- Val T.
Keller scores 12, helps Culver beat O-D for 3rd time
Cavaliers advance to face Marquette Catholic in sectional final
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
BOURBON — Ethan Keller scored six of his game-high 12 points in the fourth quarter, and the Culver boys basketball team overcame foul trouble to starting center Shane Shuman to beat Oregon-Davis 40-24 in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 semifinal at the Trojan Trench at Triton Saturday morning.
Culver improved to 12-12 and advanced to play No. 10 Marquette Catholic in the final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Marquette Catholic beat Argos 51-44 in the other semifinal Saturday morning.
Caleb Seese scored seven points to lead Oregon-Davis, who finished 2-21 and who lost to Culver for the third time this season.
Culver made 18 of 31 free throws while Oregon-Davis made just 4 of 13.
The Cavalier’s trapping zone defense held the Bobcats to 23 percent shooting and forced 25 turnovers. This marked the sixth time that O-D scored fewer than 30 points in a game, and Culver was responsible for two of those. They also beat O-D 59-40 on Jan. 20 at LaVille in a Bi-County consolation game and 45-26 on Jan. 30.
“I thought it was solid,” Culver coach Kyle Evans said of his team’s defense. “Had some fouls that I wasn’t pleased with from some of our guys that we need to clean up to make sure we don’t get in foul trouble tonight, but overall, I thought we defended passing lanes really well. We pressured the ball, and we rebounded fairly decent.”
Much of Culver’s defense involves trapping any ballhandler who gives up his dribble, especially if it’s near the sideline.
“We were just playing our defense,” Keller said. “We play hard. We try to make defense our offense – turnovers into points.”
Shuman, who scored 16 points in Culver’s win over Trinity Greenlawn Tuesday in the quarterfinals, picked up his third foul with 4:49 left in the first half. He accrued his fourth foul with 4:24 left in the third quarter and Culver leading by four, yet with him on the bench for seven minutes, Culver built the lead to 13.
Shuman eventually fouled out with 1:13 left, but by then, Culver had a 19-point lead.
They led by double figures the entire fourth quarter.
Culver went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter after a driving banker from the right wing from Seese cut the Culver lead to 14-13.
Shuman split a pair of free throws to start the run. Emiliano Ortiz scored on a driving bank from the high post. Seese missed two free throws, and Keller drove down the lane and kicked out to Hite, who buried a 3-pointer from the left corner.
Keller’s two free throws with 2:37 left in the quarter extended the lead to nine, and when Oliver Morgan line-drived a trey from the left corner, the lead was up to 25-13.
Evans said that his team had better floor spacing with Shuman out.
“The biggest thing is obviously, most of our offense goes through Shane, but the other five guys have the ability to play, and Shane draws so much attention in the paint,” Evans said. “Sometimes it takes away the ability of everybody else to have that freedom to play. When you take him out, we can spread teams out and go with our five-out look and motion, and we can be pretty darn good. And I think that’s what we saw there. It just opened up a lane for drives and back cuts and all those sort of things.
“It’s nothing against Shane. It’s just how much respect he gets from other teams that he clogs up the paint, but other guys stepped up when he came out, and that’s why we had that success.”
A Carson Matthew free throw and another driving banker from Seese cut the lead to nine, but Hite made two free throws with 1:10 left in the quarter, and Keller got the lead to 13 when he hit a 12-foot pullup jumper in the lane with three seconds left.
Keller also made six of eight free throws in the fourth quarter.
“There was more driving,” Keller said of the adjustments due to Shuman’s foul trouble. “I can’t really look into the post when you don’t have a post player out there. So there’s more driving, but it opened the lane up because we could space out well.”
Culver jumped out to a 10-1 lead, before O-D rallied to tie the game at 11 on a Matthew free throw with 1:28 left in the half.
Culver took the lead back for good at 13-11 on Joey Pizur’s putback with 1:13 left. Pizur finished with seven points and a team-high 10 rebounds as he continued to thrive despite picking up three fouls himself in the first quarter.
The semifinals were postponed from Friday night to Saturday morning due to a snowstorm. Sectional 50 was one of 25 statewide knocked off schedule by the weather and one of 10 that was playing both its semifinals and final on Saturday.
Culver 40, Oregon-Davis 24
OREGON-DAVIS (24) (2-21)
Cashton Swanson 0 0-0 0, Connor Frazier 2 1-2 5, Ethan Huitt 0 0-0 0, Connor Danford 1 0-0 3, Caleb Seese 3 1-5 7, Keegan Garland 2 0-0 5, Connor Matthew 0 0-0 0, Brayden MacMillan 0 0-0 0, Brady Danford 0 0-0 0, Carson Matthew 1 2-6 4
TEAM: 9 4-13 24
CULVER (40) (12-12)
Ethan Keller 2 8-10 12, Emiliano Ortiz 3 2-4 8, Oliver Morgan 1 0-2 3, Joey Pizur 2 3-7 7, Shane Shuman 0 2-4 2, David Hite 1 3-4 6, Logan Caudill 1 0-0 2, Jonas McCuen 0 0-0 0, Caleb McCuen 0 0-0 0, Adam Peterson 0 0-0 0, Ethan Binion 0 0-0 0, James Salyer 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 10 18-31 40
Three-point field goals:
Oregon-Davis 2 (Garland, C. Danford),
Culver 2 (Hite, Morgan)
Total fouls: Oregon-Davis 26, Culver 15
Fouled out: Shuman (CUL), 1:16, fourth
Turnovers: Oregon-Davis 25, Culver 20
Score by quarters
Oregon-Davis 3 8 5 8 – 24
Culver 10 3 16 11 – 40