Culver City Observer -

Culver Basketball Girls Begin With a Win


November 27, 2014

Fred Altieri

Megan Yoon Defends

By Fred Altieri

Observer Reporter

The Inaugural Culver City / St. Mary's Tip-Off Classic is now officially under way as it initiated a very busy 2014-15 girls basketball season for co-host Culver City High.

The current CIF Division 2AA champion Centaurs christened the occasion with a first-round win against Crossroads School of Santa Monica, 38-25, on Monday, November 24.

Equally notable is the girls team having accepted an invitation to the McDonald's Classic in early December. Head coach Julian Anderson related: "We go to Texas on the third of December. We were invited to the McDonald's Classic in El Paso.

"We will finish this tournament on Saturday. We'll take a break on Sunday, practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we'll be on the plane. I believe we're playing four games there."

The Centaurs will play their opening game in the McDonald's Classic Basketball Tournament against event host Eastwood High of El Paso on December 4. Raising funds to help send the team east also plays a practical role in creating and sponsoring their own 'Classic' for the girls basketball program.

Coach Anderson: "The Culver City / St. Mary's Tip-Off Classic is a pickup from the Inglewood Classic. It's about fundraising. There are 12 teams in the tournament and we are running games at both Culver High and St. Mary's High simultaneously.

"It runs through Saturday, November 29. The games are from 10 a.m. until about 5:30 p.m. Three games are played each day at each site through the week. For the finals all six games will be played on Saturday at Culver High."

St. Mary's High is located in Inglewood.

After a slow start against the Roadrunners the Centaurs took control and reeled off 14 points in the first quarter as Megan Yoon scored eight of her team-high 16 points, including two three-pointers. Gwen Machado, Kailey Tooke and Katie Lin added a bucket each.

The second quarter wrapped the game up against Crossroads as Culver added 14 more points for a 28-12 lead. Kate Suyetsugu and Yoon each hit a three-pointer while new team member Billie Crichton added four of her eight total points and Tooke hit another basket.

Crichton scored all four team points in the third quarter. Lin hit the team's fifth three-pointer in the fourth while Yoon capped it off with a bucket and a free-throw. Despite the inevitable loss Crossroads kept pushing the ball and struck 11 points in the final quarter.

"Today we played okay. We have some things to do. We're a little bit behind on the preparation for the season but I think once we get some games under our belt we'll start clicking a little more," Anderson said.

"It's one of those things. The season starts earlier and earlier each year. We played all summer and did some training. We took the month of August off and played all Fall. After a while the kids are ready to play. They're tired of practice. They're tired of practice games.

"It's a matter of just getting into a game. When you're away you don't feel as much pressure as playing in front of your friends. When you're home for the first game it can rattle you. I think tomorrow will be better and the next day..."

The girls won't be finished traveling once they get back from Texas. To further battle-test his team before they defend their Ocean League title in mid-January Anderson has scheduled a tournament trip to Viva Las Vegas, Nevada later in the month.

Fred Altieri

Billie Crichton Scores

"When we come back we'll practice, take a day or two off here

and there and then go to Vegas on the 26th of December."

Anderson observes his team as it necessarily transforms its style from last year's title squad: "There are four new members on the team. Three girls from last year's team graduated. I think we're going to be better as a group.

"We're not the team like with Michelle Curry last year where we got into situations where we ran a few plays for one player and she could go at it. If this team plays as a group, if they do everything as a pack, then I think that we'll be okay."

Curry is now at UC Riverside.


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