Culver Girls Eye Another League Championship
February 11, 2016
With two league games remaining the 2015-16 Culver City High girls basketball team is favored to take its fifth consecutive Ocean League title.
They took control of the league last week with consecutive convincing home wins over two rivals: El Segundo and Santa Monica.
As expected, visiting El Segundo gave the Centaurs all they could handle before Culver won the game going away in the second half, 55-43, on Wednesday, February 3.
Two nights later celebrating Senior Night at Del Goodyear Gymnasium the Centaurs had very little trouble bouncing Santa Monica, 65-34.
Culver City is currently leading the Ocean League with a 7-1 record. El Segundo is next at 6-2, Lawndale is in third place at 5-3. Santa Monica is 3-5, Hawthorne is 2-6 and Beverly Hills at 1-7 round out the standings.
The Centaurs were in a defensive struggle with El Segundo during the first quarter. Kailey Tooke, a senior and the team's leading scorer, opened with six points to give Culver a 6-2 lead with less than two minutes remaining. It quickly evaporated as the Eagles hit a late 3-pointer to grab a 7-6 lead going into the second quarter.
Tooke scored six more points in the quarter as both teams traded baskets with El Segundo holding on to a 17-16 lead at halftime. Heaven Cooper and Windy Yoon added two points each for the Centaurs.
Having recalled their only league loss of the season a few weeks earlier at El Segundo, the Centaur girls came out with a vengeance in the second half.
Senior guard Kate Suyetsugu started off quickly by scoring the first of her three jump shots for the third quarter. Tooke then added a layup for a 20-19 lead. The Eagles fought back to lead 25-22.
That's when Lauren Jones buried a 3-pointer at the top of the key to tie the score. It also seemed to be the shot that finally broke El Segundo's grip. Tooke hit four more free throws. Point guard Hayley Yamamoto scored on a jumper.
Culver led 33-27 after three quarters. The floodgates opened up soon after as six Centaurs combined for 22 points in the fourth quarter. Cooper hit two field goals and two free throws. Angel Morris added two field goals.
Windy Yoon hit a free throw. Yamamoto hit two free throws. Tooke and Suyetsugu finished up the scoring and the game with four and five points respectively in the final quarter.
Scoring totals vs. El Segundo: Tooke – 24 points; Suyetsugu – 11; Cooper – 8; Morris – 4; Yamamoto – 4; Jones – 3; Yoon – 3.
Culver's Senior Night victory over Santa Monica was swift and decisive. Seniors Tooke, Suyetsugu, Alexis Arancibia and Jazzmine Lacy started the game with junior Windy Yoon. Each scored in the quarter and the Centaurs led 20-8 after the first quarter.
Morris and Cooper took control of the boards and the scoring in the second quarter. Morris had six points and Cooper three as Culver increased its lead to 19 points at halftime, 35-16. Shelby Montes, Lacy and Tooke also scored in the quarter.
The second half was a repeat of the first. Five Centaurs scored during the third quarter: Morris with six points, Yoon five, while Tooke, Arancibia and Cooper each scored a basket.
The Centaurs outscored the Vikings 13-12 in the fourth quarter as both teams substituted freely. Scoring totals vs. Santa Monica: Morris – 14 points; Suyetsugu – 11; Yoon – 11; Tooke – 8; Cooper – 7; Arancibia – 4; Lacy – 4; Montes – 4; Yamamoto – 2.