Culver run takes senior night win over Bremen

Kia Riale goes for two in Culver's win over Bremen
Rusty Nixon
Sports Editor

It’s been a long February for Culver’s Cavs as they started off the month with promise taking a win but after four straight losses they were able to get out of the month with a senior night victory over Bremen in the final seconds 49-46.
“I’m really happy for our kids, especially our seniors,” said Culver coach Tom Krueger. “Plain and simple we had guys fighting every possession tonight and that makes a difference. I’ve challenged my seniors lately and that was great intensity early in the game. Even though we were struggling to score they kept up the defensive intensity and sometimes that’s a hard thing to do.”
Defensive intensity was the mark of a first half in which neither team could break the 20 point mark or gain any real advantage in momentum.
Out of the locker room the game changed completely with both offenses opening up and Bremen getting the better of it stretching their lead to 13 at one point early in the fourth quarter.
Justin Zumbrun led the charge for the Lions with 11 of his 13 points in the third quarter. But then things changed drastically when the Cavs turned up the heat in the fourth quarter defensively.
Employing a half court trapping zone Culver was able to force eight crucial turnovers down the stretch that would be the difference in the game.
“That’s been our Achilles heel all year is turnovers at the wrong time,” said Bremen boss Jerry Smith. “One time a guy doesn’t look the ball into his hands it goes out of bounds. Another one the trap is coming and he dribbles behind his back, loses it out of bounds. Once they made a little run we got tight.”
“We lost that intensity for a little bit and they were able to spread it out, but we went back to being more physical with them and thats the way we have to play,” said Krueger. “With the schedule they play they play a lot faster teams than we can play and I wasn’t sure, but we had to try something. The kids did a great job. We got burned the first time on it and I don’t know that they got another good look the rest of the game.”
“I hope it’s inexperience not being in tight games, but there is really no reason for it,” said Smith. “You can’t turn it over on a good team’s home court when it’s their senior night and everybody’s pumped.”
Kept pretty much out of the scoring column for three quarters, Culver’s dynamic duo of Kia Riale and RT Roberts were able to combine for 19 points in the critical final five minutes to help the Cavs to the win.
Riale’s three with 1:10 to play put the Cavs within one and a free throw by Lance Keller tied it seconds later. A running jumper on the baseline by Roberts gave Culver their first lead since the first basket of the game with 9.7 seconds to play.
The Culver defense turned away a last Lion drive to the basket for the win.
“We got a lot of hand checking fouls in the second half and got them in the bonus, we never got to the free throw line in the second half. We just settled,” said Smith. “The kids work hard for me. They’ve worked hard all year but we need to start learning. They have to want to step up and take care of the ball in those crucial situations. Hopefully we learn.”
Culver is now 4-18 on the season and opens sectional play on their home court against South Bend Career Academy in game one on Wednesday.
“You have to tell your kids that if they play this way they’ve got a shot at this,” said Krueger. “And they do. They’re playing on their home court in front of their crowd. Anything can happen.”
Bremen is now 5-17 with an opening round game Tuesday night at Westview.
“We need to learn from this, because we open the sectional with Whitko,” said Smith. “They’re long, they’ve got good shooters. We’ll have to play well.”
At Culver
Culver 2 12 25 49
Bremen 5 19 33 46
Bremen (46) - Caldwell 2 1-2 6, Slot 5 1-2 11, Wunder 0 1-2 1, Zumbrun 6 0-0 13, Willis 2 0-0 5, Manges 1 0-0 3, Feldman 3 1-2 7. Totals 19 4-8 46.
Culver (49) - Valiquet 1 1-1 3, Roberts 5 4-6 14, Ziaja 1 0-0 2, Keller 0 1-2 1, Riale 2 3-4 16, Shuman 5 0-2 10, Jones 1 1-2 3. Totals 18 10-17 49.
3 Pt. FG - Bremen 4-13 (Caldwell, Zumbrun, Willis, Feldman), Culver 3-8 (Riale 3).
Rebounds - Bremen 17 (Wunder 6), Culver 19 (Roberts 7).
Steals - Bremen 8 (Caldwell 4), Culver 10 (Riale 4).
Assists - Bremen 9 (Caldwell, Ginter 3), Culver 5 (Roberts, Keller 2).
Turnovers - Bremen 17, Culver 18.
Fouls (Fouled out) - Bremen 17, Culver 12.