Stevens steps up in Cavs’ win over West Central

CULVER — Culver Community’s Collin Stevens selected a perfect time to unveil his offensive capabilities. 
With Culver senior standout Zoe Bauer’s open glances at a minimum, Stevens connected for 12 of his 15 points during the second half to help the Cavs to a 52-46 boys basketball win over visiting West Central at John R. Nelson Gymnasium Saturday.
“Collin Stevens was the difference in the ball game in the second half,” Culver head coach Kyle Elliott said. “Collin Stevens stepped up his offensive play, and he played a great game defensively. He played a great floor game at both ends.”
Stevens, a 5-foot-8 sophomore guard, mixed up his attack, scoring off right-handed drives to the bucket and stopping and popping from the baseline. His driving basket with 1:16 left in the third frame put the Cavs up 31-26, just moments after the Trojans sliced Culver’s lead to three — the narrowest margin of the entire second half.
Stevens also notched Culver’s first basket — a bank shot from the left wing with 5:25 to go in the opening quarter — which put the Cavs up for good.
“Collin shied away from shooting against Rochester in the first game of the season,” Elliott said. “He has a lot of offensive skills, and we told him he had to be more aggressive. He had a great summer where he looked to do those things; not just dribble penetration, but the 3 and jump shots. He was very hesitant against Rochester. To see him come out and play completely different tonight was good to see. He was an offensive option that (West Central) wasn’t expecting.”
Meanwhile, Bauer, honored prior to the tip-off for reaching the 1,000-point plateau during last season’s sectional, scored 10 of his hard-earned game-high 16 points in the contest’s final 6:19. A 6-for-8 showing from the charity stripe over a concluding 1:07 that crept along at a snail’s pace buoyed his totals and put the Cavs up by 11 points on three separate occasions. He also yanked down five rebounds and dished out three assists.
Even so, Bauer never quite looked comfortable. With Zach Miller and Jake Smidler taking turns shadowing him, the Culver sniper finished 5 of 16 from the field, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range.
“We had two kids — Zach Miller and Jake Smidler — that did a good job keeping (Bauer) from getting clean looks,” West Central head coach Bryan Heimlich said. “The problem is (Culver) had other kids who stepped up. They had a couple of putbacks and Stevens had a great game. We couldn’t find anybody to stop him.”