By Steve Finley
Special to the Observer 

Heartbreak:Culver Girls Lose Narrowly In State Tournament


March 12, 2013


Culver Girls Lose Narrowly In State Tournament

The Culver City High girl’s basketball team’s dream season ended last week with an overtime loss to Granada Hills in the State Regional playoffs. Their magical season ended in a 49-46 overtime loss to the Highlanders at Granada Hills.

“We had a great season and now we have to build on this season and continue our success next year,” said Culver City coach Julian Anderson after the heartbreaking loss.

“We have a lot of players returning and hopefully we can get some new players to help us improve. If we work hard and get stronger up the middle we can have another great season next year.”

The lady Centaurs do need to get bigger and stronger at the center position and find a replacement for their outstanding senior point guard Taylor Tanita.

They will also have to replace senior center Shannon Yahn, who was probably the smallest center in the CIF playoffs. At 5-8 she was had to guard players who were over six feet tall. Although Yahn was small for her position she was one of the toughest players in the CIF Southern Section.

“I still have a lot to learn but I hope I can continue playing at the next level,” said Yahn, who started playing organized basketball two years ago. “I grew up playing pickup games with boys and they always told me that if I want the ball I need to go get it.”

Although the Centaurs will lose Tanita and Yahn everyone else will return for the 2013-14 season. Junior Kelsey Ueda and freshman Kalley Tooke will be two of the key returning players.

Both were sad after the loss to Granada Hills but you could tell by the look in their eyes that they are already looking forward to next season.

“I know there will be a lot of pressure on me next year, said Tooke, who scored a team high 16 points in the loss, “and I know I have to get stronger and faster.”

If there is one player who needs to understand their role it is Ueda. She seems to have the skills to dominate games with her quickness and her outside shooting but against Granada Hills she scored only six points. In the game before that, the CIF Final, she scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

“She is a great player and great players need to step up everytime they step on the court,” said Anderson.

Culver City ended its season 24-7 overall and 10-0 in the Ocean League. The Centaurs also reached the CIF Final in Division 2A and the State Regional Playoffs. That’s pretty good for a team that loss nine seniors last season.

If the lady Centaurs had to lose, it could not have been to a more worthy opponent. Granada Hills coach Lou Cicciari coaches from a wheel chair and he has no legs. That puts everything in perspective.


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