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Comeback sustains Culver's playoff hopes

Last-second shot allows Bulldogs to sweep rival

by: Photo By Gary Lindberg - All game long, Culver post Jordan Roen drew extra defensive attention from Scio defenders. In the second half, Laiken Pearson (10), Kaylee Murphy (20) and Rebecca Tharp (11) guarded Roen. The Culver senior still managed to make a game-tying shot to force overtime.

With two minutes left against Scio, the playoff hopes for the Culver girls' basketball team seemed over.
   The Bulldogs trailed the visiting Loggers by seven points on Saturday. A two-game deficit out of the Tri-River League's last playoff spot loomed. Then, Culver scored nine of the next 11 points, capped by Jordan Roen's rebound basket at the buzzer to force overtime.
   The Bulldogs eventually won 50-48 to move into a seventh-place tie with Scio (both at 3-8, with Culver sweeping the season series). The Tri-River's top seven teams move onto the district playoffs.
   Culver has four games to resolve its tie with Scio, not including a game at Delphian on Tuesday, Jan. 23 (played after press time).
   All of those remaining games are against teams already in the district playoff picture. The stretch starts by hosting Blanchet on Friday and traveling to Salem Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Culver has a week off before traveling to Kennedy (Feb. 5) and finishes up the regular season by hosting East Linn Christian (Feb. 7).
   Meanwhile, Scio starts its final stretch by hosting last-place Delphian. The Loggers then travel to East Linn Christian (owning a 46-39 win in the earlier meeting) and to Western Mennonite (winning at home 39-38).
   Culver 50, Scio 48: The Bulldogs trailed by seven with two minutes left. Then, the offense went to work. Kayley Cook drained two free throws with 30 seconds left and Roen hit a two-footer with 19 seconds left.
   Culver comeback hopes continued when Scio missed a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left. The Loggers made just one of their final eight foul shots in regulation and overtime.
   With four seconds, Culver put up a final shot which missed. Roen was in position on the left side of the basket for a rebound basket at the buzzer.
   "Oh, I was scared at the end," Roen said. "After the shot went up, I went to the boards and the ball came right to me. I felt somebody next to me, but I didn't let that bother me."
   It was one of the few times Roen had just one player on her. Scio frequently double- and triple-teamed the 6-foot post. Roen scored 19 points despite missing most of the second quarter when she picked up her third foul.
   Roen played throughout the overtime, giving Culver a quick lead with an inside basket on her team's first possession. She also helped seal the victory with a free throw with 11 seconds left.
   A rebound basket by Cook and two free throws by Keeley Kinley kept Culver ahead. Kinley finished with 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. The Bulldogs played without starting wing Maria Ruiz (academic commitment) and were without starting forward McKaylee Speas, who fouled out in the fourth quarter.
   "Our swing players really came through," said Roen of junior varsity call ups Kim Rufener and Jimi Jones. "We needed them to come in and play well. They did."
   Jones had two points and Rufener one, all in the second half.
   Santiam 60, Culver 28: The No. 2-ranked Wolverines took control with a 22-9 advantage in the second quarter of Thursday's game. Santiam is unbeaten so far this season (19-0 with an 11-0 league mark).