CULVER — Culver Community’s boys basketball team attempted quality shots almost from the opening tip Tuesday.
Once the second quarter rolled around those shots really started falling.
The host Cavs rattled off 11 unanswered second-frame points to construct a double-digit advantage and nailed 9-of-11 tries from the floor in the third stanza to put away a 64-31 Class A Sectional 51 first-round win over LaCrosse at John R. Nelson Gymnasium.
Culver advances to a Friday semifinal bout against six-time defending sectional champion Triton at 6:30 p.m. Argos and South Central follow at 8 p.m.
“I thought we came close to playing four quarters tonight,” Culver head coach Kyle Elliott, whose team held LaCrosse to a 26-percent clip from the field, said. “It was nice to follow up the Bremen game (a 70-50 victory Friday) with another good effort. I thought we defended well all game.
“Early in the game we had some good shots down inside that we missed and some good perimeter looks, too that we missed,” he added. “In the second quarter, especially we were able to create a little offense with our defense. We were able to get some paint touches as well. We wanted to go to the inside and get our 3 looks on kickouts.”
Culver senior standout Trent Elliott erupted for a game-high 28 points — including a quartet of treys in the first 11 minutes of the game against the Tigers’ 2-3 zone — ripped down 10 rebounds, handed out six assists, and blocked a pair of shots.
Senior center Jacoda Anderson hit 6-of-8 tries from the field as part of a 14-point, 10-board performance for the Cavs. His flying dunk off a backdoor lob from Trent Elliott put Culver up 26-14 with 3:06 left in the first half.
“It was a complete team effort,” the Culver skipper said. “We play six kids with our five starters and Alex Graham off the bench, and I thought every one of them contributed in a positive way.”
Sophomore guard Everett Krueger chipped in nine points and four assists for Culver. Meanwhile, junior Preston Hansel added seven points and six rebounds, highlighted by an offensive rebound bucket to give the Cavs the lead for good with 3:55 left in the initial stanza.
“Preston Hansel did a nice job defensively on (Bryce) Guse,” Kyle Elliott said. “Guse is a good player. He hit some tough shots, but Preston made him earn them.”
After battling a turnover bug at times this season, Culver played a turnover-free first half and finished the evening with just six miscues while piling up 16 assists as a team.
The Cavs also out-rebounded the Tigers 39-26 and cashed in on numerous transition opportunities.
“That’s been a point of emphasis,” Kyle Elliott said of protecting the basketball. “We have to value each possession, and turnovers have hurt us and led to some losses. I was very pleased with the kids’ shot selection and pass selection. We’ve told them if you put yourself in a positive situation positive things will happen. I’m happy with the way our kids shared the basketball.”
Guse, who buried four long triples, led the way for LaCrosse with 18 points. Zach Brown ripped down a game-best 13 rebounds for the Tigers, and point guard Austin Harris dished out five assists.
CLASS A SECTIONAL 51
CULVER COMMUNITY 64, LaCROSSE 31
LaCrosse: 10 17 24 31
Culver: 13 32 50 64
LaCROSSE (31): Nate Rhodes 0 0-0 0, Ryan Kiel 0 0-0 0, Bryce Guse 7 0-0 18, Austin Harris 2 2-2 7, Andrew McCormick 0 0-0 0, Bobby Claypool 1 0-0 2, Jared Spoljaric 0 0-0 0, Zach Brown 1 0-4 2, Jeremy Johnson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 12 2-6 31.
CULVER (64): Alex Graham 1 0-0 2, Everett Krueger 3 1-2 9, Jordan Sanders 2 0-0 4, Westin Bush 0 0-0 0, Preston Hansel 2 3-6 7, Trent Elliott 12 0-1 28, Jacoda Anderson 6 2-3 14, Cody Valiquet 0 0-0 0, Brendon Pinder 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 26 6-12 64.
3-point goals: LaCrosse 5 (Guse 4, Harris), Culver 6 (Elliott 4, Krueger 2); Turnovers: LaCrosse 13, Culver 6; Rebounds: LaCrosse 26 (Brown 13), Culver 39 (Elliott, Anderson 10); Assists: LaCrosse 5 (Harris 5), Culver 16 (Elliott 6); Steals: LaCrosse 1, Culver 1; Fouls (fouled out): LaCrosse11 (none), Culver 6 (none); Records: LaCrosse 3-17 (final), Culver 14-7.