The game lasted 32 minutes, but it took only a few for the Culver City High girls basketball team to take care of host Beverly Hills and complete a perfect season in the Ocean League on Thursday night.
"This is what I've wanted since my freshman year and it feels great," senior forward Lunden Junious said.
The Centaurs raced to an 11-0 lead in the opening moments and never looked back, routing their archrivals 47-22 to finish three games in front of second place up Santa Monica. Culver City will get a home game in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2A playoffs, which start next week.
"It feels really good but we're not done yet, hopefully we can go a lot farther in playoffs so we're not satisfied," senior guard Taylor Tanita said. "We expected to win all of our games. Last year we were 7-3 and some of the teams graduated a lot of seniors. We also improved a lot. Being together for another year helped us get better."
Culver City (18-7 overall, 10 in league) won 10 of its final 11 games and Coach Julian Anderson took a few moments to savor his squad's accomplishment before shifting his focus to the third and final phase of the season.
"The Ocean League is one of the better leagues around and I've enjoyed it for the last six years," he said. "I'm glad it's shifted for a second because it's been Santa Monica and Inglewood for the longest time. Now, we gotta go 5-0 to win. We just have to believe in ourselves, adjust a few thigns and we can do it."
There was a lot on the line for the Centaurs heading into Thursday night's regular season finale at Beverly Hills. A victory over their archrivals would move them into a tie for third place in the Ocean League and also raise their overall record above .500.
However, the host Normans prevailed 63-53, to drop Culver City (13-13, 4-6) into a fourth-place tie with Morningside (which upset second-place Inglewood) and put its postseason hopes in jeopardy. Centaurs Coach Jonathan Chapman will have to petition the CIF to gain a wildcard berth into the playoffs.
The game was tied 11-11 after the first quarter, but Beverly Hills controlled the second quarter and took a 28-21 lead into halftime. The Normans increased the margin to 13 points heading into the fourth quarter and it proved to be too large a deficit to overcome.
Aamahd Walker had 21 points and Keilan Horton added 15 for the Centaurs.
The Centaurs clinched second place in the Ocean League with a 3-0 victory over arch rival Beverly Hills on Thursday, handing the Normans their first defeat in league play. Beverly Hills had won the first meeting between the teams 1-0.
Culver City (14-7-1 overall, 8-2 in league) finished half a game ahead of defending champion Santa Monica (7-2-1 in league). As the league champion, Beverly Hills (8-1-1 in league) earns an automatic berth to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs while Culver City and Samo should also qualify.
Hayley Pina, Cassandra Garcia and Jasmin Flores scored the goals and Karina Ramirez and Jacquelyn Espinosa had the assists in the home victory over the Normans. Goalkeeper Daniella Gutierrez made five saves as Culver City posted its fourth shutout in its last five games.
The Centaurs lost their season finale at Beverly Hills, 4-3, in a contest that was tied 2-2 at halftime. Maxie Espeleta assisted on goals by Chris Galang and Jacob Elliot in Culver City's 3-2 home loss to Hawthorne on Tuesday.
With an overall record of 4-12-5 and a 2-7-1 league mark, Culver City finished fifth, two games ahead of winless Inglewood. Santa Monica took first place with a 7-0-2 league ledger.