Falcons fly past Cavs, advance to Bi-County final
LAKEVILLE — Kyle Elliott knew Glenn was going to present his team with some match-up problems. The Culver Community coach also had an inkling of what to expect after what he described as his team’s worst practice of the season Thursday.
Sure enough, the Cavs scuffled to a slow start as the Falcons staked themselves to a 15-5 lead at the first quarter break and never once trailed in a convincing 52-39 Bi-County semifinal win Friday night.
“We didn’t match up well. That was a concern as a coaching staff. We don’t match up well with John Glenn. Anybody that knows the game of basketball knows that. Their speed on the perimeter, they remind me a lot of New Prairie, and we got beat by New Prairie,” said Elliott.
“The day before a game is a big practice. The day before the Triton game and the Bremen game, I don’t think we could have had a better practice. We came out of the gym last night, and we told them as a coaching staff that was the worst practice we had all year. Our kids weren’t sharp and therefore weren’t prepared to play the game tonight. We came out and played like we practiced.”
The Cavs surrendered nine of their 14 total turnovers in the first half alone while converting five of just 12 shots from the floor to fall behind 20-13 at the break. Glenn by contrast, went 8-of-21 in the first two frames and saw six different players score before halftime on their way to their first consecutive wins of the season and first Bi-County championship berth since head coach Travis Hannah took over for longtime head coach Gordon Mosson — the winningest coach in the tournament’s history with 10 titles in 25 years with the Falcons — in 2007.
“We watched the Bremen film, and they scored 25 in the first quarter against Bremen; I don’t think they missed a shot,” said Glenn head coach Travis Hannah. “I think our kids were prepared mentally. We talked about the importance of the first three or four minutes. We had to come out and get a quick start, make sure we were defensively where we needed to be. I thought we did that, and I thought that frustrated them a little bit. The bottom line is we did a good job contesting their shooters, but let’s be honest they didn’t shoot the ball extremely well tonight. They’re a good basketball team, there’s not doubt, and this is a good win for us.”
Defensively, the Falcons were led by sophomore Jake Strong, who held Culver standout Trent Elliott six points under his average at 15.
Strong was helped by foul trouble for Elliott, as the junior swingman was called for his second foul with four seconds left in the first period and sat out the remainder of the half, eventually fouling out with 2:45 still remaining in the game.
Culver made a run in the absence of their scoring leader in the second quarter, pulling within two with an 8-0 quarter-opening run highlighted by four points each from Collin Stevens and Micah Budzinski, but Glenn reserve Tyler Prentkowski scored five unanswered points at the end of the half to give his team a comfortable 20-13 lead going into the third.
“Throughout the game you point to possessions that have nothing to do with anything from a fan’s perspective. For us this game was the end of the first quarter, the end of the second quarter,” said Hannah. “We went through a very long stretch where we didn’t score. It was 15-5 and they cut it to 15-13, but our defense held right there. In games previous to this we wouldn’t have been able to do that because our defense was kind of predicated on our offense, and if we didn’t score we couldn’t stop people. Tonight when we couldn’t score we were able to stop people, and that to me was the difference, that stretch right there.”
Culver was led by Elliott’s 15, while Micah Budzinski and Collin Stevens each scored 10, and Kyle Vlach finished with five assists as the Cavs slid to 9-4 on the season.
Austen Hayes scored 15 and was one of three players with five rebounds for Glenn, while Strong scored 13, also with five rebounds to complement his standout defensive performance. Nathan Stegemiller scored eight with five rebounds, and Prentkowski put up seven points as six different Falcons saw meaningful points production compared to only three Cavs.
The win pushes Glenn to 3-8 on the season after a tough 0-6 start, and the team now advances to play host LaVille in the championship game tonight at 8:30 p.m.
“We started a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior, and I thought those guys played great,” said Hannah. “Tyler Prentkowski came off the bench tonight, accepted his role and played extremely well. And those guys that didn’t get action, we’re not here tonight if they’re not Trent Elliott in practice or they’re not Micah Budzinski in practice. Those guys deserve a lot of credit as well.”
• JOHN GLENN 52, CULVER COMMUNITY 39
Score by quarters
Culver: 5 13 22 39
Glenn: 15 20 42 52
GLENN (52): Adam Stull 0, Alec Runyan 4, Austen Hayes 15, Tyler Prentkowski 7, Drew McDonald 5, Jake Strong 13, Calvin Kretchmer 0, Nathan Stegemiller 8, Levi Schleg 0; Totals: 18 11-16 52.
CULVER (39): Kyle Vlach 0, Everett Krueger 2, Jordan Sanders 2, Collin Stevens 10, Trent Elliott 15, Tucker Schultz 0, Micah Budzinski 10; Totals: 16 3-6 39.
3-pointers: Glenn 5 (Stegemiller 2, Hayes 1, Prentkowski 1, Strong 1), Culver 4 (Stevens 3, Elliott 1); Rebounds: Glenn 21 (Hayes 5, Strong 5, Stegemiller 5), Culver 20 (Krueger 6, Budzinski 6); Turnovers: Glenn 11, Culver 14; Steals: Glenn 7 (Hayes 2, Prentkowski 2, McDonald 2), Culver 3; Assists: Glenn 6 (McDonald 3), Culver 9 (Vlach 5); Fouls (fouled out): Glenn 15 (none), Culver 15 (Stevens, Elliott); Records: Culver 9-4, Glenn 3-8.