CCHS Girls Basketball Rolling Again

Overcome Player Injuries

After a tough pre-league schedule and a very rough start due to key player injuries, the Culver City High girls basketball team has regained its composure and are tied for second place in the Ocean League. The Centaurs (3-1) now trail league leader Santa Monica High (4-0) after taking out previously undefeated El Segundo High (3-1) in overtime, 61-54, last Wednesday at Del Goodyear Gymnasium.

The girls also took care of Hawthorne High, 54-34, two nights later before defeating West Adams High, 58-26, on Saturday in the MLK Shootout tournament. The Centaurs are currently 10-9 overall for the season and have won six of their last eight contests, including winning the last four consecutive games.

"We played a pretty decent schedule leading up to league. Before we lost Leah (Howard) and Shana (Moten) we would have won some of those games where we put the schedule together to match what we had. So the schedule has been tough without those girls playing," said Julian Anderson, now in his 11th season as the team's head coach.

The overtime victory over El Segundo was a clear sign of quick recovery for the Centaur girls. They had lost a double overtime game last week at home to Santa Monica under very similar circumstances. In both games, Culver City led by three points in the final minute only to allow a three-point shot by their opponents to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Culver City eventually lost to Santa Monica, 38-36, as they got outscored 7-5 in the overtime period. It was a different story against El Segundo as they attacked throughout the four-minute extra time and outscored the Eagles 14-7. It was the sixth straight win at home for Culver City while hosting El Segundo.

"It was a matter of our players making a decision to step up and play. I thought it was a huge growth for them," said Anderson. "

It's a good start but we definitely and should have won the Santa Monica game. We're going to see them again on Friday and hopefully we've learned our lesson."

Eight players contributed to the Centaurs' win: Sasha Murphy led the team with 13 point, including five free throws. Junie Dickson scored 11 points and Faith Alessandra had scored 11 points, including three 3-pointer conversions. Elaine Rivera had 10 points and one 3-pointer, Mia Washizaki added seven points while Marina Nimnual put in six points, all free throws. Erika Payton scored a field goal and Lindsey Kojima added a free throw.

Coach Anderson: "Against El Segundo I thought we played good defense. They're one of those teams like playing the Golden State Warriors. They miss a lot of shots but then the shots that they hit are a lot of three's. So when they hit a few they're right back in the game. It's about trying to get out to their shooters."

Friday night's win over Hawthorne (0-4) was a bit of an early struggle as the Centaur girls only led 15-13 after one quarter. They started to pull away at halftime, leading 35-25. Culver City took a 47-34 lead after three quarters before holding the Cougars scoreless in the final quarter.

Alessandra led all scorers with 20 points, including two 3-pointers. Rivera add seven points and one 3-point conversion, Murphy also contributed seven points as did Claudia Fan. Nimnual scored five points and one 3-pointer while Payton and Malina Miura nailed two points each to round out the Culver City scoring.

The Centaurs have two games this week on the road: Wednesday night at Beverly Hills High and Friday night in a rematch at Santa Monica High. The Centaurs can take control of their destiny with a win over the Vikings as the second round of Ocean League games begin.

"The girls are playing hard but their still young. And when you're young you still have a lot to learn," said Anderson. "We got some good experience playing Harvard Westlake and a few others. We're coming along and gelling right now. If we can get past Santa Monica on Friday and El Segundo again, that would be huge for this team.

The current Ocean League standings: Santa Monica (4-0), Culver City (3-1), El Segundo (3-1), Beverly Hills (2-2), Hawthorne (0-4), Lawndale (4-0).

Current 2019-20 Culver City High girls basketball roster with uniform numbers – Seniors: Lindsay Kojima (5), Leah Howard (21), Junie Dickson. Juniors: Malina Miura (2). Sophomores: Sasha Murphy (3), Marina Nimnual (11), Aalirah Perkins (12), Erika Payton (13), Faith Alessandra (14), Shana Moten (23). Freshmen: Elaine Rivera (1), Claudia Fan (24), Mia Washizaki (32).


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