Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Culver Boys Rout Santa Monica

Final Score 89-63

 

January 25, 2018

There's been a seismic shift in 2018 Ocean League boys basketball. Culver City High soundly defeated Santa Monica High, 89-63, for the first time in seven years. The Centaurs ended the drought with team defense and the offensive fireworks of senior swingman Tevian Jones, who poured in 33 points for the victory.

Jones scored 20 points in the first quarter as the Centaurs jumped out to a 32-13 lead, including a dunk and five three-point conversions. The team responded with inspiring defense and never relinquished the lead. More importantly, the Centaurs remained tied with Beverly Hills for first place in the league at 4-0.

"I would say Santa Monica is the most talented team in the league," said Culver first-year Head Coach Reggie Morris. "Coach (James) Hecht always does a really good job with them. He has managed to put together a pretty good team."

"We jumped out on them real fast. They were able to catch themselves and make a run back at us. We're improving game by game but we'll be a much better team when we can focus and execute over longer periods of time."

"He's (Tevian Jones) really talented and made some shots. His shots got us going not only offensively but also defensively. He gave us a margin to go out and to have some confidence. To score early and often is always a really good thing and he definitely got us going."

The Vikings reeled off nine straight points and 13 of the first 15 to begin the second half, cutting the lead to eight. That's as close as they got for the rest of the game. The Centaurs rebounded by scoring 11 of the last 15 points to lead at halftime, 45-30. They poured it on offensively in the third quarter for a 74-41 insurmountable lead. Culver scored on 14 possessions for 29 points in the quarter.

Centaur freshman guard Tsalta Wainwright scored 13 points including two three-pointers and four steals. Keith Dinwiddie, sophomore guard, had 11 points, five steals, three assists and four rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Blackmon added eight points including two three-pointers.

Senior swingman Jaylen Cross put in seven points while senior guard Ryan Willoughby added six points, four rebounds, six assists and three steals. Cyrus Johnson, senior forward, had four points and four rebounds. Junior guard Amyas Njoku contributed four points and senior guard Christopher Zelaya nailed a three-pointer.

"We were able to execute offensively. Guys were making the shots because we were sharing the ball. When we share the ball we get high percentage shots. When guys are making the extra pass and turn down a good shot to make a great shot we become a pretty good team," said Morris.

"We've narrowed it down to eight or nine guys competing for playing time in practice everyday. We're trying to find five guys that are consistent, playing together and focusing on team. Once we find that five we'll go with them as long as possible and bring in reserves to go with our team concept."

The Centaurs mopped up in the fourth quarter but allowed 22 points to the Vikings in the process. Offensively, they hit three three-pointers to keep the margin safe. For the game, Culver hit 41% of their three-pointers and 50% of their two-point field goal attempts. They also converted 11 of 12 free throws.

Morris: "We're not afraid to shoot the ball if it's a good shot...

I think the chemistry is coming and guys are taking shots a little quicker but we're also doing a good job on the offensive glass so there's not so much pressure on our shots. If we miss one, we have two or three guys getting to the glass to make up for that mistake.

"We really like to focus on the defensive end and allow our defense to turn into offense. We're going to try and pressure the other teams, speed them up faster than they're comfortable to playing, take away their possessions, try to come down and score quickly and be aggressive."

The Centaurs host the Beverly Hills Normans this Wednesday for sole possession of the league lead. The Normans, along with the Vikings a perennial power in the Ocean League, is expected to give Culver all it can handle. The Centaurs last beat Beverly in 2012, an 87-81 overtime clincher.

"Beverly is very well-coached. They're a very tough team and won't beat themselves. They have a pretty good point guard. Their coach does a great job with them just making sure that they are in every game and they're disciplined," noted Morris.

"I anticipate that it'll be a good game. They're not just going to come in and give it away. They're going to make sure they compete with you tooth and nail. So we're looking forward to the challenge."

 

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