Culver boys champs of Gilchrist tourney
Lewis, Whitaker lead way
Competing, as did its wrestling team, appeared to prove therapeutic for the Culver High boys basketball team.
Going on with its schedule after the well-reported crash which claimed the lives of four members of the Roe family, the boys basketball Bulldogs beat host Gilchrist Saturday night for the championship of the Gilchrist Invitational.
Charging to a 15-10 lead in the first quarter, Culver expanded that edge to 32-18 by halftime on its way to the 60-45 victory which earned it the tournament trophy.
Nate Lewis and Brennan Whitaker were in double figures for the second night in a row for Culver as they scored 18 and 14 points to lead the Bulldogs past Gilchrist.
A balanced attack let Culver claim the title comfortably as Dustin Herman's 10 put three Bulldogs in double figures Saturday. The remaining 18 of the 60 points were spread out among Culver's Chris Dix and Jeff Cloud, with 6 each; Montes, with 2; Putnam, with 1; Adam Ricketts, with 1; Rhoan, with 1, and Josh Sheets, with the other.
The return of Cloud to the lineup was something head coach Mark Sheets had said he was looking forward to before the week began. The senior's presence paid off in increased scoring and more rebounds around the basket.
Yet, its ability to create turnovers and race up court paid off in a 17-8 run for Culver in the second quarter on Saturday. That provided the eventual champions with enough of a lead to use its entire roster. There were two three-point goals among Whitaker's total for Culver while Dix and Lewis's totals also included a three-point basket.
Culver had raced to a 34-25 halftime lead over Lowell in its Friday semi-final win over Lowell in the tournament. Winning 71-51 sent Culver on to the finals against Gilchrist.
Whitaker had 18 points to lead a Culver attack which was buoyed by Herman in the win over Lowell. Adding to the 18 of Whitaker and 15 of Herman for Culver were leaping sophomore Nate Lewis with 16, and atomic Adam Ricketts' 12. Chris Dix added five for Culver, which used two points from Jordan Sheets and Clugston plus one point from Justus Sheets to round out its scoring.
Dix destroyed South Wasco's Redsides by scoring 23 points in Culver's Dec. 4 win. The senior's total included eight free throws and one three-point field goal.
A 25-10 blitz in the third quarter let Culver pull away from a 23-all halftime deadlock the teams were in. Whistles for fouls extended the fourth quarter of the Dec. 4 game at Culver which included 11 points each by Ricketts and Whitaker, 10 points by Lewis, five for Justus Sheets plus four for Herman. Jordan Sheets also appeared for Culver, but without scoring.
"Balance was the key tonight," Culver coach Mark Sheets said after the win over South Wasco, from Maupin.