away with a 56-25 win.

Retano led the Lady Dawgs with 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals, shooting 66 percent from the field. Mia Gamboa was the next to lead Culver in scoring with 15 points and Ryanne Scholl contributed with seven rebounds and 3 points.

This was the Lady Dawgs first game of the new year and their first game since Dec. 20. Culver has been working on their transitions and playing against different zone defenses.

Teams have been trying to find ways to slow down and stop the high-speed offense the Lady Dawgs create in open space. When teams are able stop the Lady Dawgs in transition, several teams have tried multiple zones."We have had to deal with these junk defenses," he said about the different zone defenses teams try against Culver.

Fritz and the team have done a good job of being patient and moving the ball around, while attacking the open gaps. He knows how important it is to be able to score in a set offense as well as getting out and running other teams out of the gym.

"Fourteen days is hard to run practices because it is a long break and everyone wants to play," Fritz said. "We worked a lot on a free throws and have improved a lot. We are now shooting 60-70 percent, as opposed to the 30 percent we were previously shooting."

The Lady Dawgs (10-1) played the No. 1 ranked 2A Kennedy team (12-1) on Monday, Jan. 7, after the Madras Pioneer deadline.

"The teams that stay close or beat them, pack in a zone and try and hope they can't make any outside shooting," Fritz said about their matchup. "We are going to do both (fast pace and zone defense). "Our strength is our defense and getting out and running. I would hate to take that away. We will have to to see how that goes and maybe switch, depending on how it is working."

"We are going into the game with nothing to lose, and try to give them a tough game," he said. "Keep it close and try to pull it out at the end. They have been a very dominant team for four years and I am very excited to play them. I am looking forward to see where we are at and seeing what we need to work on to compete at their level. It is not just Kennedy; we have Santiam (8-2) here soon and Gervais the following week. The next two weeks are really big."

The Lady Dawgs have a home game against No. 5 ranked Santiam on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 4:30 p.m. They travel to Colton High School on Friday, Jan. 11, and are back at home to face 8-3 Gervais Monday, Jan. 14, at 4:30 p.m.

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