CULVER — Culver Community’s upperclassmen delivered on Senior Night, with a little help from a couple of younger guys.
Boosted by career scoring leader Zoe Bauer’s 16 points — including 6 of 6 from the foul line in the final minute — and five assists, the Cavs held off visiting South Central 45-39 in a bruising boys basketball game Thursday at John R. Nelson Gymnasium.
Culver’s all-senior starting lineup — Bauer, Larry Clingler, AJ Neace, Patrick McBee and Scotty Brown — tallied seven straight points to tip off the contest and led wire to wire.
“I’m very happy for our seniors,” Culver head coach Kyle Elliott said. “They set the tone for the night getting us a 7-0 lead. Zoe Bauer is a four-year varsity starter. Larry Clingler and AJ Neace are both three-year varsity players. Patrick McBee is up from the JV this year, and Scotty Brown is a transfer from South Central, so this was a big game for him.”
Although the Cavs clawed out to a 15-3 lead, the Satellites battled back to within a single point twice during the second half and trailed just 35-32 midway through the final frame.
Bauer then drove the left baseline and kicked out to sophomore Collin Stevens for a trey from two steps right of the top of the key to put the Cavs up 38-32 with 3:02 left in the game.
“That was a huge basket,” Elliott said of Stevens’ three. “That’s the way it’s been with this team; we’ve had different kids step up in key situations.”
Meanwhile, Clingler, a 6-foot-2 forward, scrapped his way to 10 points and five rebounds against a much bigger South Central frontline. He scored six consecutive points — with a near scuffle with an overaggressive Satellite on a defensive rebound sandwiched in the mix — to put Culver up 35-28 with 5:21 to go in the night.
“Larry’s a three-year post player who should be on the perimeter with his size,” Elliott said. “He works extremely hard on both ends of the floor; he does it for four quarters, and that’s huge. He plays a big role for us in the post at 6-2, going against guys 6-6, 6-7. That wears a body down after a half, but he keeps working the whole game.”
Also for the Cavs, freshman Trent Elliott added 11 points, highlighted by a pair of first-quarter triples against South Central’s 1-2-2 zone, and sophomore Micah Budzinski reeled in five caroms.
However, Culver stalled out a bit against the Satellites’ variety of second-half zones and turned the ball over 10 times after the intermission.
“We struggled to find any continuity in our offense,” Kyle Elliott said. “We were very stagnant. We did a little too much dribble and hold.”
Matt Walker scored a game-high 20 points with a boatload of drives to the hole to lead South Central.
“The Walker kid was able to break us down with dribble penetration,” the Culver skipper said. “That’s a little disappointing.”
Marcus Kammrath pulled in six rebounds before fouling out for South Central, which out-boarded the Cavs 24-19 — 10-2 on the offensive glass. Alex Clemons finished with three steals for the Satellites.
Culver heads to New Prairie Tuesday.
• CULVER COMMUNITY 45
SOUTH CENTRAL 39
Score by quarters
South Central: 15 23 29 45
Culver: 3 16 26 39
SOUTH CENTRAL (39): Alex Clemons 1 0-0 2, Matt Walker 7 6-9 20, Ricky Rigsby 0 0-0 0, Max Graham 1 0-1 2, Greg Girard 1 0-0 2, Luke Kitchell 3 1-2 7, Marcus Kammrath 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 16 7-12 39.
CULVER (45): AJ Neace 1 0-0 3, Scotty Brown 0 0-0 0, Kyle Vlach 0 0-0 0, Collin Stevens 1 0-0 3, Zoe Bauer 4 6-6 16, Trent Elliott 4 1-2 11, Jacoda Anderson 0 0-0 0, Patrick McBee 0 2-2 2, Micah Budzinski 0 0-0 0, Larry Clingler 3 4-5 10. TOTALS: 13 13-15 45.
3-point goals: South Central none, Culver 6 (Bauer 2, Elliott 2, Neace, Stevens); Turnovers: South Central 11, Culver 13; Rebounds: South Central 24 (Kammrath 6), Culver 19 (Budzinski, Clingler 5); Assists: South Central 7 (Clemons, Kitchell 2), Culver 9 (Bauer 5); Steals: South Central 9 (Clemons 3), Culver 3; Fouls (fouled out): South Central 17 (none), Culver 13 (none); Records: South Central 10-7, Culver 13-6.