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Balanced scoring gives Culver girls tourney title

by: Photo By Gary Lindberg - A Gilchrist guard found life tough in the key against Culver defenders in the semifinal game of the Culver Holiday Tournament. Keeley Kinley  latched onto the ball while Kim Rufner (30) and Justine Parker (32) squeezed in as Gilchrist's Stephanie Thomas (21) and Culver's Maria Ruiz (22) looked on. The Bulldogs limited the Grizzlies to just 28 points.

A balanced offense helped the Culver girls' basketball team win the Culver Holiday Tournament.
   The Bulldogs defeated Gilchrist and then the Summit junior varsity to keep the championship trophy in Culver.
   The sweep also included the final nonleague games this season. The Bulldogs are busy this week with Tri-River games (1-2 in league, 5-6 overall). A trip to Blanchet (in Salem) on Wednesday is first up. Home games against Salem Academy on Friday and Delphian on Saturday follow.
   Culver 48, Gilchrist 28: An 8-2 spurt early in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs control of Thursday's semifinal game.
   Ahead by five, Keeley Kinley added to the lead by draining a 3-pointer in the opening possession of the second quarter. Maria Ruiz added a short jumper and later a free throw. Jordan Roen finished off the run with an inside shot.
   Ruiz led the Bulldogs with 11 points while Roen had 10 and Kinley eight.
   Culver 51, Summit JV 39: A pair of defensive plays gave the Bulldogs a lead they never relinquished.
   Kinley and then Ruiz turned steals into layups, using a full-court press.
   "We don't press often, but it worked this time," Kinley said. "This tournament was a chance to try it out."
   Summit also pressed, giving the Bulldogs a challenge. Culver countered by going to the 6-foot Roen for inbounds passes.
   "Against the press, we had to slow everything down," Kinley said. "Being able to pass the ball to Jordan really helps."
   Culver stayed ahead with a diversified offense. Kinley was one of four Bulldogs scoring nine or more points.
   Roen led the way with 15 while Ruiz and McKaylee Speas had 11 each. Several of Speas' baskets were off passes from Kinley or Roen.
   "McKaylee is more aggressive in looking to score," Kinley said.