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Culver High hosts boys hoop Jamboree

Bulldogs win two of three

   Culver High tipped off its boys basketball season by winning two of the three quarters it played in a Monday jamboree at home.
   Sandwiching wins over the Crook County junior varsity and Summit junior varsity around a loss to Redmond's junior varsity, Culver left first-year coach Mark Sheets satisfied but with plenty of areas he wants to improve in.
   "We still have a ton to work on," Sheets said after the Jamboree.
   "Our defensive effort has to get better and we need time to work on offense and blocking out on rebounds. But, the overall effort was good," said Sheets.
   A veteran of 17 years of coaching including seven at a high school in Salt Lake City called Inter-Mountain Christian just prior to coming to Culver, Sheets said he will be looking to prepare the Bulldogs to play their best at the end of the year instead of being too concerned with the results in the Jamboree.
   But, the play of senior Jeff Cloud in the post had Sheets dubbing Cloud the player who will be Culver's "go-to guy," at least early in the season.
   He wants to see the entire team become more involved said Sheets, noting Cloud shoots well from three-point range, if his teammates work the offensive patterns to free him up.
   However, said Sheets, he would like to see Cloud be an outlet passer for the likes of Brennon Whittaker and others so that the Bulldogs can streak to layups when the chance presents itself. Putting the squeeze on opposition ball handlers with a two-man press was among the things Sheets had the team working on, he noted.
   While the pressure worked at times, Redmond beat it often enough to give Culver something to think about, said Sheets. He will want the players being aware of the kind of edge they need to have before using the press and then getting in trouble because of it, Sheets explained.
   Having the varsity players do well enough to storm out to an early lead in the eight-minute period against Summit was refreshing for the coach, he said, because it gave a lot more players a chance for a few minutes.
   He managed to get in all the varsity and junior varsity players who suited up but there were some who he was going to use much more in the first junior varsity game of the season, which was set for Tuesday night, Sheets said.
   "We said that if we got the two-man trap to work and cause turnovers we should be able to get everyone in even before the scrimmage against Summit. It was nice to see the varsity players make that happen," said Sheets.
   Chris Dix showed some backcourt speed for Culver too but it was Nate Lewis racing ahead to beat Summit's defense back which keyed Culver's run to a double-figure lead in its last jamboree quarter. Bringing some new players let varied young Bulldogs have chances to shine, including forward Cory Boyd who forced a turnover and was fouled twice in the final two minutes or so and wound up making five straight free throws.
   With Luis Montes and Casey Boyd also working effectively under the basket, Culver compounded Summit's troubles when giving Cloud and others a break in the final period of the Monday jamboree. Adam Rickets, Jordan Sheets, Justin Sheets and Grant Putnam were some of the others making the Culver bench effective when the starters were given rests on Monday.
   Culver's first full games of action will take place Friday and Saturday when it travels to the Prairie City tournament.