Owasso is East's top seed
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Monday, February 11, 2013
2/11/13 at 3:50 AM
OWASSO - With Owasso's Shake Milton and Jaylen Lowe each averaging 20 points per game, opponents tend to overlook the Rams' other starting guard, Avery Culbertson.
And that usually is a mistake as was demonstrated in the Rams' victory over Bartlesville on Thursday.
With 1:20 left, Owasso led by five and broke the press with a skip pass to Culbertson in the right corner. Instead of trying to dribble away some time, Culbertson fired up a 3-pointer and swished it to clinch the victory.
"Those are the things he does and you're just like, 'oh, my goodness,' " Owasso coach Mark Vancuren said. "He has the green light and he's done a great job of knowing when and when not to shoot. He caught that pass in rhythm and it's what we do 100 times a day. It felt natural to him. It's as good as a layup the way we practice that.
"He has ice water in his veins. When we need free throws, he steps up and hits free throws."
Culbertson refers to the 3-pointer from the corner as "his favorite shot."
"I like it when they leave me open," Culbertson said.
Culbertson, a 5-foot-8 senior who averages 10 points per game, has delivered in many clutch situations for the 6A No. 4 Rams (16-3) this season.
"I think Shake and Jaylen are two of the best guards in the state," Vancuren said. "They do great things for us. And Avery is another good player who makes great plays. They are a three-headed monster on the perimeter who have been very good for us."
Culbertson has shown his toughness when he came back after being sidelined with the flu with 12 points against NOAH in the Skiatook Invitational title game. The effects of that virus still linger somewhat.
"That was my top moment," Culbertson said. "I wasn't in shape at all. I'm still coughing on the court."
He also had a team-high 17 points in a last-second loss to Memorial in the Port City Classic finals.
The Rams, who were 11-12 last year, are the East's top seed for the playoffs that start Feb. 22.
"I think it's great," Culbertson said. "It's no pressure, it'll just make us play harder."
Vancuren views the No. 1 seed as a "positive" for his program. Owasso's boys basketball team has not won a postseason game since 2009.
"For us to be voted by other coaches as the No. 1 seed is a compliment and also showing us we're doing things the right way and moving in the right direction."
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393