By Rick Conrad For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — CULVER — The Winamac boys basketball team was in action for the first time since last Tuesday’s defeat at Rochester.
The result, on paper, was the same, this time a 60-54 loss to Culver. However, those that attended both games may attest that this looked like a totally different Winamac team taking the floor.
Numerous fouls and turnovers plagued the Warriors in their opener against the Zebras but what a difference a weeks worth of practice can do for a team. Instead of taking what their opponents sent their way, the Warriors dictated the game this time around.
In the opening frame the Cavs opened in a 2-3 zone that did not allow anything inside for the Warriors. So Winamac simply played patient ball until one of their sharpshooters found themselves open and then knocked down the shot. Five of their first six shots were from behind the arc and by the midway point of the quarter had built a 17-7 lead forcing Culver to take an early timeout.
Adam Gruening came off the Winamac bench and nailed 3 from long range in the first quarter allowing Winamac to take a 23-10 lead after one.
In the second quarter the Cavs went to playing man to man trying to take away the long ball. It was effective but the Winamac offense continued to show patience and were able to start finding things available inside. The teams basically traded buckets throughout the quarter but Culver did manage to cut into the lead by making it a Warrior lead 35-24 going into the break.
After playing a first half with few turnovers and few fouls, both began to appear in third quarter hindering the Warriors offense. In addition, late in the quarter the patience that Winamac had exhibited began to fade. Fortunately, Culver continued missing their shots but were dialing in on their trips to the free throw line allowing them to stay in the game. At the end of three it was still a 43-32 lead for the visitors.
The final quarter saw things fall apart for the Warriors. Turnovers, rushed shots and fouls plagued Winamac throughout the quarter. By the 3:41 mark Culver had taken a 45-43 lead. The next two minutes saw lead changes and ties before Culver put the game away from the free throw line in the 60-54 win.
For the game Culver shot just 38 percent from the field but was 25-30 from the free throw line for a blistering 83 percent. Winamac was just 35 percent from the field but was 10-23 from behind the arc and was just 8-16 from the line.
Gruenig led the Winamac attack with 18 points on six 3-pointers. Derek Dotlich was next with 11 while Jeremy Bentle and Parker Fox each chipped in 11.
“I thought we took a big leap forward tonight since our last game,” Winamac coach Kyle Johnson said. “We cut down on our turnovers and we made some shots. We did get into foul trouble tonight and we went nine deep on the bench with guys getting a lot of minutes.
“During halftime we talked about getting them to play some long periods on defense. Unfortunately we had some guys take some shots with no passes or maybe one pass in the second half giving them more opportunities on offense. We also didn’t knock down our free throws. I’ve got to do a better job of getting them some at practice and put them in a position to win the game.”
Winamac (0-2) hosts Argos on Friday. Culver moved to 4-0.