CULVER — Culver Community enjoyed quite the opening night against Bremen in the TCU Bi-County Basketball Tournament Tuesday.
The Cavs drilled all six of their first-quarter 3-point attempts, and junior forward Trent Elliott fired in a game-high 29 points as Culver defeated Bremen 65-57 in the boys division at John R. Nelson Gymnasium.
Culver heads to a Friday semifinal against John Glenn at 6:30 p.m. at LaVille’s Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
In the opener, Culver’s girls held Bremen scoreless in the second frame, and junior Kayla Shaffer erupted for 30 points and 13 rebounds as the Cavs doubled up the Lions 50-25.
Culver faces reigning champion Oregon-Davis on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in semifinal action at LaVille.
CULVER 65, BREMEN 57
Coming off a big win at Triton Friday, the Cavs quickly allayed any fears of a letdown, building first-quarter leads of 20-2 and 23-4 and eventually fending off a furious second-half Bremen rally.
The Cavs knocked down a sizzling 9 of 11 from the field in the first quarter — 6 of 6 from 3-point territory — and converted five Bremen turnovers in the first four minutes into 14 points.
“We’re very excited about the way we started the game,” Culver head coach Kyle Elliott said. “We played with a lot of intensity on both ends of the floor, both offensively and defensively. Our defense gave us some opportunities in transition and in the first quarter we shot the ball extremely well. It’s hard to sustain that effort against a good team. Bremen made a nice run at us. I’m proud of our kids, and the biggest thing in a tournament is advancing and we advanced.”
For the game, Culver hit 65 percent from the field against Bremen’s switching man-to-man defense, led by a 9-of-12 mark from downtown.
“Other than two possessions in the first quarter we played really good defense,” Bremen head coach Ryan Eakins said. “We left two shooters on two plays; that’s six points, but 25 points in six minutes is unheard of. (Culver) just knocked down shots. They probably could have thrown up anything, and it would have gone in in the first quarter.”
Trent Elliott, the coach’s son, scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the opening frame and finished 11 of 16 from the field — 5 of 7 from behind the arc — and handed out a game-best six assists. He provided one of the highlights of the night with a dunk off a backdoor cut early in the fourth quarter.
“I thought he played a nice ballgame,” Kyle Elliott said of his son. “He shot the ball well. I thought he made some nice passes; he kept his head up against the double-team and found open teammates cutting to the basket.”
Culver senior point guard Collin Stevens added 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of triples to put the Cavs up 53-40 with 4:51 left in the game.
“(Stevens) did the exact same thing against Triton, and we need that kid who can score opposite Trent,” the Culver skipper said. “Early on teams were leaving Collin open, but that’s changing. We’re starting to get some consistency from our guards, and hopefully that will open some opportunities in the post.”
Senior center Micah Budzinski chipped in 12 points and three blocked shots for Culver, and senior forward Tucker Schultz secured a game-best seven rebounds.
“We couldn’t have had a better start,” Kyle Elliott said. “I’m proud of our focus. I thought we boarded well. We weren’t going to shoot 80 percent for the game, and we didn’t, but I think the difference was that our defense gave us a big boost.”
Also for Culver, freshman Everett Krueger scored in transition with 47 seconds left in the game immediately after Bremen chopped the Cavs’ lead to four and added an old-fashioned 3-point play with 16 seconds to play to settle the outcome.
High-scoring senior Ethan Pike and junior point guard Kai Slough scored 18 points apiece for the Lions. Slough’s trey with a minute left in the game sliced Bremen’s deficit to four — the smallest since the opening minute of the game. However, a 6-for-22 tally from 3-point range left the Lions’ offensive output inconsistent throughout the evening.
“It was quite a hole to dig out of, but our guys fought like dogs,” Eakins said. “The guys in that locker room, I wouldn’t want to go to battle with anyone else.”
“At the end of the first quarter we told our guys they had to play one possession at a time,” he added. “We had it to four. Offensively I think we sold ourselves short. When (Culver) hit all those 3s we thought we had to turn it into a 3-point shooting horse game. Playing a good-shooting team in their gym, we can’t get away with turning it into a horse game.”
Also for Bremen, Jacob Box added 11 points, and sophomore reserve Sam Lacher sparked the Lions with his contagious hustle on both ends of the court.
“Sam’s going to give us energy; he is a high-energy player,” Eakins said. “He’s never going to fill up a stat sheet, but he fills up our hustle chart.”
