Thrice as nice for Lady Cats in win over Cavs

HAMLET — There’s an expression that says there are few things tougher in sport than to beat a team three times in a single season.
Oregon-Davis repudiated that old claim in convincing fashion Wednesday night, handing Culver a 55-36 Sectional 51 loss in a quarterfinal at The Den.
The No. 4 Lady Cats’ margin of victory was even greater than the back-to-back wins they took from the Cavaliers Jan. 23 and 24 and gave OD the right to advance to face Westville in a semifinal Friday at 7 p.m. CT.
“We talked about that with the players, you’ve heard that over and over about beating a team three times, and it’s an expression like ‘running through a brick wall,’” said OD head coach Terry Minix. “You just have to get over it, and we just need to to out and execute and do the things that we need to do.”
For OD, that meant changing up their approach the third time around.
Instead of using relentless full court pressure to turn the game into a track meet as they did the first two times they faced Culver, the Cats showed some patience in the halfcourt, often going to a four corner set to finish at better than 50 percent with 21-of-41 field efficiency. Sophomore point guard Ashley Campbell was nearly unstoppable at 11 of 18 from the floor, scoring on backdoor cuts, from the lane and from the line as well as knocking down a pair of 3s on her way to a career-high 30 points — to go with a game-best seven steals — to lead the Cats to the sectional victory on their home court.
“Ashley, she’s one heck of a player,” said Minix. “She’s our floor leader, obviously. She’s one of our best players and lately she’s been our best player.”
“I think the least two games they beat us with their pressure. This game I thought we handled their pressure better, but we couldn’t stop Campbell,” said Culver head coach Tony Scheub. “She’s a good player. She scored from every which way, and we just couldn’t contain her.
“I think they beat us more in the halfcourt set with Campbell than they did off steals and run-outs.”
While OD changed up its style somewhat at the contest, Culver was forced to alter its approach, too.
The Cavs were hampered by the absence of 5-11 freshman center Mickella Hardy — sidelined with a knee injury sustained in a game at John Glenn last Friday — and were held to 13 of 35 (37 percent) from the field in the loss.
“We’re hoping for the best and hoping it’s not an ACL,” said Scheub. “That kind of hurt us because all season long we’ve been two guards and three post players. We tried to do a little more with four out, one in tonight. We had to change our philosophy a little bit, but I thought the kids did a good job of picking it up and running tonight.”
As Hardy sat the game out, OD saw the return of sophomore combo player Jesse Avarone, who put up 10 points with three assists seeing limited floor time after sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury she underwent in the Cats’ and Cavs’ first meeting in the Bi-County Tournament finals Jan. 23.
“It’s one of those things where she can’t let it bother her,” said Minix. “It’s one and done, and I think she understands that. Even when I took her out with about three minutes to play she said ‘Coach, I can still play.’”
Wednesday’s game remained tight through the first quarter as the two teams swapped leads three times. Culver was as close as one point at 15-14 at the 5:22 mark of the second quarter before Oregon-Davis closed out the half with a 14-5 run highlighted by a pair of triples from Campbell and Avarone to go up by 10 at the intermission.
It was still a 10-point ball game at 40-30 heading into the fourth, but the Cats held Culver to 2 of 10 in the final frame — both shots 3-pointers from Cavalier freshman point guard Tatum Schultz — as leading scorer Kayla Shaffer fouled out with 2:14 to go, and OD closed out the contest 15-6 to earn its third win of the season against Culver.
“We spread the floor a little bit, and I think they were getting a little tired,” said Minix of the fourth frame. “They were using five for the most part and we were using seven or eight. We condition pretty well, running up and down the floor, and I think we just wore them out a little bit.”
Culver was led by Shaffer’s 16 points with five rebounds and Schultz’s 12 points with four steals.
“That’s a good tandem to have, a freshman and sophomore, in Tatum and Kayla,” Scheub said. “I think the more they play together the more they’re going to feed off each other.”
Oregon-Davis moves on to play Westville — which beat Michigan City Marquette 42-34 in the late quarterfinal Wednesday — in the late semifinal Friday at 7 p.m. CST following a 5:30 semi between Argos and the defending sectional champion, seventh-ranked Triton Trojans.
Culver closes out the season at 9-13 after the program’s historic Class 2A regional championship run in 2011 prior to this year’s sectional realignment. The Cavs bid goodbye to one senior in guard Chelsey Jones.
“We talked in the locker room, and of our eight varsity kids, five scored their first varsity pouts this year,” said Scheub. “We’re very excited about our future, but OD and Triton and Argos aren’t losing much either. It’s almost survival of the fittest in this sectional right now, so you’ve got to work hard and get better every day.”
At Hamlet
Score by quarters
OD: 15 29 40 55
Culver: 11 19 30 36
OD (55): Katie Schwenk 0 1-2 1, Ashley Campbell 11 6-8 30, Alicia McIntosh 2 3-8 7, Kendra Sauer 1 0-0 2, Haley COllings 2 1-4 5, Ali Stout 0 0-0 0, Jesse Avarone 4 0-0 10, Ashley Clark 0 0-0 0, Lincy Jones 0 0-2 0; Totals: 20 11-24 55.
CULVER (36): Chelsey Jones 0 0-0 0, Ali Overmyer 2 0-0 4, Angella Lewellen 0 2-2 2, Tatum Schultz 4 1-2 12, Abby James 0 0-0 0, Donna Zehner 1 0-1 2, Kayla Shaffer 6 2-5 16; Totals: 13 5-10 36.
3-pointers: OD 4 (Campbell 2, Avarone 2), Culver 5 (Schultz 3, Shaffer 2); Turnovers: OD 24, Culver 33; Rebounds: OD 28 (Collings 8), Culver 23 (Zehner 6); Steals: OD 14 (Campbell 7), Culver 7 (Schultz 4); Assists: OD 12 (Avarone 3), Culver 3 (Jones, Schultz, Shaffer); Fouls (fouled out): OD 14 (none), Culver 21 (Shaffer).
Records: OD 18-4, Culver 9-13 (final)