>Take second-place squad to overtime only to bow in home finale

   Sports Editor
   Dealing with the disappointment of pushing the league's second-place team to overtime only to lose caught up with Culver High's girls basketball team Thursday at Umatilla.
   Launched by a 19-3 first quarter, Umatilla won the Feb. 14 Columbia Basin Conference game 59-24. Culver's loss ended a season it which it went 1-13 in the league. A holiday tournament and some non-league games against bigger schools' junior varsity units upped the overall total to six wins.
   The finale at Umatilla included eight points and 12 rebounds for junior Lanisha Goicoa, who is among four returning starters who stand to make Culver improved next season.
   Culver's potential nearly overcame Sherman County's size and talent Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Culver gym. Instead, pride -- even in defeat -- was the lone reward for Culver.
   Head coach Jeff Whitaker's expression after the game showed he was proud of Culver's effort, despite Culver not making a 13-12 halftime lead hold up. Sherman County's Tigers had the defense to clip Culver's attack though. How well Whitaker thought the Bulldogs did, despite losing 38-33 in overtime, was obvious.
   "You realize that was the second-place team in the league. It shows how close these girls were to the playoffs, even though they only had one league win," Coach Whitaker noted.
   Senior night at the Bulldog gym prompted the starting of all three seniors, in Tara Stirewalt, Jessica Torres and Lacey Miller, by Whitaker.
   Sophomore post player Amanda Allen came off the bench after starting many games to lead Culver with 11 points. Both Goicoa and Marissa Hagman added seven in giving Culver fans hope for the future.
   Brieona Whitaker, another of the returnees, had three, as Stirewalt closed her home career with two points, along with Torres. Miller had the other point among Culver's 33.
   Sherman County had the only three-point length field goal in the game.
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