Dunlap scores 15, Shepherd 11 in Bell game win
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
CULVER –- By the end, the Argos girls basketball team’s scoreless first quarter against host Culver at John R. Nelson Gymnasium Monday turned out to be a distant memory.
Emma Dunlap scored 15 points, and Sydney Shepherd scored all 11 of her points in the second half to lead the Lady Dragons to a 41-26 win.
Madi VanDerWeele scored seven of her nine points in the second half. The Culver packed-in zone defense held Lizzy Edmonds to four points, but she did contribute 13 rebounds.
Argos, who was coming off a loss to Oak Hill Saturday, improved to 7-8. Culver lost their fourth straight and fell to 4-7.
Argos beat Culver for the seventh straight time and posed for pictures with the Bell at center court after the game.
Maddie Shedrow, Culver’s senior lead guard, scored a game-high 16 points, even after picking up three first-half fouls. She scored 10 of the Lady Cavs’ 13 points in the second half.
But it wasn’t enough to overcome Argos’ marksmanship in the second half. Shepherd and Dunlap combined to make four 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Shepherd’s trey with 4:33 left in the quarter put Argos ahead for good at 20-18 and triggered an 8-0 run. Dunlap hit a 3, and Edmonds knocked down a 15-footer from the left elbow.
Shepherd said that it helped that they shot at the basket in front of their own bench in the second half.
“The first half, I feel like we just had a little bit of jitters,” Shepherd said. “We shot a lot of shots, but nothing was falling. We talked about it in the locker room, and we just finally decided we’re on our side (of the court), and we just needed to start hitting. … They played a sagging 2-3 defense on us, which left the whole perimeter open for us to make some 3s.”
Still, Culver climbed back within 27-24 on Shedrow’s long 3-pointer with 7:18 left. But that was Culver’s last field goal as Argos closed on a 14-2 run.
Bella Stults scored her only basket on a 15-footer off an Edmonds assist after an offensive rebound. Shepherd’s third trey of the half got the lead to eight. A driving deuce by Dunlap, a transition bucket by Dunlap and a VanDerWeele bucket in the post got the lead to 38-24.
“They hit shots,” Culver first-year coach Shane Lowry said. “They got into that game. I just think hitting a few of those big shots brought up their level of confidence, and then they just started playing a little bit better defense. We haven’t been in a lot of games like that, and we kind of let them dictate off of their momentum. We just talked to them where if something like that happens, you’ve got to get it together. Step in as a team and just say hey, we’re going to take control of this and get it back.”
The comeback came after Argos fell behind 6-0 after one quarter. The Culver 2-3 zone gave Argos open looks that they couldn’t hit. Meanwhile, Baleogh Binkley hit a 3-pointer, and Shedrow had a 3-point play.
But Dunlap hit a 3, and VanDerWeele scored on a putback to give Argos their first lead at 14-13 with 6:55 left in the third quarter.
“We had some players finally step up and get a little confidence in that second half,” Jennings said. “Between Syd and Emma, they knocked down some shots, and even Madi knocked down a couple shots, and that helped a bunch. They were collapsing on Liz down low. She wasn't getting a lot of looks, but she wasn’t hitting her shots either. When that happens, we’ve got to rely on somebody else, and a couple of them stepped up tonight.”
Shepherd did not come out for basketball this year. But she decided over the summer she wanted to play again, and she said Jennings has changed the players’ work habits. The work habits have also led to better team chemistry, according to Shepherd.
“I’m glad he did,” Shepherd said when asked about Jennings convincing her to play. “Because I feel like I definitely would have regretted it this year being this is my last year. But he definitely has pushed us further than what any other coach has, in my opinion. We work super hard. There were two weeks where we were quarantined, and while we were quarantining, he made sure we all got on Zoom, so we did workouts, and there was a week last week where we just worked our tails off just running and getting in condition because he wants us to be the best team on the floor.”
Culver was hit with an administrative technical foul in the second quarter due to a scorebook error that led to a five-point Argos possession – three Dunlap free throws and an Edmonds putback of her own miss – that trimmed the Culver lead from 11-4 to 11-9.
But Lizzie Banks tossed in a high-arching 15-footer at the halftime horn to extend the lead back to four.
“It’s a Bell game,” Lowry said. “It’s a rivalry game. I thought we came out in the first two quarters and did what we had to do. A bench mistake gave them a little momentum. It happens.”
Culver took the JV game 28-24. Grace Sieber and Kaylee Hamilton scored seven points each, and Maisy McCuen scored six to lead a balanced Culver attack. Avery Garland had four, and Luci Overmyer and Olivia Compton had two each.
Aleasia Sarver led the Argos JV with six points. Cailey Markley and Hannah Hurford had five each, and Amanda Fajardo and Samantha Redinger had three each. Sophia Austin had two.
Argos’ Bi-County Tournament first round game against New Prairie next Monday has been canceled. New Prairie’s program is currently on a coronavirus-related pause. Argos will advance in the Bi-County bracket and will play either Bremen or Culver in the semifinals.
Argos is 7-1 in their last eight games. Their opponent has failed to score 30 points in six of those eight games.
The sectional is Feb. 2-6 at Oregon-Davis.
Argos 41, Culver 26
ARGOS (41) (7-8)
Sydney Shepherd 4 0-0 11, Emma Dunlap 5 3-5 15, Sophie Bollenbacher 0 0-0 0, Madi VanDerWeele 4 1-2 9, Lizzy Edmonds 2 0-0 4, Samantha Redinger 0 0-0 0, Bella Stults 1 0-0 2, Carleigh Miller 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 16 4-7 41
CULVER (26) (4-7)
Baleigh Binkley 1 0-0 3, Maddie Shedrow 5 3-3 16, Lizzie Pugh 0 0-0 0, Kenzie Banks 1 0-0 2, Alina Pizur 0 2-2 2, Grace Sieber 0 0-0 0, Maegan Pearl 0 0-0 0, Luci Overmyer 1 0-0 3, Avery Garland 0 0-0 0, Maisy McCuen 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 8 5-5 26
Three-point field goals:
Argos 5 (Shepherd 3, Dunlap 2),
Culver 5 (Shedrow 3, Binkley, Overmyer)
Total fouls: Argos 6, Culver 15
Turnovers: Argos 7, Culver 16
Score by quarters
Argos 0 9 18 14 – 41
Culver 6 7 8 5 – 26
JV: Culver 28, Argos 24
The Argos girls basketball team celebrates with the Bell following their 41-26 win over Culver at John R. Nelson Gymnasium Monday. Argos won despite not scoring in the first quarter.