Culver City Observer -

Culver Girls' Season Ends In Playoff Loss


Fred Altieri

Hayley Yamamoto fires from the paint

The 2015-16 Culver City High girls basketball season ended at Redondo Union High in the 3rd Round of the 2016 CIF Division 1AA Playoffs as the Centaurs lost 71-30 to the perennially ranked Sea Hawks on Wednesday, February 24.

The Centaur girls were overwhelmed by Redondo's tight defense and well-balanced offense from the opening tipoff. Culver kept the contest close for the first eight minutes of the game as Kailey Tooke scored six of the team's seven first quarter points. Eight minutes later they were behind 43-15 at halftime.

Redondo's offense upped the ante as they scored 29 points in the second quarter. Despite putting up more shot attempts the Centaurs failed to find the bottom of the net as the game slowly slipped away. Two quarters later their final season record stood at 21-9.

"Redondo came in and really executed their game plan a lot better than we did. We weren't ready and it seemed like we were stuck behind," opened Culver head coach Julian Anderson.

"Instead of talking to the girls before the game I was trying to get them to get more shots up. The gym at Redondo Union is a lot bigger and brighter than the gym at Culver High.

"You also have this perception of the rim as the wall is further back from the basket. It makes a huge difference and takes some time to get used to."

The unfamiliar surroundings and Redondo's defense didn't allow Culver too many easy shots as they put up 33 shots in the first half and only converted five. Tooke hit two baskets including a 3-pointer in the second quarter and Kate Suyetsugu added a 3-point bomb.

Culver began the second half with a brief run but Redondo retaliated with 15 points in the third quarter, good for a 58-22 lead. Windy Yoon, Tooke and Suyetsugu totaled eight points for the Centaurs in the quarter.

Coach Anderson: "Our third quarter wasn't that bad and I was pretty pleased with the effort in the fourth quarter. There were a lot of moments where we showed some fight and sacrifice for the team. Unfortunately we took too long to get started.

"We never got comfortable with the shooting. I give Redondo credit for playing a really strong defensive game. They were quick to ball and weren't afraid to play close."

In their final game as Centaurs Tooke and Suyetsugu led Culver in scoring with 16 and 11 points respectively. Each also had two 3-pointers. Windy Yoon added two and Amy Yoon made a free throw for one.

The Centaurs had a very successful season despite a slow start and an early rough going. They won their fifth consecutive Ocean League title. The team's last lost was also on the road in El Segundo a month ago.

"After the El Segundo loss the team had that turning point where the girls knew that their loss was more mental than anything. At that point they realized that they were better than they thought they were. It gave them confidence and they understood that they didn't have to lose that game," said Anderson.

"Overall, I was presently surprised with the progress the team made throughout this season. Our maturity level was low at the start of the season but it got a lot better.

"I was definitely pleased with the outcome. I hope they learn from it and the returners come back next year with a little more focus from the beginning to the end. We want to start the focus high at the beginning and bust through the roof towards the end."

The 2015-16 Culver High girls varsity basketball roster: Alexis Arancibia – Sr, Amy Yoon – Fr, Angel Morris – So, Hayley Yamamoto – So, Heaven Cooper – Fr, Huma Manjra – So, Jazzmine Lacy – Sr, Kailey Tooke – Sr, Kate Suyetsugu – Sr, Lauren Jones – So, Shelby Montes – Fr, and Windy Yoon – Jr.

Though the season just concluded the team is a mere month away from starting its spring training sessions. Like many other current public high school athletic programs girls basketball has evolved into a year-round commitment.

Due to the now-perpetual nature of the sport Anderson has had to adapt and alter his assessment of the team's progress: "I won't know if we had a successful season until spring.

Fred Altieri

Culver center Alexis Arancibia set to tip off

"If the returners come in and have learned that they have to work hard in spring and summer... then the season was a success. They learned something. They understood what happened.

"But if they come back and they don't work extremely hard to get better, then to me the season was a failure. A lot of things that we got beat on are fixable. All we have to do is get into the gym and work it out.

"But it's not easy. We have to work hard consistently throughout spring and summer and grow consistently throughout spring and summer. If we do that then we should be all right.

"We had a lot of uphill battles to climb this season but there are no excuses. Like I tell the girls: "When we come out to play, we play.


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