By Joe Snyder
The Culver City High School summer league basketball team won eight of its last 12 games, but could not hold off Hawthorne in the Cougar Classic championship game at Hawthorne High School.
The Centaurs avenged a previous loss to El Segundo with a 55-38 win in the semi-finals. A 15-4 third quarter turned a nine-point lead into a 20-point margin. El Segundo had edged Culver City 10 days earlier, 43-40.
Jason Goodwin tallied 48 hustle points (points, rebounds, assists, steals), Eric Tolliver earned 47, Terrence Curry had 36 and Sal De Leon worked for 35 hustle points in Culver City’s 59-34 second-round win over King-Drew in the Cougar Classic.
Culver City blitzed past St. Paul, 63-26, in the first round.
Centaur head coach Jonathan Chapman, who along with assistant coach David Gordon has worked with the varsity squad this summer, recently coached with El Segundo’s retiring head mentor Rick Sabosky in the annual South Bay All-Star Basketball Classic at West Torrance High School.
Centaur outgoing senior Rufus Humphrey scored two points in the fourth quarter in the Blues’ thrilling 115-112 overtime loss to the Red Stars.
“The kids were supposed to have fun in this game,” said Chapman, who guided the Centaurs to a 20-8 record, a second-place finish (behind Inglewood) in the Ocean League and the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs, where they fell to Bishop Montgomery, 67-41.
“We had a good year,” Chapman said. “It was the best we had in a long time. We won two tournaments: the Mira Costa Pacific Shores and the Westminster.”
Chapman felt it was the best Culver City season since 1985-86. In that year, Culver City won the Ocean League and the Pacific Shores Tournament, when it was hosted by Mira Costa and Redondo high schools, over a powerful Long Beach Poly team.
According to Chapman, Humphrey is considering Michigan State and Comin Dilliard universities.
Returning varsity players for Culver City include seniors Malik Deckard, Aamahd Walker, Goodwin and Yamen Sanders, and juniors Sterling Salvaterra and Justin Montgomery.