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by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Culver's Adam Knepp (14) battles Riverside's Arik Corpus (34) for a rebound during the Bulldogs' 53-43 loss Friday in Boardman. Despite seven 3-pointers, Culver falls to Riverside

Despite drilling seven 3-pointers, the Culver High School boys basketball team fell to the Riverside Pirates 53-43 on Friday in Boardman.

The barrage of 3-point field goals for the Bulldogs helped them play to a 25-25 tie at halftime, but the Pirates broke out a full-court press to start the second half and took over.

“We just can’t create a press at game speed in practice, so as the guys mature and grow, we’re just going to have to live with that and work through it,” Culver head coach Brennan Whitaker said.

For the first half, however, the Bulldogs were knocking down long-range shots to outpace Riverside’s tough inside game with 6-foot-5 forward Gregg Shimer. The Bulldogs led 16-14 after the first quarter.

“That was the first time all year we came out of the gate and looked comfortable,” Whitaker said. “We weren’t scared to death about what we thought might happen; we felt good and looked confident.”

Once the Pirates put the press on to start the third period, things turned south for the Bulldogs in a hurry. Riverside outscored Culver 18-7 in the frame, which provided the biggest difference in the ballgame.

Sophomore point guard Tom McDonald led the Bulldogs with 13 points and Tristan Bogart chipped in 11. McDonald and Bogart each hit three 3-pointers, and Corey Sledge had the other longball for the Bulldogs.

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Culver point guard Tom McDonald tries to dribble past Riverside's Francisco Velazquez during the Bulldogs' 53-43 loss on Friday in Boardman.“We’re living and dying by the 3-pointer right now,” Whitaker said. “We’re young and pretty small, do we don’t really have a choice at this point; we’ve got to keep putting the ball up.”

Culver shot 10 for 20 from the foul line, and Riverside wasn’t much better at 11 for 23. Joe Amaral led the Pirates with 16 points and Shimer pitched in 12.

Already with a Tri-River Conference game under its belt, Culver will dive back into TRC play Friday in Salem against Western Mennonite.

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