The first thing one might think of when one thinks about the Culver girls basketball team are Patrice McBee and Gwen Zehner.
Culver girls basketball coach Tony Scheub known that opposing defenses aim to stop Patrice McBee, a 6-3 forward, and Zehner, a 6-1 post player. It's rare that a Class 2A team has one player with that height and skill, much less two.
So he uses that to motivate the guards to lift their offensive games.
"He tells us all the time how they doubt us and how they if they shut down our big girls that we're going to lose," senior point guard Nicole Carnegie said. "But that's kind of annoying when you say that about us."
As well as Culver has played, one might only wonder how good they would be if they had Kylee Shipley, the Culver native who played with the current Lady Cavalier quintet throughout middle school and who now stars at Culver Academy. (Shipley plays in her own regional today when the Lady Eagles play Griffith in the Class 3A Rensselaer tournament.)
With Shipley around, Carnegie never played point guard until her freshman year.
"I was kind of nervous and scared at that, but I always was told that when I get into high school that I will always be a point guard," Carnegie said. "But I was like, 'Nahh, no I won't. I'll just be a shooting guard, whatever.'"
But she said it "sunk in" during the season opener against South Central in November 2009 when she made her first career start.
Meanwhile, Carnegie's backcourt mate Whitney Sanders has made her respect for Scheub well-known.
"When we got a new coach," Sanders answered when asked when she knew this would be a special year.
Sanders hit a crucial three-pointer in the fourth quarter - Scheub said Sanders was the last option on the play - and went eight-for-eight from the foul line in the sectional final win over Winamac.
Having a healthy McBee for the whole season - her season ended early last year due to shoulder surgery - has also helped Culver go from 10 wins last season to 23 wins this season. In fact, this is the first season of her high school career in which she has stayed healthy.
Carnegie and Sanders say that the team has gotten closer and over occasional locker room bickering that bothered them in the past.
In fact, the team has embraced and even joked about its racial diversity. Of its top six players, Carnegie, Sanders and McBee are African-American; second cousins Alison Zehner and Gwen Zehner and backup freshman guard Kayla Shaffer are white.
"Three of us call ourselves the sister Oreos," Sanders said of herself, Carnegie and Alison Zehner. "We're really close. We've been together since sixth grade, and moving up makes us even closer together. ... Alison was always in the middle between me and Nicole, so we're just like an Oreo together."