Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Special to the Observer 

Culver Girls Transition To New Basketball Season


Culver Girls Transition To New Basketball Season

(EDITOR’s NOTE: This is Part 2 of an interview with Julian Anderson, Culver City High Girls Basketball Coach))

During this past season’s playoffs, each win became more surreal than the previous one.

The fun part about the playoffs is each game is different. Regardless of the difficulty of each game you have to find a way to win almost in a different manner each time.

It was not easy for us at all. We were battle-tested over in Arizona during the Christmas break, staying in games, particularly in the semi-final game that we won at the buzzer. The girls really took to the competition and embraced it.

In the CIF Championship Game we shot poorly. We had to change from playing in high school gyms to playing in an arena. I think that took a huge affect on the shooters, especially in the first half. We were something like 5-26 behind the 3-point line so we’ll never win games like that.

On defense we forced 17 turnovers but we just didn’t convert them into points. Defensively we played well. Offensively we just didn’t hit shots and make up that ground.

The reception we received from the community following the championship game was beyond great. The girl’s basketball program had not reached the championship game in almost 30 years. So from aspect of just going, the community was very proud and appreciative.

The support has been excellent. We meet new people every other day from somewhere in the community and they call and say come meet or present your girls here and there. It’s been great. That’s the thing about Culver City is that it’s such a small town that everybody supports each other and knows one another.

Our head assistant coach is Mark Kitabayashi. He has a lot of coaching experience and I coached his daughter as a JV player. A funny story with him is: we were in the heat of a battle in a really good JV game. I was by myself and he was yelling things to me. I was ignoring him at first because I thought he was just another over-zealous father.

But what he was trying to tell me was there was something wrong with the clock. Finally we spoke about it and I found out about his basketball background and he’s been with me ever since.

Coach Tom Nauthers is actually one of the reasons I’m at Culver High. When I came in my first year he was the JV coach at the time and asked me to take over the program from him. He’s been a part of the program for quite some time and has been the ‘grandfather’ of the team.

He comes and brings the snacks and everything else. He’s actually a huge reason why we had success in the playoffs because he drove to wherever he needed to get film. He drove way out to the Orange Lutheran games to get film on them. He drove in 7 o’clock rush hours to get to Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Tom Nakamura has been great as has Sophia Sheik, one of my players I coached my very first year when she was 11 years old. She’s helping out and she’s actually refereeing the summer league games now.

She’s instrumental just being young and having that players’ perspective. Sometimes I turn to her and ask for her view from a player’s point of view. And that gives me a respect to not go too far off the deep end.

We have lost 14 seniors over the past two seasons so we’re very young. Right now we are working out the incoming freshman. I expect that they come in and realize they have an opportunity to play at the varsity level at a young age if they can seize the moment and be prepared to come back and play.

We have the summer league here at Culver High. It is a development league for the varsity level and is an annual thing that’s been going on since Jack Nakanishi was the coach.

We’re now in our 9th or 10th season. It goes every Tuesday and Thursday, all of June and part of July. It’s been great. It gives the coaches an opportunity to see who can probably help their teams in the winter.

For the coming season I’m hoping with such a young team that they’ll come in and compete every day. There will be a lot of hard games to fight and hopefully these girls will transition and mature quickly, to understand the long process of the season but that it happens like this, very quickly.

If they compete as hard as they can we’ll be okay in the end.


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