The Culver City High School boys basketball team continued its preseason win-one-and-lose-one pace at the Westminster Tournament, an event won last year by the Centaurs. Culver City gained a split in the tourney after outlasting Laguna Beach, 60-57, putting its mark at 6-6 two weeks before the start of league play.
Culver City plays in three practice games before league play begins. The Centaurs meet visiting Hart on Tuesday, will play at West Torrance on Wednesday and travel to Lynwood on Jan. 6.
“League play is going to be extremely competitive. The players will have to improve daily if they want to compete for the league championship,” said assistant coach David Gordon.
The Breakers led 22-14, but the Centaurs came back for a 32-31 halftime lead over Laguna Beach in the Westminster Tournament. Armani Nicolis drove baseline and made a bounce pass to a wide open Isaiah Taylor, who converted the layup to give Culver City a 60-57 lead with seconds remaining in the game. Laguna then missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Centaurs were led by Taylor, with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Keilan Horton added 19 points and four assists. Justin Montgomery chipped in eight points and five assists, and Nicolis contributed 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
In the fifth-place semifinal, Culver City was unable to hold a five-point lead after the third quarter and lost by one to Santa Margarita, 70-69. With seconds left in regulation, Culver City missed a 15-foot jumper and had a player all alone for the tip. As the buzzer sounded, the ball rolled around the rim and fell to the court as the Santa Margarita players celebrated.
Horton sparked the Centaurs with 30 points, including eight three-point baskets. He also had six assists and four steals. Montgomery put in 11 points. Taylor tallied 10 points and six rebounds, and Walker totaled 10 points and five assists.
In the championship semifinals following a two-and-a-half hour bus ride in heavy traffic, Culver City lost to Corona del Mar from Newport Beach, 68-53. Corona Del Mar got 15 layups off of fast breaks and offensive rebounds.
Walker sparked the Centaurs with 19 points and nine rebounds. Horton added 17 points.
In the tournament opener, Culver City took care of Calvary Chapel from Santa Ana, 61-35. Culver City was too quick and had too much depth. The defense displayed high energy (23 steals), but was too aggressive (16 fouls). The offense was inconsistent due to too much dribbling, missed layups, and poor shot selection, according to Gordon.
Horton sparked the Centaurs with 29 points and four assists. Taylor contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor tallied 12 rebounds and Horton was the defensive player of the game, with seven steals.
“We had a good match-up with Laguna Beach,” Culver City head coach Jonathan Chapman said. “We played well in three of our games.”