Culver City Observer -

Culver Boys Retain Playoff Hopes


February 4, 2010

Wins Over Hawthorne Boost Centaurs

At least the Culver City High boys’ basketball team knows one thing as it makes its way through its Ocean League schedule: It can beat Hawthorne.

So far, that’s what is keeping the Centaurs in the hunt for a CIF playoff spot.

Last week Culver C ity defeated Hawthorne for the second time this season, and the Centaurs’ two victories over the Cougars represent their only two league victories so far.

Overall, Culver City went 1-1 last week, losing to Beverly Hills before rebounding with the win over Hawthorne. Entering this week, the Centaurs were 9-13 overall and 2-4 in league.

Entering the week Santa Monica (6-0 in league) and Inglewood (5-1) were easily the top two Ocean League teams, but Culver City was tied for third with Beverly Hills and Morningside, so the Centaurs were certainly in the hunt.

“After that loss to Beverly Hills to start the week, I would have said you could stick a fork in us,” Centaurs coach Jonathan Chapman said. “But we were able to get a win on the road at Hawthorne, so were still in it. Other than Santa Monica and Inglewood, everyone else in bunched up.”

The 54-46 loss to Beverly Hills really hurt not only because the Centaurs were at home, but they were ahead by a point at halftime despite not playing great. But then they fell apart at the start of the third quarter, and the Normans outscored Culver City 21-8 in the period. The Centaurs tried to rally in the fourth quarter, but fell short.

“We played horribly for about three minutes at the start of the second half, and that was the difference,” Chapman said.

Josh McGhee led the Centaurs with 11 points, while Aamahd Walker had nine points and eight rebounds.

In the 62-59 victory over Hawthorne, the Centaurs started strong, outscoring the Cougars 21-8 in the first quarter. But then Hawthorne gradually got back into the game, and in the final 45 seconds had five shots to tie the score but missed on every one.

“We escaped in that one,” Chapman said.

McGhee had 17 points, Walker scored 15 points and Derek Farrar added 11 points for Culver City.

The Centaurs played their final two home games this week, hosting Morningside on Wednesday (Feb. 3) and Inglewood on Friday (Feb. 5).

The Culver City girls’ team also entered the week in the playoff hunt. The Centaurs went 2-1 last week, starting the week with a 64-39 loss to Beverly Hills in a league game before getting a 56-40 league win over Hawthorne and a 56-38 nonleague win over Marymount.

Culver City entered the week 15-9 overall and 3-3 in league, tied with Beverly Hills for third place. Santa Monica and Inglewood were first and second, respectively.

With Morningside 1-5 in league and Hawthorne 0-6, the Centaurs are battling only Beverly Hills for the third-place spot in league and the automatic playoff berth that comes with it. Even if they were to finish fourth, the Centaurs would likely get playoff spot.

“We’re right there. We just have a few things to straighten out,” Centaurs coach Jack Nakanishi said. “We have to shore up our defense, and we’re not hitting as many three-pointers as we were last year. If we can fix those things, we’ll be OK.”

In the win over Hawthorne, Alex Lewis had 20 points, and Alex Stautzenbach had 12 points and nine steals. In the win over Marymount, Lewis had 17 points and six rebounds.

Culver City hosted Morningside and Inglewood this week.


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