Culver City Observer -

Culver Girls Have Won 32 Straight League Games

Centaurs Defeat New Members Lawndale, El Segundo


January 22, 2015

Fred Altieri

Alex Arancibia goes for the score

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

"... and keeps on ticking." Over the course of the past three years the Culver City High girls basketball team has attained that favorable standard. The Centaurs have won 32 consecutive Ocean League games after beating new-members Lawndale and El Segundo in the opening week of the 2015 league competition.

The winning streak began with a league home-opener against Morningside High in January, 2012. Last Wednesday's road victory at Lawndale, considered a contender for the league title, was a legitimate test.

Culver responded by dismantling the Cardinals, 54-35, with a progressive defense supported by a three-point offensive assualt. Lawndale's introductory threat clearly dissipated from the pressure.

"Our girls did a very good job. We shot the ball well and we got stops when needed. That was the difference in the second half. I thought we reacted pretty well but we can definitely do a better job of playing a little sharper. We did okay," were head coach Julian Anderson's initial thoughts.

The Centaurs took command early. Three-point artist Katie Lin attacked from the outside with four bombs that dampened the Cardinals' spirit and expectations. She ended up with eight three-pointers and a game-high 25 points. Culver had a 19-10 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.

It was team defense including Culver's two centers: Gwen Machado and Alex Arancibia, that established the decisive tone according to Anderson: "Defensively, Gwen is very smart, heady and very physical. She made it very difficult for the bigger Lawndale girls. Alexis has been working on some things and is not afraid to go out there and try them. Personally she's been pretty successful and has been seeing some key minutes."

In the Centaurs season home-opening win over El Segundo, 53-37 at Del Goodyear Gymnasium on Friday, January 16, the visitors kept the game close early with a strong first quarter rally and four three-pointers. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Culver senior guards Lindsey Tanita, Megan Yoon and Lin combined for eight of their own long-range strikes, good for a 28-22 halftime lead.

Anderson expects his veterans to rise to such challenges:

"Against El Segundo we shot decently. Our starting five have played with each other for the last three, four years. With most of these girls if the three-pointer is open they can take it."

The Centaurs pulled away in the second half with their now trademark defensive pressure allowing El Segundo only 15 points for the entire second half. "We made some adjustments on matchups. We went from a zone to a man to get that beat. I thought that made a big difference," stated Anderson.

"It's not by design. We just teach them to play basketball," was his take on the team's balanced scoring from all areas of the court. Culver nailed nine three-pointers, nine two-point field goals on a variety of shots and converted eight free throws to top it all off.

Kailey Tooke scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half to secure the win. But it was her poise and court presence that continued to distress the opposition. Anderson will continue to look for her leadership as the team moves forward: "If we can get Kailey really going we'll be okay. Out of everyone she has the most complete offense. It'll be nice as she gets going."

Despite Culver's league winning ways the team has had to re-invent itself more than once this year due to several key injuries, notably to guard Kate Suyetsugu and forward/center Billie Crichton. Coach and his staff looked to the junior varsity team to fill the team's thinning roster for the remaining eight league games leading up the CIF playoffs beginning in late February.

"Kate and Billie both went out within three days of each other. They're done for the season. So we needed some girls to come up and help out. We're in a good place where they can actually learn. They got a chance to play a lot today so we can see where they are," said Anderson.

Fred Altieri

Katie Lin launches a successful 3-pointer

However, Anderson and the Centaurs are not resting on their laurels. The team has continued to adapt and implement other measures in order to defend its league and CIF division titles.

"For the remainder of the league season we'll be working to get ready for playoffs. We're testing some new things out to get an advantage to keep us in the games playoff-wise. For instance: if we can get to the basket, which we talk a lot about because of our size, we have to learn how to draw fouls. With us moving up in Division for the playoffs we need to focus on these things.

"I don't specifically look at the upcoming games really until whatever game we're playing has ended. Only then will I look at who we play next and prepare for them. We're in a good place but I'm not comfortable though. We have a long way to go."


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