Culver falls in OT regional heartbreaker

BOURBON — In games as close as Culver Community’s regional showdown with North White, outcomes are decided in inches.
Alex Graham’s missed corner 3 was tipped once, twice, three times towards the rim in a hopper underneath the Culver basket, but the ball ultimately rattled out in a heartbreaking 70-69 overtime loss for the Cavaliers.
The Vikings eventually lost out in the Triton Regional championship to Marquette Catholic 79-49.
“You can’t leave with nothing in that close a ballgame. You’ve got to make sure its a positive outcome on those possessions, and that’s what it came down to,” said Culver head coach Kyle Elliott.
“We got back into overtime, got the shot we wanted, got the offensive rebound, just couldn’t get the ball to fall.”
Perhaps the game’s most important momentum swing occurred with 55.9 seconds remaining in regulation as Culver’s Trent Elliott — who scored a game-high 32 points highlighted by a pair of slams — was whistled for his fifth foul when Ty Mattix took a big charge from the Cavaliers senior. Jacoda Anderson blocked a layup attempt from Drake Fleck with 4.8 seconds on the clock to force overtime.
“I was very disappointed to say the least,” said Kyle Elliott. “I thought it was very clear that they were in foul mode; that they were wanting to foul, and I felt as though the contact led Trent into the other defensive player, which led to the charge.”
Culver jumped out to a narrow 64-62 lead in OT as Everett Krueger and Preston Hansel each split a pair of layups, but Luke Diener’s triple from the top of the key put North White out in front, 65-64. Krueger answered back with a triple of his own from the corner to give Culver back a narrow 67-65 advantage, but Connor Cain’s putback reknotted the score at 67-all. Anderson’s lay-in from the low post with 51.8 seconds to go gave the Cavs a 69-67 lead, but Diener’s traditional three-point play with 28.1 seconds left in OT wound up being the difference-maker.
“I’m so proud of these kids. I’m disappointed for them not to get this. We’d like to be in that championship. It wasn’t a lack of heart, it was a lack of shots falling,” said Elliott.
While Elliott finished with 32, Krueger put up 19 and Anderson tacked on 11 in the season-ending loss for Culver.
North White was led by Diener’s 21, followed by 18 and 16 points, respectively, from Dalton and Drake Fleck.
Culver closed out the year with the second most wins in school history with a final record of 16-8 and just the school’s third-ever sectional championship following the Cavs’ 56-49 win over Argos in the Sectional 51 championship at home last Saturday. The team bids goodbye to a trio of seniors in Elliott, Anderson and guard Jordan Sanders.
“We’ve got three great seniors that have made this a great season. Second most wins in school history, a sectional championship,” said Culver’s boss. “As I was telling the guys on the radio, the most important thing is these are good kids and they’re going to be successful after graduation in whatever endeavor they choose to go. They’re great kids and they work hard, and they’ve been roll models for our basketball program.”
At Triton Regional
North White: 11 25 6 20 8 — 70
Culver: 19 10 20 13 7 — 69
CULVER (69): Alex Graham 2, Everett Krueger 19, Jordan Sanders 0, Preston Hansel 5, Trent Elliott 32, Jacoda Anderson 11; Totals: 23 16-20 69.
NORTH WHITE (70): Drake Fleck 16, Dalton Fleck 18, Ty Mattix 0, Luke Diener 21, Jeff Boedel 3, Caleb Hendress 0, Connor Cain 6, Levi Diener 2, Oscar Maravilla 4; Totals: 24 12-18 70.
3-pointers: Culver 7 (Elliott 4, Krueger 3), North White 10 (Dalton Fleck 5, Diener 4, Broedel); Rebounds: Culver 32 (Anderson 11, Hansel 9), North White 25 (Cain 8); Turnovers: Culver 15, North White 9; Assists: Culver 8 (Sanders 3, Anderson 3), North White 7 (Drake Fleck 2, Diener 4); Total fouls (fouled out): Culver 20 (Elliott), North White 16 (Da. Fleck).
Records: North White 17-8. Culver finishes 16-8.