CCHS girls’ basketball team is off to a fast start

By Steve Finley

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The Culver City High School girls’ basketball team is off to 6-0 start. The team is built around three senior players. Front row, from left are Hanna Rafi, Mika Kato, Mia Washizaki, Celeste Nimnual and Alexa Lee. In the middle row are head coach Julian Anderson, Nene Makinada, Marina Nimnual, Keilani Jung, Bianca Baskin and asst. coach Mark Kitabayasahi. In the back row are Sierra Nimnual, Micha Lemons, Claudia Fan, Erika Payton, Faith Alexandra, Elaine Rivera and asst. coach Savannah Erskine.

Under the leadership of Culver City’s girls high school varsity basketball coach Julian Anderson, the Centaurs are 6-0 at press time. This week they play in a local preseason tournament against Trinity Classical Academy, Chaminade and Birmingham and their next home game is Tuesday, Dec.14, against El Segundo at 6 p.m. inside the Del Goodyear gym. After struggling last season, the Centaurs seem to be back on track. Winning in the preseason is very important because they want to carry that winning spirit and momentum into the tough Bay league in a few weeks. “The Bay league is really good,” said Anderson during a phone interview this week. “It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be fun and exciting.” A n d e r s o n will rely on three seniors to keep the momentum going. Those three seniors are Marina Nimnual, Erika Payton and Faith Alessandra. “They are doing everything you can ask for,” said Anderson. “The chemistry between them is very good. Sometimes with seniors their minds are half way out the door because of graduation but these seniors are all in. It’s a great surprise.” The whole team appears to be all in according to Anderson. “They are gym rats. You have to pull them away from the gym not push them towards the gym. This is the type of team they are. I can say, be at the gym at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning and they will be there with no complains. They show up with a smile on their faces. They love to do it.” The 12-year varsity coach continued to say this about the team. “I have to talk to them more about resting. To me that’s a good sign because you feel like you are not forcing kids to play basketball. That’s all a coach really wants. Outside of winning you want your kids to be excited about what they are doing.” Conditioning is a very important part of any sport, especially basketball and this summer if you walked by the Culver City high school track you saw the girls’ basketball team running laps and running up and down the steps of the football bleachers. “I have always been a conditioning coach,” said Anderson. “You have to be in the best shape to play this game. It’s highly important on my list. It’s just as important as working on your skills.” A n d e r s o n has been one of the top girls’ basketball coaches in Southern California for the past 12 year but he is quick to point out that none of this is possible without great players and coaches and one of those coaches is his long-time assistant Mark Kitabayasahi. “We have been together for over 16 years,” said Anderson. “We started coaching Culver City junior varsity together. He is my right-hand man and he is a tremendous part of any success that we have had at Culver City high school.”

Photo by George Laase
BREAK-FAST IN CULVER
CITY—Culver City senior girls
basketball Faith Alexandra finishes
a fast-break in their 53-19 win
over Immaculate Heart last week.
CCHS girls’ basketball team is off to a fast start