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  • Val T.

Culver commits 33 turnovers in Bi-County loss to LaVille

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

LAKEVILLE — The Culver girls basketball team came into their Bi-County Tournament quarterfinal against host LaVille at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium Wednesday “sicker than dogs,” according to co-coach A.J. Neace.

LaVille’s pressure defense was no cure, forcing 33 turnovers as they pulled away to claim a 41-26 win.

Nobody on either team scored in double figures. Lily Smith, Mackena Deason, Brooke Edison and Ava Weil scored eight points each for LaVille.

Despite being under siege from the LaVille pressure, senior point guard Grace Sieber led Culver with eight points. Amiyah Williams had six points and 15 rebounds.

“We’ve all got a flu or a cold or a cough or something like that,” Neace said.

LaVille improved to 7-10, and they will meet New Prairie in the semifinals at 8 p.m. today at LaVille. Culver dropped to 4-13, and they will play Bremen in a consolation game at 8 p.m. today in the LaVille auxiliary gym.

Culver trailed 18-11 at halftime and got within five points twice in the second half, the last time at 21-16 with 2:49 left in the third quarter when Sieber found Williams for a layup.

But LaVille went to their back screen play twice in a row, and Weil found Deason twice in a row for layups. A driving banker from Weil and two Weil free throws with 12.3 seconds left capped the 8-0 run.

Meanwhile, Culver committed 12 turnovers in the third quarter alone as players like Mikalah Kuskye continued to pester Culver ballhandlers.

“I think a lot of it was our part,” Neace said when asked how much of the turnover issues had to do with LaVille’s defense and how much had to do with his team’s sloppiness. “There’s a couple times there when they came out in their fullcourt press, and I took Grace out, and our girls didn’t really know what to do or where to get the ball to.

“The refs let us play. I thought it was getting chippy there, and a couple calls could have been foul calls on our turnovers, but we need to take better care of the ball.”

Sieber hit a running 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 29-19, but it stayed in double figures the entire fourth quarter.

Neace, a 2011 Culver grad who coaches the team with his older brother Adam, said he is demanding of Sieber.

“Yes, at times, she does get frustrated, but that’s the life of a point guard,” Neace said. “I played point guard when I was in school, so I am harder on her than anybody else because I know what she can do and what I expect from her. She puts a lot of pressure on herself too. As the captain and one of the two returning varsity basketball players, she expects everything has to go through her, and when she realizes that she can get her teammates involved, it makes her job a heck of a lot easier.”

LaVille coach Nick Amor said “defense is what got it done.” He said the challenge in defending Culver is that Sieber is capable of driving to the basket, but if you help off shooters like Maddy Hamilton, Elexa O’Brien and Brianna Schlemmer to stop Sieber, then that could leave the spot-up shooters with open looks.

“Culver does have some threats at the 3-point line, and so we had to close out hard, and it’s hard to pinch on a driver when you’ve got threats at the 3-point line,” Amor said. “So (we were) playing that passing lane, getting those gaps and making sure that we were in the right position to be able to help our teammate but also close it out.”

The teams will meet again at LaVille on Jan. 27 in their Hoosier North meeting.

LaVille 41, Culver 26

CULVER (26) (4-13)

Grace Sieber 2 3-5 8, Maddy Hamilton 1 0-0 3, Elexa O’Brien 1 1-2 4, Brooke Davis 1 0-0 2, Amiyah Williams 2 2-2 6, Giselle Villegas 0 0-0 0, Brianna Schlemmer 1 0-0 3

TEAM: 8 6-9 26

LAVILLE (41) (7-10)

Lily Smith 3 0-0 8, Ava Weil 2 4-5 8, Mikalah Kuskye 2 0-0 4, London Kwiatkowski 1 1-2 3, Brooke Edison 3 2-6 8, Mackena Deason 3 2-2 8, Jasmine Foster 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 15 9-15 41

Three-point field goals:

Culver 4 (Sieber, O’Brien, Hamilton, Schlemmer),

LaVille 2 (Smith 2)

Total fouls: Culver 12, LaVille 11

Fouled out: Kwiatkowski (LV), :33.8, fourth

Turnovers: Culver 33, LaVille 15

Score by quarters

Culver 8 3 8 7 26

LaVille 10 8 11 12 41


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