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Culver Lady Dawgs basketball team goes 1-1 at 2A Holiday tournament in Pendleton, loses to Kennedy Trojans.

STEELE HAUGEN - Culver's Tegan Macy is met at the rim by Kennedy Trojan opponents.The Culver Lady Dawgs played their first Tri-River League opponent Wednesday, Dec. 12, losing to the Kennedy Trojans 80-39.

The tall, strong Kennedy Trojans came out on fire, giving the ball to 6-1 Sophia Carley early. Carley scored eight out of the Trojans' first 10 points to start the game.

Kennedy took a 36-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and used that big first quarter lead to hold back the Lady Dawgs, coming away with the 80-39 victory.

The Lady Dawgs traveled to Pendleton for a 2A preview tournament Dec. 20-21 and split two games.

Culver played East Linn Christian Academy first and the pressure and defense led to a 39-32 victory.

"We were up around 10 or 12 at one point, but we ended up having a one-point third quarter and let them right back into the game," head coach T.J. Foltz said.

The Lady Dawgs did most of their scoring through steals leading to lay-ins, but senior Kiana Webb was able to make a couple shots from behind the arc to help Culver get the victory,

"We were able to spread them (East Linn) out a bit and knock down a couple shots from our offense, which was a good thing," said Foltz. "We spun out in the third and they took the lead by one or two. We knocked down a couple key shots and had a couple key steals. The team didn't shoot that well from the free throw line, but we made enough to pull away at the end."

Culver was matched up with Illinois Valley next and lost a close game 34-28.

The Lady Dawgs were already shorthanded going into the game, but were even more shorthanded before tipoff.

"One of our players got in some trouble and couldn't play," said Foltz. "That really took a toll on us because we already have to do deal with Sierra Bautista being gone right now. We battled and were down early. Nine games in three weeks is a lot and playing early in the morning, to finish the nine-game stretch was a little rough on us."

Despite the large amount of games and being short-handed, the Lady Dawgs were still able to tie Illinois Valley 21-21 at the start of the fourth quarter.

"They had a big lefty girl who made the difference for them," Foltz said. "She got some key rebounds and putbacks and fouled out one of our girls, Ariana Reyes. The team could not get that girl boxed out to seal the game. We were right there, in it the whole time and had a couple chances. I would guess we missed around five to 10 rebounds this game and it is hard to win games when you can't make lay-ins. I talked to the girls a little bit about being able to finish out games. Having that confidence and composure to not get overwhelmed, which seems to be the case when we face a little bit of pressure."

Culver plays Sheridan at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan 4 at home and then travels to Crook County to play their junior varsity team at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6.

"We have some girls playing injured, some ouchies here and there, and it has kind of taken its toll," said Foltz. "I think these ladies are getting better every day, which is one of my goals I have, while trying to build character on and off the court. We have some team bonding stuff in these next few days because we have a couple of days off. It is time for us to relax and have fun so you can build that chemistry and bond that will last a lifetime."

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