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CHS girls just miss chances at upset

A couple of opportunities to move even more into the Tri-River girls' basketball playoff race rimmed off for Culver.
   The Bulldogs were in position to upset No. 6 Kennedy at home on Thursday. Then a last-second winning shot at East Linn Christian didn't go in Saturday.
   The losses left Culver a game out of seventh place, the last district playoff berth.
   Culver has further chances to move into the race this week. The Bulldogs play two teams directly in front of them, including Scio on Saturday. The Loggers (3-5) are in a fifth-place tie with Western Mennonite (Culver's road foe on Tuesday, Jan. 15, played after press time). The Bulldogs already own a 50-40 win at Scio last month.
   In between those games, Culver has the task of hosting unbeaten Santiam on Friday. The Wolverines lead the Tri-River (7-0) and are ranked No. 2 in the latest 2A coaches' poll.
   The Bulldogs also travel to Delphian on Tuesday, Jan. 22. In the earlier meeting, Culver won 48-16 in a home contest a week ago.
   Kennedy 39, Culver 29: Trailing by four at halftime (23-19), the Bulldogs quickly cut into that deficit. Jordan Roen hit an inside shot on Culver's second possession of the third quarter.
   Both teams missed shots after that, as the teams combined for just 11 points in the third quarter. The Bulldogs had chances, missing three of four free throws midway through the quarter. The hosts stayed close when Keeley Kinley converted a layup off a pass by Justine Parker.
   Then Kennedy slowly pulled away, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers. The Trojan defense also went to work, the stingiest in the Tri-River with an average of just 30.3 points a game.
   Kennedy allowed just five points in the fourth quarter. Kinley made a trio of free throws and Maria Ruiz hit a 10 footer.
   Kinley finished with a team-high 12 points.
   East Linn Christian 45, Culver 43: With a chance to win or tie, the Bulldogs opted for the win.
   Culver attempted a trey in the final seconds which didn't go in. The Bulldogs stayed even or ahead most of the way against the team tied for fifth place (at 3-5 with Scio and Western Mennonite).
   McKaylee Speas had nine points while Roen and Ruiz added eight each.