Centaurs sophomore Braylon Singleton (0) defends Cougars junior King Peterson (20) (Photo by Rob Helfman)

Despite the Cougars’ 8-2 run in the final minutes, the Culver City Centaurs survived with a 70-67 victory in the first round of the Division III CIF State boys basketball tournament.

Centaurs head coach Michael Cooper noted how his team had been working hard all season.

“We try to pay attention to detail in practice,” Cooper said. “I think we have to just worry about ourselves, make sure our defense is right, make sure we’re running the offense and doing all the little things.”

The Cougars stayed in control for the first half, with senior AJ Robinson and junior Jeremiah Blackmon leading the Crenshaw offense. By halftime, the Cougars were up 35-33.

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“Coach (Ed Waters) told us to start off the game the best way we could, start the game like we want to win,” said Crenshaw team captain King Peterson. “And that’s what we did.”

One of the goals of the Centaurs was to contain Blackmon.

“He was such a strong player, there was not really much you can do when you’re one of the biggest and strongest players,” Centaurs assistant coach Raymond Singleton said about Blackmon. “Evidently, he did get his shots off, so we did the best we could.”

During the third phase, Crenshaw senior Sherman Whitfield and Culver City senior Ayman Suliman were sidelined with injuries. Junior Raymar Williams started what became a seven-point run for the Centaurs.

“We just put our heads down,” Centaurs junior Achebe Thompson said. “Running the ball in transition, playing defense, getting offensive and defensive rebounds.”

As regulation ran out, Culver City was pegged at 66 points, allowing Crenshaw to close their deficit to two points. A shot from sophomore Braylon Singleton and free throws from sophomore Myles Singleton would keep the Centaurs ahead at the final buzzer.

The Centaurs will face the Lincoln Hornets of San Diego on Thursday at 7:00P.M.. The Crenshaw girls basketball team lost to the Rancho Christian Eagles of Temecula 75-52 in the Division II State playoffs.

Several other local schools also reached the CIF state tournament with some advancing to the next round. The King/Drew Golden Eagles boys basketball team, who is a 16th seed in the Division II tournament, defeated the top seeded Canyon Comanches 73-65. They will face the Pacifica Christian/Orange County Tritons  on Thursday at 7:00P.M.

In the girls basketball Division IV tournament, the Hamilton Yankees defeated the second seeded Chino Cowboys 54-29 and will battle against the Poly Parrots of Sun Valley on Thursday at 7:00P.M.

The St Bernard Vikings boys basketball team defeated the Santa Fe Christian Eagles of Solana Beach 75-73 in the Division I playoffs, they will face the Mater Dei Monarchs in the second round.

The Bishop Montgomery Knights beat the Torrey Pines Falcons of San Diego 81-53. They will clash against Rancho Christian.