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South Wasco soph cans 11 3-pointers

A young team like the Culver High School boys basketball team needs court time, plain and simple.

The players know that, and so does head coach Brennan Whitaker. When the Ridgeview freshman team didn’t show up for the scheduled game Friday night in the Culver Bulldog Boosters Holiday Tournament, Whitaker said it was just “a big letdown.”

“When you are getting ready for your first home game of the season, and the other team doesn’t show up, it’s just not real fun,” Whitaker said.

Transportation issues caused the Ravens’ freshman team not to make it down for Friday night’s game, Whitaker said.

“Around 6:10 p.m., Ridgeview wasn’t here and we hadn’t heard from anyone, so I was scrambling around trying to figure something out,” Whitaker said. “When (Shea) Little (Culver High School athletic director) called to see what was going on, they had already sent the kids home.”

Whitaker was excited to play a team that was similar in age and experience level; he wanted to see how the team handled being in a competitive game. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t happen and Culver moved to the tournament championship game by forfeit.

When Ridgeview came down for Saturday’s contest, a caravan of parents using their own vehicles brought the team down.

What ended up being the Bulldogs’ first home game wasn’t exactly a good way to start.

South Wasco County sophomore Tyler Hayes hit 11 3-pointers in the contest to lead the Class 1A Redsides to a 104-45 blowout victory in the championship game Saturday at Culver High School.

Whitaker said Hayes wasn’t even on his radar coming into the game, and the sharp shooter hit seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and didn’t miss.

“His shots hardly touched the rim; it was incredible,” Whitaker said. “I’ve seen guys go off for big games like that, and it usually takes some free throws, but he didn’t make any of those. He knocked down jumpers like they were nothing.”

Whitaker said they had played South Wasco, located in Maupin, twice last season, so they had an idea of who they needed to keep track of on the floor. Hayes took the Bulldogs by surprise, however, and he finished the night with 37 points, 33 of which came from beyond the arc.

Despite the lopsided score, Whitaker said he was pleased with how his team played offensively. It was the second time this season the Bulldogs scored at least 45 points, and with the addition of 6-foot-4 Jake Palin, who just became eligible to play, they will be deeper and have more options.

“We can actually be more aggressive and not have to worry about getting into foul trouble,” Whitaker said. “I had to run a 2-3 zone most of the time to help us stay out of foul trouble, but when a kid starts going off like the Hayes kid did, it’s tough to not stay in that defense.”

Palin is going to help the Bulldogs quite a bit in the paint, and will be able to take some pressure of fellow big man Jon Slaght. Slaght should start getting more breaks during the game, too, and Whitaker said that will help going forward.

“It’s tough for a big guy like Jon to play 30 minutes a game,” Whitaker said. “Having Jake now we’ll be able to get Jon more breaks than just at the end of the game.”

Culver was able to put up more shots against the Redsides than they have all season, another thing Whitaker liked. The Bulldogs have averaged about 45 shots per game, and fired up 57 against South Wasco.

For the Bulldogs, Slaght and Adam Knepp each scored 10 points.

On Dec. 17, Culver open Tri-River Conference play in Stayton against Regis, and lost 93-34.

Culver will continue its nonconference schedule on Friday in Boardman against Riverside, and then travel to Maupin to take on the Redsides again Monday.

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