Culver City Observer -

Culver Girls' Winning Streak Comes To An End

 

January 21, 2016

Fred Altieri

Kailey Tooke leads the Centaurs

It was a most remarkable run that ultimately ended eight miles due west at El Segundo High. That's where the Culver City High girls basketball team saw their 41-game Ocean League winning streak come to an end as the Centaurs lost to the Eagles, 55-46, on Friday, January 15.

The winning streak began in January 2012 with an opening league victory over Morningside High and continued through last Wednesday, January 13, 2016 when Culver calmly dismantled Lawndale High, 52-29, in this season's league home-opener in Del Goodyear Gymnasium.

Culver head coach Julian Anderson on Friday's loss: "For the girls that were on the team for the greater part of the streak it hurts the most. They were there for all four years and didn't want to be the team to lose that one game.

"I wanted to go 50-0 but hey... I'm very proud of the girls and what they've accomplished."

Culver High quickly fell behind El Segundo 10-0 before Culver guard Amy Yoon hit a 3-pointer and Kailey Tooke scored four points to make it a 12-7 as the first quarter ended.

Culver crept closer in the second quarter as Kate Suyetsugu scored four points, Angel Morris added a basket while Tooke hit two 3-pointers to reduce the deficit to four points by halftime, 23-19.

Anderson: "El Segundo jumping out to a 10-0 lead hurt us. When we come out flat that's hard to overcome. We eventually tied the game in the second half but didn't do well defensively.

"El Segundo is familiar with our game and did a lot of things we expected. We didn't do well against their zone because we weren't making shots. We can fix that. We're still fighting."

El Segundo's senior guard Paige Endo had the greatest impact on the game as she scored at least six points in each quarter and led all scorers with 26 total points. "A lot of the girls grew up playing with Paige and came into the game with a little hesitation. I think next time it'll be different," said Anderson.

Culver kept attacking and actually took the lead 38-36 in the fourth quarter when Windy Yoon hit a pull-up jumper. She scored all ten of her points in the second half. Tooke led the Centaurs with 14 points total. Suyetsugu added 11.

But their effort to climb back into the game eventually took its toll as El Segundo outscored them down the stretch 17-10 with most of the points coming off fastbreaks as the Culver pressure defense ran out of steam.

Anderson continued: "But we couldn't find that rhythm for a long time. I didn't sub a couple of the girls and I think they kind of got a little worn out and didn't play well. At the end of the day, if we hit half of our three-point shot attempts we probably win that game easy."

Culver's win against Lawndale High on Wednesday was emblematic of their league play over the past four seasons plus. The Centaurs were clicking on all cylinders as they jumped out to a 29-8 halftime lead against the Cardinals.

Eight Centuars scored to balance the offense: Kate Suyetsugu – 8 points, Kailey Tooke – 16, Amy Yoon – 9, Heaven Cooper – 2, Angel Morris - 8, Hayley Yamamoto – 4, Jazzmine Lacy -2 and Windy Yoon – 3.

"It was one of those shocker games. Every year you have three or four games where you don't know how your team is going to perform but they shock you by performing extremely well. I don't think we would have lost to too many teams that evening," stated Anderson.

Culver scoring continued throughout the second half and Lawndale never threatened. However, not evident on the scorecard was the contribution from Culver's frontline defensive and rebounding play where Morris, Alexis Arancibia and Cooper all figured prominently.

Anderson: "This is Angel's first year playing varsity and really only her second year playing organized basketball. So the emphasis with her as well as Alexis is to rebound the ball, don't throw it away on the outlet passes and play solid defense.

"If we can accomplish those three things very well with them then we'll be okay. Now, if we get a couple of baskets from them then that's whipped cream on top. So what she gave us was very good.

"Heaven has more of a nose for the ball and for scoring. She's a freshman and pretty raw in that a lot of mechanics have to be worked with. It's just a matter of her figuring out how to score. When that happens Heaven is going to be putting up double digits."

Fred Altieri

Culver guard Kate Suyetsugu on a fast break

With still a month of eight games remaining in Ocean League play for the Centaur girls and the CIF Playoffs starting the following week, Anderson is taking it one game at a time.

"I think this team is improving and is going to be a lot better. Again, it's mental for a lot of things. It's maturity and understanding and getting them to realize what preparation means.

"These games and all these situations are not given to us. We've been in first place, have teams that have been beaten up by us for the past few years and they're coming. Their confidence will be up now that we can be beat."

"But It's not over. We can still win league. If you ask me it's still a streak. If you go out 49-1, that's not too bad. It's still something we can be proud of."

 

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