Culver City Observer -

SOMETHING NEW: Culver Girls Lose Basketball Games Sometimes


January 19, 2017

Fred Altieri

Lauren Jones (3) brings the ball up court for the Centaurs

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

The road to success is a hard drive. The Culver City High girls basketball team over several seasons had won its last 50 of 51 Ocean League games after defeating El Segundo, 53-42, in the 2016-17 league home-opener at Del Goodyear Gymnasium on Wednesday, January 11.

Two days later on Friday the 13th the Centaurs lost for only the second time in the past six seasons by getting roughed up at Lawndale High, 45-38. That leaves them tied for third in league play at 1-1.

After having won the Ocean League title for the past five seasons Culver is now searching for answers.

"This year has been a challenge. We're young, inexperienced and haven't gotten over the maturity hump yet. I do think this team is talented and can be special if they figure a way to break through the barrier," said Julian Anderson, now in his eighth season as the head coach.

"I'm not happy with the way they're playing as a unit. I know that they can play not only much better but can play a lot better together. Right now it's very difficult to get them to see how powerful 'together' can be."

Anderson's focus is on getting the team ready for post-season action even though league games have just started. "El Segundo is always coached really well. We almost got the lead to 20 and let them back in. We have the ability to play them better and that's where we need to be.

"There is a misconception that the only thing that counts is league. You can get into the playoffs by league but if you don't do well in the preseason tournaments and games you can get a really bad seed.

"We don't want to run from any team because in order to win a championship you're going to have to beat everybody. But we'd like to give ourselves a game or two to get a little sharper... a little legroom, a little leeway in order to build that cushion to beat those better teams later in the tournament."

The Centaurs were tied with El Segundo 9-9 after one quarter before reeling off 14 points in the second quarter to take a 23-17 halftime lead. Culver doubled its point total by scoring 23 points in the third quarter and a 46-27 third quarter lead. The Eagles made things interesting by outscoring the Centaurs 21-6 in the final quarter.

Culver's Heaven Cooper led all scorers with 16 points. Lauren Jones added 14 points including two three-pointers. Windy Yoon scored all 13 of her points in the second half including one three-point conversion. Angel Morris scored four points, Shelby Montez hit a three-point shot and Leah Howard added two points.

Anderson: "I think we were lucky to get the win against El Segundo. We just didn't play that well. Our potential is much higher than what we've been showing. We have six losses on the books right now. I don't think there's a team that beat us that we should have lost to. Our record should be about 14-2."

The Centaurs loss at Lawndale illustrated Anderson's concern. After jumping to a 5-1 lead Culver trailed 14-9 after one quarter. The Cardinals increased the lead to 25-16 at halftime. Culver's shots were not falling, the turnovers were increasing and Lawndale was effective with a full-court press. The second half saw more frustration

"The loss against Lawndale was 100% nerves. We let the environment get to us. But that's what you get with a young team. Lawndale was loud. It was hostile. They played strong. They played tough. They played fast. They played to win," stated Anderson, who has guided the Culver girls to an impressive 60-12 Ocean League record during his reign.

"We didn't match them. If you look at the score, as bad as we played with 31 turnovers, we only lost by nine points. They pretty much scored off of our turnovers and by making free throws. If we play better we could have pulled it out."

The Centaurs registered a 10-4 mark in pre-league tournament competition despite inconsistent play until they peaked in San Diego during the holiday break. They just lost to Thousand Oaks in the Culver City tournament after giving up 32 second-half points. They dropped two winnable games in the Saint Monica tournament. Culver also suffered a listless 49-25 loss to Ribet Academy in the Serra High tournament on January 16.

"In the Serra tournament on Monday the team didn't respond. They had only five good players. We should have played them a lot better but we didn't execute at all. We did not play together. We played separately. We played apart. We allowed ourselves to be an individual and not a team," said Anderson.

"San Diego was good to us. It wasn't just that we were 3-1, we played well. At that point I thought we were ready to come in and take care of the rest of the regular season. We didn't play for a week so I don't know if that hurt us. Hopefully after today's practice...

Fred Altieri

Amy Soon (5) drives to the basket

"We haven't been shooting that well and are working on that. We're changing the drills up by adding a wrinkle here and there. We're trying to get them to concentrate on the shot a bit better. We'll see how that translates. We never play well in Hawthorne so hopefully we'll pull out that win and get ready for Santa Monica.

"We're trying to show this team that its potential is so high. Reaching for that potential and everything is a process. So the number one goal is to get these young ladies to understand what they have, the power that they have and to use that to reach their goal.

"We have to prepare for each game. That's the question I'm asking everybody on the team: "How do you prepare for each game


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