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CHS girls look to rebound

Core of last year's team a year older, stronger

by: Pioneer file photo - Culver point guard Sara McKinney tries to drive past a defender during a game last season. This year, McKinney will start the year a little later than everyone else due to a back injury.

With an injured point guard and very few practices with the entire team, Culver girls basketball head coach Scott Fritz is still upbeat about this season.
   While Sara McKinney might miss the entire nonconference schedule with a back injury, Fritz said that's just going to allow him to get his younger players more playing time and help get them ready for a tough Tri-River Conference schedule.
   However, between the holidays and other circumstances, Fritz hasn't had his entire varsity team at practice but for a couple times. It worries him a little bit, he said, but coming off a great summer season and with most of his players returning from last season, that makes it a little easier to not be nervous.
   "Our younger players are going to have to step up, but I think they'll be able to handle it," Fritz said.
   Fritz has most of the core from last season's team back, including 6-foot-3 post Cassie Fulton. After an outstanding season on the volleyball court, Fulton should be the focal point of the offense in the half-court, Fritz said.
   On the same note, however, Fritz also said the team was going to run the floor more and be more aggressive with the fastbreak.
   Seniors Lori Sandy and Chantelle Seehawer are a pair of players that Fritz is expecting a lot out of this season. Sandy will take over point guard duties while McKinney, a sophomore, takes time to heal her injury, and Fritz thinks the 5-foot-8 guard will have a great year.
   "She showed glimpses last year, and I really think she's going to have an awesome year this year," Fritz said. "She played in all 27 games of our summer league and has been lifting since August."
   Seehawer will move from the perimeter and play a forward spot with Fulton, a move that Fritz said is going to help replace the rebounding that is gone with the graduation of Sam Donnelly. Seehawer also lifted weights and trained with Sandy, so Fritz should have a very formidable frontcourt once the team gets going.
   "She sees the court well and understands what's going on." Fritz said. "Her and Cassie, along with Lori crashing in off the wing, should help pick up the rebounding slack we lost from last year."
   Sophomore Andrea Retano, Fritz said, has "great instincts and is athletic and quick." She is expected to play on both the perimeter and inside and will "get her points from being scrappy," Fritz said.
   Hannah Lewis will step in and play a guard spot during McKinney's absence, but still figures to be in the rotation once McKinney returns as well.
   "Right now, we're just trying to put the girls in game situations and have them scrimmage," Fritz said. "We're trying to figure out our rotations and who needs to be where."
   Fritz said it's going to take a little time for the team to really have the offense down, since there are quite a few young players, but he thinks his team is going to be ready to take on TRC teams after the nonconference docket is over.
   The Bulldogs will open the season Friday at the Sherman County Tournament in Moro against the hosts, Sherman County. Fritz said there's recent familiarity with them since they played each other in summer league, but he's just excited to get his team on the floor.
   "I can't wait to get this season going," he said.
   Culver will also host a tournament this season, Dec. 14-15 with Crane, Lost River and South Wasco participating.