CCHS girls’ basketball is the last team standing

By Steve Finley

Photo by George Laase GOING TO THE BALL—Culver City’s Keilani Jung, right, steals a pass against California during their 58-32 first round CIF playoff win last Saturday at Culver City.

Last week four Culver City High School varsity teams entered the prestigious CIF Southern Section playoffs and only one team made it through the first round — girls’ basketball. The boys’ basketball, girls water polo and boys’ soccer teams were eliminated . The girls head basketball coach Julian Anderson said he had a special group of girls in September of last year. “It feels good, making it to the second round of the CIF playoffs,” said Anderson in a phone interview last Tuesday. “This particular group of players can go a lot of different ways. They have the potential to do something special.” The Lady Centaurs got their chance to do something special when they played last Wednesday against one of the best teams in the CIF Division 2A, 26-0 Beaumont. Unfortunately, the game was played after this paper’s deadline, but everyone associated with Culver City high school girls’ basketball was hoping for an upset. After a slow start this season the Centaurs came on strong and going into the game last Wednesday, they were 15-8. They won their first-round game by beating California 58-32 last Saturday at Culver City. Now they played one of the few undefeated teams in the nation when the faced Beaumont. “Their guard play is really good which I feel good about because our guard play is extremely good too, so it seems like we have a good chance,” said Anderson.

The Centaurs will be led by a starting line up that includes three seniors. “Our starting five is special,” said Anderson. “They are gym rats. They work well together. They are resilient and they will fight you to the end. All five of them work well together. If one is having a bad game someone else will pick it up.” The staring five are senior Marina Nimnual, senior Faith Alessandra, senior Erica Payton and juniors Claudia Fan and Mia Washizaki. Win or lose, the future looks bright for the Centaurs according to Anderson. “The future is good. We will be getting Elaine Rivera back from her injury and we have several good sophomores and juniors returning.” Anderson described the season as a roller coaster ride full of bumpy roads because of the pandemic, COVID testing and injuries. “If I had to chose what group of players I would like to go through ups and downs with it would be this team. The group has stayed locked in from the beginning.” If the Centaurs upset Beaumont, they will play Saturday against the winner of the Santa Margarita versus Mayfair game. Last Tuesday in the first round of the CIF playoffs boys’ basketball loss to St. John Bosco 72-65. They finished the season with a 14-8 record. The boys’ soccer team loss to South Torrance 3-1 and they finished the season with a record of 7-6- 4 and girls water polo team loss to Garden Grove 13-5 and they finished their season at 14-11.