For the past 11 years Culver City girls basketball has been synonymous with winning. Year in and year out the teams coach by Julian Anderson and his reliable assistants have continued to play at a high level. Even though his teams don’t have size they make up for it by playing fundamentally sound basketball.
This year the Lady Cen- taurs are 14-3 overall and 2-1 in league play and tied for second place with Santa Monica in the tough Bay league. Anderson keeps it simple. He never gets too high or too low when it comes to his coaching philosophy but their 14-3 record is surprising a lot of people because this team had a lot of question marks.
“To be truthful I am a little surprised myself,” said Anderson last Friday after their Bay league loss to first place Redondo Union. “You never know what’s going to happen at the end of the day. These kids put in the work, and they deserve some good results. We are just fighting to see what we can do.”
What they can do is win the Bay league and make another deep run in the CIF playoffs. But first things first. They want to win the Bay league which usually has taller players. “Our kids play hard and as you can see, we don’t let size bother us,” said Anderson. “The Bay league is great. Great competition, a lot of great coaches, a lot of great kids and great players. I love this league.”
This year’s team is lead by a combination of veteran players and young players but the catalyst for this team is the return of senior Elaine Rivera. Rivera missed the last two years because of a knee injury but the way she is playing she appears to be trying to make up for lost time.
“It feels great to be back,” said Rivera last Friday. “I missed it a lot. I was gone for two years. It definitely hurt but being off the court taught me a lot. You learn a lot more from watching. I am trying to get back into shape like I was before. I want to show everyone that I really want to be her for my last year. I love our team. The chemistry on and off the court is great. We are like family, and we have each other’s back.”
Anderson had this to say about Rivera. “She missed two years but now she is back. As you can see she is ready to go but there are still few things we need to work on but she is a very good basketball player.”
Basketball is the ultimate team game and Anderson is excited about the whole team. “We need to improve on a few things like boxing out and better second efforts and fighting through the ups and downs of the game, but this team has heart. They fight and they adjust. When I call a time out and make adjustments, they follow through with making the corrections.”
After 16 years with the girls basketball program at Culver City High School, five as the junior varsity head coach and 11 as the varsity head coach Anderson is still excited about coming to work. “I am still having fun. We get good kids, and they buy into the system. It might take them a couple of years but it’s worth it to see them grow and get better. To me it’s more genuine.”
Their next two home games are next week on Wednesday and Friday. Both games start at 5:30 p.m.