Three Culver City High School teams made it to the big dance

In professional sports they call it the Playoffs and the Super Bowl. In college basketball they refer to it as March Madness and in California high schools this reporter calls it February Madness. Whatever term you use the intensity level raises to the top because every team is hoping to win a CIF championship and a state title.

Three out of five Culver City winter teams made February Madness. The boys' basketball, girls' basketball and girls' water polo teams are playing games this week. Unfortunately, the girls and boys soccer teams did not make it. Like all of the teams the soccer teams played in the tough Bay League against Palos Verdes, Mira Costa, Redondo Union, Santa Monica and Peninsula. That league has some of the best athletes in the state in every sport.

The girls' water polo team played their first game last Tuesday on the road 88 miles away against Hemet. Hemet had an overall record of 20-8 and the Centaurs were 16-13. If they beat Hemet, they will play the winner of the match between Ayala and Palm Desert on Thursday, February 8.

The girls' basketball team will travel to Lynwood tonight, February 8, for a 7 p.m. contest. Culver City's overall record is 15-12 and Lynwood is 16-10. The Centaurs took third place in the Bay league with a record of 5-5.

The Lady Centaurs are led by Celeste Nimual, Londyn Jones, Keilania Jung, Abigail Reddick, Makenna Lohman and Beatrix Wada. If they beat Lynwood, they play the winner of Valley View and Esperanza game on Saturday.

The boys' basketball team finished the regular season with an overall record of 17-8 and they were 8-2 in the Bay League. That 8-2 record was good enough for second place behind 10-0 Redondo Union. Culver City is hoping their quickness and fast-paced offense will be good enough when they traveled to 24-4 Vista Murrieta last Wednesday. If they win that game, they play the winner of the Aquinas versus San Juan Hills game on Friday.

"I watched four hours of film of Vista Murrieta," said Culver City's head coach Ray Singleton after practice last Monday. "They are very disciplined and fundamentally sound that pertain to the elements of basketball. They have a young point guard who is very good. They will be a worthy opponent but if we cut down on our turnovers, make our free throws and box out on defense I think we will be fine. I think we can win the game but it's the playoffs and anything can happen."

The Centaurs are a very talented and athletic team, but coach Singleton is hoping that several seniors can give his team an advantage. "The seniors are aware that this is it," said Singleton. "This is the part of the season where they are faced with reality." Three key seniors, Henry Herrbach, Raymar Williams and Keishawn Ross are hoping to make a difference in the playoffs.

"We have been preparing really hard for this," said Williams. "We have been working toward this the entire year. We are really confident because of all the hard work we have put in. We just have to go out there and execute against Vista Murrieta. We have watched the film, so we know what we are up against."

As a senior Williams wants to leave Culver City on a high note. "Being a senior, it's a bittersweet feeling. I am really happy but at the same time it's kind of sad knowing that this may be my last high school game, but it also makes me hungry to win it all." Williams has been playing basketball since he was four years old and his biggest fan and the team's No. 1 cheerleader is his father, ReyDonte Williams.

Another senior who coach Singleton will be counting on is three point specialist Henry Herrbach. During the last game of the regular season against Santa Monica last week Herrbach was on fire. He even made a last second half court shot at the end of the first half. "It was pretty magical because after four years at Culver City it was great to finish it out that way.

"Ever since I was a kid, I have been a very good shooter,' said Herrbach. "All of my life I have had the confidence to shoot the ball. Some nights it clicks but overall, I have been a pretty solid shooter."

Coach Singleton said Herrbach is a very intelligent basketball player. "I am very grateful that coach said that but to be honest it's kind of second nature. I work pretty hard in the classroom and translates onto the basketball court, knowing where to go and what to do."

The Centaurs are hoping that their senior leaders and the rest of the players will be ready for February Madness.

Please check with Culver City High School to find out what teams made it to the second round.


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