LAKEVILLE — With five of the last six Bi-County championships, the Lady Cats may have already been looking ahead to this year’s championship at Thursday’s semifinals.
It wasn’t pretty, but Oregon-Davis got the convincing win, using its signature pressure defense to jump out to a 38-11 halftime lead and coasting to an eventual 69-42 win over Culver Community in the early semifinal at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
“We didn’t play very well at all,” said OD head coach Terry Minix. “That was disappointing because we didn’t look like we were there mentally or physically. It sounds bad coming away with a 20-some-point win, but you can’t do that. At this time of the year that’s the stuff that I’m talking about trying to get ready for tournament time, and when it comes tournament time if you play that way it’s one and done, and that’s the mentality we’ve got to get them to understand. And this Bi-County next to the sectional is a big thing for us. We’re defending champs, and we want to win it. I was just very disappointed in a total team collapse for the most part.”
While OD might not have played to its potential, it was more than up to the challenge of a short-handed Culver Community lineup that was out usual starting forward Donna Zehner after she sustained a concussion in the Cavs’ Bi-County opener with Bremen Tuesday.
Culver coughed up 22 turnovers in the first half as OD jumped out to an all-but-insurmountable 38-11 lead at the break.
“That’s what we were worried about, about handling the basketball,” said Culver head coach Gina Hierlmeier. “With Donna Zehner being out of the game, that was definitely a factor. We had to change our game plan about halfway through practice yesterday. I thought going into the start of the game we handled the pressure okay, and then we just kind of let the game get away from us.”
The Cavs finally began to execute their press break in the second half to whittle their deficits down below 20 several times, but they couldn’t get over the hump after falling behind early.
Kayla Shaffer scored 19, including eight of her team’s 11 points in the first half, and Tatum Schultz put up 12 points with 11 rebounds.
“Once we were able to get Tatum in motion and attack from the wings and the middle, we were able to do what we wanted to do,” said Hierlmeier. “Kayla and Tatum are always a huge part of what we want to accomplish. We just as a team need to make sure that we continue to execute our game plan.”
OD was paced by Haley Collings’ game-highs of 20 points and 14 rebounds. Ashley Campbell finished with 15, Jessica Avarone scored 13, and Alicia McIntosh chipped in 12 for the characteristically balanced Bobcats.
“(Haley’s) been getting better and better, but she had other opportunities. If you count the bunnies we missed tonight, I’m probably not exaggerating that we missed 20 bunnies,” said Minix. “In close games, you’ve got to hit them. We were fortunate enough to get off to a good lead and since we did it didn’t bite us in the tail, but we’ve got to get our heads screwed on straight.”
OD advances to play Triton in the Bi-County finals Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Culver will look for a reprisal against the Sectional 51-rival Lady Cats on the road next Tuesday.
“We talked at the half about executing our game plan and allowing us to see if it works. I thought we did a better job of executing in the second half, which we even them out, so we’re just going to have to work on those things and prepare to play them again in the future,” Hierlmeier said.
• OREGON-DAVIS 69, CULVER 42
Score by quarters
OD: 16 38 55 69
Culver: 5 11 28 42
OD (69): Jessica Avarone 13, Ashley Campbell 15, Ashley Clark 0, Haley Collings 20, Lincy Jones 0, Taylor Kranenburg 3, Alicia McIntosh 12, Lexi Minix 6, Kendra Sauer 0, Riley Trott 0; Totals: 26 12-19 69.
CULVER (42): Mickella Hardy 6, Shakkira Harris 0, Marisa Howard 0, Angela Lewellen 2, Alonnia Montgomery 3, Ali Overmyer 0, Tatum Schultz 12, Kayla Shaffer 19; Totals: 18 2-4 42.
3-pointers: OD 5 (Avarone 2, Kranenburg, Campbell, McIntosh), Culver 4 (Schultz 2, Shaffer, Montgomery); Rebounds: 45 (Collings 14), Culver 33 (Schultz 11); Turnovers: OD 13, Culver 39; Steals: OD 21 (Collings 5, Minix 5), Culver 5 (Shaffer 2); Assists: OD 10 (Campbell 5), Culver 7 (Harris 2, Schultz 2, Montgomery 2); Fouls (fouled out): OD 10 (none), Culver 18 (none).
Records: OD 15-3, Culver 10-6.