Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Culver Boys Win First Two Playoff Games


February 22, 2018

The Centaur boys basketball team took care of business at home to advance to the third round in the 2018 CIF Playoffs. Culver City High defeated Glendale 83-69 and Torrance High, 76-57, in their opening round games last week.

The Centaurs travel to play Buena High from Ventura this Tuesday, February 20, in the third round Southern Section Division 3A matchup.

The Centaurs weathered strong first half shooting from the Glendale Nitros on Wednesday night to grab a commanding lead and the game in the third quarter. Senior Tevian Jones got Culver off to quick start scoring 15 points as they jumped out to a 24-17 first quarter lead. Jones led all scorers with 29 points.

"Glendale held on but in the second half we were able to put it away. So it was a good game," said Centaur senior big man Cy Johnson. "I was off to a slow start in the first half. Once I got over that hump everything just came together."

Johnson dominated the paint and the boards with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the game.

"Against bigger guys I get low and real rough and tough up there: doing the dirty plays, getting rebounds, steels, blocks and jumping with them." Johnson's eight field goals down low in the second half punished and demoralized Glendale's inside game.

But the Nitros kept the game close with their outside shooting by pouring in six three-pointers in the first half. The Centaurs used scoring from four players in the second quarter to take a 41-36 halftime lead. Head Coach Reggie Morris and his staff made the adjustments at halftime as Culver outscored Glendale 22-10 in the decisive third quarter.

Six Centaurs scored during the quarter with Johnson putting in 12 points. Ryan Willoughby had a field goal, Jones added five points, Keith Dinwiddie had two, Ryan Blackmon put in three and Jaylen Cross hit a field goal. Culver was able to hold off the Nitros continued outside threat of four three-pointers in the fourth quarter to thwart any rallies.

Game stats for Culver: Dinwiddie put in 13 points, Cross scored 10, Blackmon contributed nine and Willoughby added four points. The team converted 37 of 63 shot attempts for 59% shooting percentage. Jones led the team in three-pointers and grabbed five rebounds. Tsalta Wainwright led with three assists while four others dished out two each.

The Centaurs opened a quick lead with pressure defense and a balanced offense Friday at Del Goodyear Gymnasium against the Torrance Tartars. The 22-12 first quarter lead set the tone as Culver's defense held the Tartars to 21 total field goals for the game.

"We try to be a defensive team. That's really what we try to have our identity be. Today we did a good job getting stops at the beginning of the game," said Coach Morris. "Torrance is a well-coached team. They are going to do a couple of things. We were kind of ready for them. We just have to make sure we compete, play hard every possession and play together as a team."

Culver led 45-22 at halftime as the Centaurs knocked in seven three-pointers in the first half. Once again, Johnson was an inside force in the paint and on the glass. He led the team with 19 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots resulting in jump balls. Jones had 18 points and five rebounds but got into foul trouble in the second half.

Morris: "He had four fouls so we didn't want him to foul out. We put the other guys in. Everybody has to take turns and do their job. He's (Jones) getting better. He's learning when to pick and choose his spots, setting teammates up and when it's time for him to go he's making good plays for himself as well."

Torrance tried rallying as they hit six three-pointers in the second half to no avail. Scoring 14 points including they gained no ground on Culver's lead after three quarters, 59-36. Johnson scored 10 alone for the Centaurs in the third. They cruised to victory in the fourth as six players shared in the scoring.

Dinwiddie scored 11 points and had two assists. Willoughby scored eight points and a team-leading five assists. Wainwright also scored eight and hit two three-pointers. Blackmon and Brandon Libertore each scored three points while Cross, Justin Schenk and Amyas Njoku added two points each. Culver hit on 29 of 55 field goal attempts for 53% including 7 of 17 three-point attemps for 41%.

"Our guys shared the ball with each other and got good shots. It wasn't about any plays. It was free-flowing. They played really well together today and set each other up as teammates. They did a good job," said Morris.

"You just have to play your best wherever you play and be blessed that you have another game. Some teams don't have any more games right now. So whether we're playing at home or on the road we've got to be ready to play."


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