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Culver Bulldogs boys basketball team steps up against top 10-ranked Sheridan Spartans at home.

STEELE HAUGEN -  Jordan VanAlstyne drives to the hoop with ease. VanAlstyne added eight points during Culver's 60-51 home loss to Sheridan.The Culver Bulldogs boys basketball team came out strong against the No. 10-ranked Sheridan Spartans at home Jan. 4, taking a 24-20 lead at halftime, but they could not stop the Spartans in the second half for a 60-51 home loss.

It was the first game the Bulldogs had played since Dec. 21, and the improvements and hard work Culver has been putting in at practice was on display early in the game.

Sheridan, like a lot of teams, decided to press Culver, but the Bulldogs were poised, breaking the press with good passing. The Spartans also went into a 3-2 zone defense, but Culver scored several easy baskets with their zone break offense.

Jordan VanAlstyne scored the first bucket for the Bulldogs, and Culver was fired up from the start. Culver was able to find Cord Gomes down low in their zone breaking offense, and Gomes was finishing every shot he took.

Gomes scored 12 of the Bulldogs' 16 first-quarter points, giving Culver a 16-11 first quarter lead against the tough Spartans.

Sheridan was flustered in the first half, and every time they tried to make a run of their own, the Bulldogs answered with a big shot.

A putback by Sheridan cut the Bulldogs' lead to two points, but freshman Logan Macy scored on a hard drive to the rim. He was fouled and made his free throw to give Culver a 21-17 lead with 4:10 left in the half.

STEELE HAUGEN - Cord Gomes scores the 12 of Culver's 16 first quarter points. He ended the game with 16 points and nine rebounds.Near the end of the half, Gomes showed his strength in the post, and Culver led 24-20 at halftime.

Luke Spinelli started out the second half with a mid-range jumper, and a few plays later, Spinelli scored on an inbounds play, giving Culver a 29-26 lead.

VanAlstyne hit a corner 3-pointer and Sheridan was able to score on a hard drive to the rim. Sheridan called a quick timeout, down 32-30 with 4:15 left in the third quarter.

After the timeout, the Spartans went on a 7-0 run. They were stopped by a Spinelli floater, but Sheridan had a 37-34 lead over Culver, and the momentum was shifting in favor of the Spartans.

They went on another run, this time 9-1, to close out the third quarter, including a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer. Sheridan had a 47-35 lead to start the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were outscored 24-11 in the third quarter.

Spinelli and Macy both hit 3-pointers in the start of the fourth quarter, cutting the Sheridan lead down to nine. A few plays later, VanAlstyne hit a jumper to make the score 55-45 in favor of Sheridan. Culver called a quick timeout with 2:26 left in the game.

Then Culver hit three free throws, and a lay-in by Clayton Mathews trimmed the Sheridan lead to five.

Sheridan closed out the game on a 6-0 run to beat the Culver Bulldogs 61-50.

Gomes led the way for Culver with 16 points and nine rebounds. Spinelli ended the game with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, and VanAlstyne added eight points.

Sheridan moved to 8-2 on the season, and Culver moved to 1-9 after the game.

The Bulldogs travel this week as they head to Chemawa (0-6), taking on the Braves at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9. They also travel to Santiam (8-2) to take on the No. 7-ranked Wolverines at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14.

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