The Culver City Centaurs, 21-2 overall and 8-0 in the Ocean League at the start of the week, ride into Beverly Hills to take on the Normans (11-11, 5-3) ) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in what Culver City Coach Marty Siegal calls a big week in prep basketball.
With the season winding to a conclusion, many league races will be decided. Siegal sees the game against Beverly Hills as important preparation for the playoffs and hopes his team shows more intensity than it did against Torrance.
Torrance came within four points in the third quarter, but the Centaurs pulled away to a 72-58 victory.
Siegal said the problems that plagued his team against Torrance will have to be ironed out if the Centaurs are to go far in the playoffs. "We will need to sustain our intensity for four quarters, improve our press defense and stay out of foul trouble."
Beverly Hills Coach Jack Dyck said his team will have to play a mistake-free game to win. "We'll need to handle the pressure, which we didn't do very well the last time, and we'll need to keep them off the offensive boards."
Dyck will have center Wayne Thompson for this game. Thompson was sidelined with a knee injury when the Normans squared off against the Centaurs in their last meeting. Siegal said that if his team plays its normal game Friday, it should have no problem beating the Normans. "They're a spunky team with an excellent coach, but they are real deliberate (and have) no great size and no depth around (Lionel) McPherson and Thompson. If one of those kids gets into foul trouble, then they have to go to their sixth man, and he's not as good as our sixth man."
Players to watch for Culver City are Marvin Nelson, averaging 17 points; John Jones (13 points and 8.8 rebounds) and Todd Semien (12.3 points). For Beverly Hills, McPherson is averaging 16.1 points and Thompson 11.4 points and a team-leading 10.4 rebounds.
Hamilton at Fairfax
The Fairfax Lions (16-2 overall and 8-2 in the Valley League) will face Hamilton (4-13, 3-7) at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Lions are coming off a 56-53 victory over Cleveland that put them half a game behind the first-place Cavaliers going into this week.
"This is a rivalry," said Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani about Hamilton. "Our kids seem to rise to the occasion.
"They're a small team, and they play very hard--we'll have to be ready to go." His team will apply full-court pressure on defense and work the ball around on offense. "We need to have more intensity on defense and show more patience on offense--make the second or third pass."
Kitani hopes that Fairfax plays Hamilton as it did in the second half against Cleveland. Surviving 32% first-half shooting and missing numerous fast-break opportunities, the Lions came back to shoot 50% in the second half and converted on fast break. Sean Higgins scored 22 points and Chris Mills 20.
Higgins is averaging 22.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, Mills 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds and J. D. Green 15 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Palisades at Dorsey
Dorsey (10-9 overall and 2-6 in the Central League) plays host to Palisades (14-5, 4-4) at 4 p.m. Friday in a fight for one of the 16 playoff spots in the City 4-A Division.
"They're as good as any team in the league except Crenshaw," said Palisades Coach Jerry Marvin about the Dons. "They're quick and have good size and they have two players (Lafayette Dorsey and Darious Henderson) who shot the ball extremely well against us at Dorsey."
Marvin said his team's lack of quickness has been a problem all year, especially against teams like Dorsey that press on defense. "We turn the ball over because of our lack of quickness and need to improve on that."
Dons Coach Dave Gordon said his team will apply strong defensive pressure and hit the boards hard. "This game might have an effect on our making the playoffs," Gordon said. With six losses in league play, another could eliminate the Dons from a playoff spot.
The Dons give their opponents different looks on defense, and Marvin said his team will have to recognize the defense quickly and attack it. He said if his team plays its normal game it should win.
The Dolphins are coming off a 57-53 loss to sizzling Westchester. The Comets shot 65% from the floor and capitalized on Dolphin turnovers.
Marvin said he feels that this is the first time in many years that his team can compete with other top clubs. "We have good depth, size and experience heading into the playoffs."
The Dolphins are led by Derek Strong with 15.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game and Victor Malbrough, averaging 13.6 and 5.1 rebounds.
Marymount at Notre Dame (Girls)
First place is on the line when Marymount, (14-5 overall and 8-0 in the Sunshine League) faces Notre Dame (14-4, 7-1) at 5 p.m. today.
"This is a big game for the kids; they've never beaten Notre Dame until this year," Marymount Coach Christopher Utz said.
Utz said it will take a team effort and a top individual performance from leading scorer Cathy McNamee to turn back the Regals. "They're a very balanced team, and they like to fast break or work the ball inside," he said. Utz said his team matches up well with the Regals and the keys are to hit free throws and keep Notre Dame from getting the ball inside.
The Sailors are led by McNamee, who is averaging 18.8 points; Karen Pope, 7.9 points, and Molly O'Sullivan, averaging a team-high 9 rebounds.