A pair of losses dimmed the playoff hopes for the Culver boys' basketball team.
The Bulldogs were hoping to score home wins against two teams directly in front of them in the Tri-River standings. Instead, Santiam and then Scio earned wins to stay in a sixth-place tie.
In the Tri-River, the top seven teams advance to the playoffs. Culver (1-10 league, 3-16 overall) entered the week trailing Santiam and Scio by two games. Now, both teams are four games ahead of Culver with five to play.
The Bulldogs have two home games left, including a Friday contest against Blanchet. Culver also travels to Salem Academy (ranked No. 2 in the 2A coaches' poll) on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The Bulldogs were also at Delphian on Tuesday, Jan. 22 (played after press time).
Santiam 53, Culver 50: The first and third quarters were the Bulldogs' undoing in the Thursday home game.
The visiting Wolverines owned eight-point advantages in each quarter which was ultimately the difference. Santiam jumped ahead 16-8 in the first quarter and had a 17-9 edge in the third.
Culver rebounded with a 15-5 spurt in the second quarter. Both teams had their best shooting in the fourth, with the Wolverines owning a 20-18 advantage.
Nevin Lewis scored 26 points to lead Culver, hitting a pair of 3-pointers.
Scio 51, Culver 37: The visiting Loggers rolled out to a lead in the second half.
The hosts led 23-22 going into halftime. Then Scio put together a 30-point second half to enhance their playoff chances.
Cody Tadlock scored 15 and John Decker 14 to lead the Bulldogs.