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Culver Lady Dawgs basketball team beats Central Christian, loses to La Pine, Stanfield to start season.

STEELE HAUGEN - Emma Hayes sprints after the ball while fighting off a La Pine player. Culver hosts the Kennedy Trojans Dec. 18. 
The Culver Lady Dawgs and new head coach T.J. Foltz started this year's season 1-2.

Culver lost their season opener at home against La Pine 42-28 after a slow start Dec. 4. They traveled to Sherman County High School for a tournament Dec. 6-7, beating Central Christian 39-29, but losing to Stanfield 52-36.

In the La Pine game, Culver was not able to score any points in the first quarter. The Lady Dawgs were down 15-0 at the end of the first period.

Culver ended up outscoring the 3A Hawks in the rest of the game 28-27, but the first-quarter deficit was too much to come back from and the Lady Dawgs lost 42-28.

Webb led the team with 12 points and Emma Hayes added eight. Culver forced 28 turnovers

First victory

At the Sherman County tournament, the Lady Dawgs were matched up with 1A Central Christian.

With the combination of confidence and pressure on defense, the Lady Dawgs were able to come up with 12 steals, while forcing 19 turnovers.

"I thought after that first game, we weren't as confident in ourselves with that loss to La Pine," Foltz said. Central Christian was a smaller school than us and I think that gave us an advantage. Even then, we still came out a little rough because we are still learning the system and learning how to play with one another. Kiana Webb is going to be one of our leaders. She has led us in scoring all three games. She hit three 3-pointers against Central Christian."

"If we didn't score on a lay-in, we were able to set up our offense and score on a jump shot," he said. "That team was a little depleted, for some reason they only had six girls, so we just wore them out with our press the whole game."

Webb led Culver with 11 points. Tegan Macy added eight and Sierra Bautista had 10 steals.

Tough Stanfield

After their victory, Culver was matched up with Stanfield, who is currently 3-0.

Culver came out strong in the first half, taking an early lead, and a half-court shot before the end of the second quarter by Webb gave Culver a 20-19 lead at halftime.

"They were a little worried about Stanfield at first before we had our pregame conversation," Foltz said. "One of my mottos for that day was to fear no one, regardless of who we are playing and when we are playing them. I think that mentality stuck with them and was able to get them amped up to go and play."

In the second half, Culver had a few defensive lapses and were outscored 20-8 in the third quarter.

"I thought we were in good shape," said Foltz. "We were amped from the half-court shot and I don't know if that was the reason we came out so flat in the third quarter. I tried to get us in and out of the locker room to get us back in the flow of the game, but we just came out flat."

"Some positives from that first half was our press," said Foltz. "It has shown flashes of brilliance this early in the season, only three games in. I told them after the game, they were able to see a glimpse of what I see. If we put a whole game together like that first half, it is going to be hard to beat us. We were playing tough. That second half, we let them go on a run and weren't able to go on our own run. I think that third quarter was the difference in the game. We outscored them in every quarter, but that third one. One little slip-up."

The third quarter was tough for Culver and the Lady Dawgs lost to Stanfield 52-26.

"The score was a lot closer than it sounds in 52-36," said Foltz. "We played them better than that and their team and coach were worried. It was a good test for us and a good chance to see where we are three games into a new season, a new system. The girls are trying to trust me and hope that what I am doing is going to work for them, and I think it is. They are getting a lot of compliments from parents, fans and classmates, telling them they are enjoying what we are doing and can't wait to see what the future holds."

"I also thought Tegan Macy, Seirra Bautista and Emma Hayes all played really well this weekend," he said. "Tegan was able to score some baskets and Seirra and Emma played great defense."

Webb had 18 points for the Lady Dawgs, while Macy ended with 10 points.

Culver travels to Lost River High School for a tournament Dec.13-14. After they return, they host the always tough Kennedy Trojans at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18.

"We are going to work on another style of half-court trap," said Foltz. "I want to start incorporating that stuff, so we are not always pressing, but still putting the pressure on people. We need to make those minor adjustments and trying to fine tune our offense a bit. Teams are playing some zone defense against us, so we need to iron out some stuff in our zone offense. Just knowing when to pass, where to pass and who to pass to, as well as when to shoot. All these girls are pretty new to the varsity level, so having to learn all this stuff on the fly is what they have been having to do so far."

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