Centaurs Split First Two League Games - First Place Santa Monica Visits Friday


January 21, 2010

Culver City High boys’ basketball coach Jonathan Chapman has a simple formula for the Centaurs to contend in the Ocean League.

“We need to win all of our home games and try to steal some on the road,” Chapman said. “If we can do that, we have a chance to be a factor.”

Last week, Culver City started Ocean League play with a 57-53 victory over Hawthorne at home, so that’s a good start. But the Centaurs were unable to steal one away from home in their first league road contest, falling to Morningside, 62-56.

So, as the Centaurs started this week with an 8-9 overall record and 1-1 league mark, Chapman still isn’t completely sure what to expect from his team -- or the rest of the Ocean League, for that matter.

”It kind of looks like Santa Monica is the best team in the league, and everybody else is about the same, a notch below,” Chapman said. “So we should be in the mix.”

In the victory over Hawthorne the Centaurs outscored the Cougars 17-9 in the fourth quarter. Jordan Creel had 19 points -- making eight of 11 shots -- and also had 15 rebounds and five steals. Darren Johnson added 10 points, four rebounds and five steals for Culver City.

The loss to Morningside hurt because the Centaurs might have won had it not been for poor free-throw shooting. Culver City made just 21 of 41 attempts from the line, as both teams combined to shoot just 40 of 79 from the line.

“We got penetration and drew fouls, but then we couldn’t capitalize,” Chapman said. “There’s this rule in Europe where if you get fouled, you have the option of taking the ball out of bounds or shooting free throws. In this game, if we’d had that option, I would have had us take the ball out of bounds all night.

“But I can’t fault the guys for their effort. They played hard. We just have to do a better job of making our free throws.”

This week the Centaurs started with a non-league game on Monday against University of Irvine on the road, and then played at Inglewood on Wednesday. The big game comes Friday ( at home against Santa Monica, which was the only team that was 2-0 in league play starting the week.

Santa Monica has win seven straight games.

The Culver City girls’ team opened Ocean League play last week with two victories, defeating Hawthorne, 53-23 and Morningside, 59-57. The Centaurs were 13-6 overall heading into this week’s games against Inglewood and Santa Monica.

In the win over Hawthorne Culver City outscored the Cougars 26-2 in the first quarter and never looked back. Alex Lewis and Ariana Tolbert each scored 11 points to lead the Centaurs. Jamellah McLinn had seven rebounds.

In the win over Morningside Lewis had 20 points, four rebounds and three steals, Tolbert had 11 points and eight rebounds and Kristen Holt added 11 points.


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