by Beau Wicker
Culver’s girls basketball team has a young, talented and tall group under the tutelage of first-year coach Gina Hierlmeier, the former coach at West Central.
But Tuesday night the Winamac Warriors were able to surge ahead of the Cavaliers in the second half and hold on for a solid 44-38 victory on the road.
“It was a whale of a game for us because they’re a good team,” Winamac coach Jeff Wagner said.
Jessica Schramm, who led the Warriors (2-0) with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer to open the second half to give Winamac a 19-16 lead, and they never trailed the rest of the way.
A Schramm three-point play gave the Warriors a 29-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The lead got as big as 38-31 after two Stephanie Shorter free throws with 2:43 remaining.
But Culver (1-1) cut the lead to 40-38 on a Kayla Shaffer 3-pointer with :25 left.
Bethany Brogdon then broke Culver’s press and was shoved to the ground, and Culver was called for an intentional foul. Brogdon hit both free throws with :12 left, and Schramm hit two more freebies to cap the scoring.
Brogdon finished with 14 points, and Shorter had 12 points and eight rebounds. Whitney Hook chipped in five assists and five rebounds, and Megan Ruff added two points and six boards.
Winamac trailed 16-8 in the first half before ending the half with an 8-0 run over the final 4:52.
The Warriors’ offensive execution was sharper in the second half when they scored 28 points.
“I think we were a little more under control,” Wagner said. “We started the game, we were a little over the top, we were kind of out of control. We got those two early fouls on our starters [Shorter and Hook].”
The Warriors went with their starting lineup the entire second half. Shorter picked up her fourth foul with 4:01 remaining but was able to avoid a fifth.
“We’re going to get some people back here after a while, so we’re going to have the ability to maybe put some bigger people inside there and help Shorter and Ruff out a little bit,” Wagner said.
Winamac shot 16 of 17 from the foul line including 11 of 11 in the second half.
Shaffer led the Cavaliers with 17 points, and Tatum Schultz added 10.
“I really like our defense matched up against with what they had going on inside,” Wagner said. “They were trying to feed the ball to the [Mickella] Hardy girl. I’m very happy with the way we played there.
“The Hardy girl is still coming back from an ACL, so they’ll be better by the end of the year, they’ll be a lot better. They’ll have a good chance at a sectional.”
Culver is now in Class A, so the two rivals, who had memorable matchups in sectional play in recent years, won’t meet again this season.
Winamac hosts Rensselaer Friday.
Tri-Central 40, Cass 38
The Kings were edged at home to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Cass rallied from a 35-25 deficit after three quarters to nearly force overtime.
“We tried to make a comeback, we just fell short,” Cass coach Erin Modisett said. “We had a shot at it, we just missed too many easy baskets.
“It was a very valid effort.”
Maci Maupin led the Kings with 13 points. Maddie Eurit had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Bre Robertson added eight points and nine boards.
Cass trailed 21-16 at halftime.
The Kings travel to Eastern Saturday for their Mid-Indiana Conference opener.
Rochester 54, Caston 46
The Comets (2-1) were handed their first loss of the season at Rochester (1-1).
“There were two key points in the game that determined the outcome,” Caston coach Carl Davis said. “In the first quarter we kept letting the Paulik girl get offensive rebounds, and she scored 10 of their 12 points to keep them in the game. If we don’t give up offensive rebounds, that’s a different score.
“At the end of the second quarter we were up 22-18, and they closed with a 12-0 run. Then they opened the second half with an 8-0 run. It’s a situation where we were looking for them to full-court pressure us from start to finish, and when they put it on we got flustered and lost our poise, and our turnovers led to easy buckets for them. We got down by 14 in the second half and cut the lead to four or five points but had to foul at the end.”
Ingrid Martinez led the Comets with 18 points. Marli Leazenby scored 11, Mickayla Rans had seven and Anna Brown added five.
“It was the same group we lost to 50-15 last year, and Rochester is not an easy place to play,” Davis said. “Ingrid did a good job taking the ball to the basket, and Marli hit some big shots. Sarah Holt, Adrienne Frye and Mickayla Rans did a great job of setting screens, which is just as important as knocking down the shots.”
N. Miami 44, Pioneer 35
The Panthers dropped to 0-2 with the loss at North Miami.
The Panthers evened the game at 27-all entering the fourth quarter but were outplayed in the final stanza.
“We had too many turnovers. They were huge,” Pioneer coach David McWherter said. “I’m not sure about the official number, but I think we had over 30. We just could not take care of the ball. A lot of them felt like unforced errors. North Miami played well, no doubt they played well, but for us turnovers were the key.”
Gabby Dunlap led the Panthers with 14 points. Kayte Miller had six, Mati DeWitt scored five and Megan Smith and Sarah Dorris added four apiece.
“Gabby did a really nice job of getting herself in position on the court to get opportunities to score,” McWherter said. “She did a nice job inside and on the perimeter. A lot of the buckets she got were by setting screens and being the second cutter.”