• CULVER COMMUNITY 65,
Score by quarters
Bremen: 6 20 34 57
Culver: 25 34 43 65
BREMEN (57): Don Browning 1 0-0 2, Ethan Pike 5 7-7 18, Jacob Box 3 2-2 11, Sam Lacher 2 0-0 4, Phoenix Ricketts 1 0-0 2, Kai Slough 6 4-4 18, Dillon Mullen 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 19 13-13 57.
CULVER (65): Kyle Vlach 1 2-2 5, Everett Krueger 2 1-1 5, Jordan Sanders 0 0-0 0, Collin Stevens 3 5-6 14, Trent Elliott 11 2-4 29, Tucker Schultz 0 0-0 0, Micah Budzinski 5 2-3 12, Bradley Beaver 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 12-16 65.
3-point goals: Bremen 6 (Box 3, Slough 2, Pike), Culver 9 (Elliott 5, Stevens 3, Vlach); Turnovers: Bremen 9, Culver 12; Rebounds: 19 (Slough 5), Culver 17 (Schultz 7); Assists: Bremen 9, Culver 16 (Elliott 6); Steals: Bremen 4, Culver 6; Fouls (fouled out): Bremen 16 (none), Culver 13 (none).
Records: Bremen 7-4, Culver 9-3.
CULVER 50, BREMEN 25
After building a 15-10 lead at the first-quarter break, the Cavs threw a variety of pressure defenses Bremen’s way and rattled off a 15-0 run over the next nine minutes to seize command.
“We’ve talked all season that when we score in the halfcourt we can change up defenses,” Culver head coach Gina Hierlmeier said. “Our defense helps our offense. Whatever I threw at the girls they transitioned into nicely. I’m very proud of our defensive effort.”
Meanwhile, Shaffer relentlessly attacked the basket en route to 30 points, buoyed by a 10-for-12 finish from the charity stripe, pulled down a game-best 13 rebounds, and swiped five steals.
“Kayla hadn’t played her best the last couple games, and we talked about even if she misses a couple shots to just keep it up and let the game come to her,” Hierlmeier said. “She played a great game, and she didn’t get in foul trouble which was a total help.”
Culver sophomore post player Mickella Hardy yanked down 12 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots, while sophomore point guard Tatum Schultz dished out eight assists. The Cavs finished with a substantial 48-20 advantage on the boards.
“Offensive boards are big; the bottom line is we have to finish,” Hierlmeier said. “Mickella, and Donna Zehner when she was in during the first half had some good box outs.
“I’m happy with the overall team effort,” she added. “We talked about not just being a Kayla Shaffer team or a Tatum Schultz team. Our post play and our guard play overall were pretty good.”
Brooke Snyder finished with six points, six rebounds, and three steals for Bremen, which finished 20 percent from the field. Jasmine Schafer also collected a trio of steals for the Lions.
“We came out flat,” Bremen head coach Tonja Lucchese said. “We were having a hard time moving the ball because of Culver’s changes. (Culver) came out hard and fighting for every single ball.”
• CULVER COMMUNITY 50,
Score by quarters
Bremen: 10 10 17 25
Culver: 15 26 40 50
BREMEN (25): Jasmine Schafer 2 0-0 4, Cassie Sears 0 0-0 0, Ashley Lucchese 2 0-1 5, Megan Stouder 2 0-0 4, Sara Slabaugh 1 0-0 2, Rachel Czarnecki 0 2-2 2, Brooke Snyder 1 4-4 6, Chelsea Huppert 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Bailey 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 9 6-7 25.
CULVER COMMUNITY (50): Shakkira Harris 0 2-2 2, Ali Overmyer 2 0-0 6, Angela Lewellen 0 0-0 0, Tatum Schultz 2 0-0 4, Lona Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Mickella Hardy 3 0-2 6, Donna Zehner 1 0-2 2, Kayla Shaffer 10 10-12 30, Marissa Howard 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18 12-18 50.
3-point goals: Bremen 1 (Lucchese), Culver 2 (Overmyer); Turnovers: Bremen 14, Culver 22; Rebounds: Bremen 20 (Snyder 6), Culver 48 (Shaffer 13, Hardy 12); Assists: Bremen 3, Culver 14 (Schultz 8); Steals: Bremen 9 (Schafer 3, Snyder 3), Culver 11 (Shaffer 5); Fouls (fouled out): Bremen 15 (none), Culver 11 (none).
Records: Bremen 1-14, Culver 10-5.