CULVER — Clinging to a tenuous 47-43 lead late, Culver Community girls basketball head coach Tony Scheub heard the magic words “man-to-man.”
The Cavs adjusted — and executed — accordingly.
Culver senior Whitney Sanders fed 6-foot-1 senior Gwen Zehner from the right wing to the right block for three buckets in a 51-second span to open a 10-point spread with 3:46 left in the final frame, and the Cavs hung on for a 61-53 Northern State Conference win over Knox at John R. Nelson Gymnasium Saturday.
“I heard (Knox’s) coach say, ‘man-to-man,’” Scheub said. “We went to our secondary offense which is to isolate (Zehner) in the post. At that point I’m begging them to get it to the post, and they got it there. The girls executed our offense very well.”
Zehner, who picked up her fourth foul just moments before the three-basket outburst, scored 19 of her game-high 27 points in the second half, secured a staggering 21 rebounds, and avoided a fifth foul.
“We stopped going at (Zehner),” Knox head coach Dan Huizenga said. “We had two or three touches in a row where we tried to get to her. One time Brittany (Tetzloff) pulled up for a jumper, instead of going all the way to the basket. I don’t care if it’s a charge, make (the officials) make a call. Culver’s a good team; they’re 8-1 for a reason.”
In addition to her game-best five assists and three steals, Sanders registered 18 points — including a trio of first-half treys, the first of which gave the Cavs the edge for good less than a minute into the game — and led Culver to a 32-23 halftime advantage.
“(Sanders) was on fire,” Scheub said. “Normally we want to get one post touch before we shoot. I called Whitney over during a free throw and asked, ‘Are you feeling it?’ I told her to shoot it when you want; you feed the hot hand. She’s not a bad shooter, just sometimes she gets nonchalant. When she elevates she has a nice shot. It looked like everything she shot was going in tonight.”