Girls Basketball Team Notches Two Wins

Two Ocean League games this week will determine when and where the Culver City High girls basketball team will be playing when the CIF Division 2A Basketball Playoffs begin next week. The Centaurs are currently in second place with a 6-2 record, two games behind league leader Santa Monica High who is undefeated at 8-0.

Last week the girls solidified their second place standing as they overwhelmed Lawndale High, 77-19, at home on Wednesday, January 29. Two nights later they traveled to El Segundo High with both teams tied for second with 5-2 records, where the Centaurs beat the Eagles, 45-34. The win kept Culver City ranked in the top 16 in their Playoff division, a determining factor for securing a first-round home game.

Last Wednesday's game against Lawndale opened with a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other people who perished in the tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas the previous Sunday. There were heartfelt chants of Kobe's name from both team benches and the fans in the bleachers following the silence.

The Centaurs jumped all over the Cardinals from the opening jump as they raced to a 20-8 first quarter lead. Sasha Murphy controlled the boards and score eight points in the quarter to lead the team. Marina Nimnual converted two 3-pointers for six points while Junie Dickson also added six points, including a 3-pointer.

Culver City upped the ante in the second quarter as they reeled off 21 points and defensively held Lawndale scoreless for the quarter. A total of seven Centaurs scored in the quarter led by Faith Alessandra's two 3-point bombs. Lindsey Kojima added four points on two field goals and Dickson knocked down her second 3-pointer. Claudia Fan, Erika Payton, Malina Miura and Aalirah Perkins each made a field goal.

The third quarter was more of the same as the Centaurs poured in 20 more points while holding the Cardinals to three points in the quarter. Again, seven Centaurs scored in the quarter with Dickson, Murphy and Nimnual each scoring four points. Alessandra, Payton, Miura and Kojima scored two points each for a 61-11 lead at the end of three quarters.

The continuous clock ran for the fourth quarter as the Centaurs outscored the Cardinals, 16-8, in the final period. Claudia Fan buried two 3-pointers while Payton added a three pointer and a free throw. Perkins made two field goals and Kojima added two more points for the final victory. The 77 points was the highest offensive output of the season as they swept Lawndale in their two-games this league season.

The Centaur scoring was balanced as Dickson and Murphy led all with 12 points each. Nimnual added 10 points, Alessandra, Kojima and Fan each put in eight points, Payton scored seven points, Perkins contributed six points and Muira dropped four points. Culver City converted nine 3-pointers in one of their best outings from behind the arc this season.

The win over El Segundo on Friday night also gave the Culver girls a sweep over the Eagles. The Centaurs won the first encounter weeks ago at Del Goodyear Gymnasium three weeks ago, a very tight 61-54 overtime victory. This time Culver City maintained the edge throughout the game for the 11-point margin of victory. El Segundo (5-3) is currently in third place, one game ahead of Beverly Hills High.

The Centaurs took an 11-6 lead after one quarter, led by Nimnual's seven points including a 3-pointer. Alessandra and Dickson each added a field goal. El Segundo outscored Culver in the second quarter, 8-7, to cut the halftime lead by one, 18-14. Alessandra converted from behind the arc for three points and Dickson made two field goals for four points.

The third quarter proved to be crucial for the Centaurs as they outscored the Eagles 20-14 to increase their lead to ten points, 38-28, going into the last quarter. Dickson led the way with two 3-pointers and a field goal. Elaine Rivera also knocked down 3-pointer and Alessandra made her second three of the game. Murphy added six points with two field goals and two free throws for the quarter.

This time around the Centaurs were able to hold El Segundo at bay in the fourth quarter, outscoring them by one point, 7-6. Nimnual made her second 3-pointer of the game while Murphy and Dickson added a field goal each to secure the win. Dickson led Cuvler City in scoring with 16 total points. Nimnual added 10 points, Murphy and Alessandra each scored eight points while Rivera put in three to round out the scoring.

The Culver girls currently have identical 3-1 records at home and on the road in Ocean League action this season. They travel to Hawthorne High this Tuesday, February 4, before hosting Beverly Hills High for their final league game of the season on Thursday. The Centaur girls will also be celebrating their Senior Night in the game against the Normans.


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