The Santa Monica High girls’ basketball team has been eliminated from the CIF playoffs in a controversial fashion.Samohi lost its first round game Saturday to Long Beach Poly, 44-29. After holding a 15-14 halftime lead the Vikings were outscored, 19-7, in one stretch of the third quarter.Samohi was the Ocean League champion and finished its season with a 20-3 record. Long Beach Poly is a powerful team that had to forfeit most of its victories due to an ineligibility problem, but was allowed to take part in the playoffs as a wild card team and is now officially 4-24, yet is one of the favorites to win the championship.Long Beach Poly won a qualifying game to reach the next test – a game at Santa Monica. Had it not been for the unusual circumstamce Samohi would have had a better chance of going further in the playoffs.The Santa Monica boys also opened the playoffs at home last weekend, defeating Lynwood, 53-39 Friday night. The Vikings had to travel to Temecula for their second round game and play the division’s No. 3 seed. The result was unavailable at press time.Led by returning all-league forward Will Freedman, Samohi has won 18 games in another in a succession of outstanding seasons. Stability is a plus in the program. Coach James Hecht is in his 12th year, and Terrence Boozer is the latest in a long line of quality Samohi point guards.The Vikings’ chances of earning higher than a No. 14 seed were marred by two losses to league champion Hawthorne and a close loss to Beverly Hills. In the latter game, the Vikings had the ball in the final 15 seconds, but couldn’t score and then gave up the winning points.BoysBrentwood won its opening playoff game, 62-37 at Bishop. However, the Eagles were then eliminated by Whittier Christian, 69-62.Brentwood was the third place team from the Olympic League and entered the playoffs as a wild card team. It finished its season with a 15-13 record.Led by 6-foot-9 Andreas Schreiber, it had some quality wins. But some important league defeats and a non-league loss to Santa Monica marred the Eagles’ season.Campbell Hall, the Olympic League champion, romped in its first round playoff game, defeating LA Baptist, 71-35. Montclair Prep was the Olympic League’s second place team and also was very strong.Besides Santa Monica, there were two other Ocean League teams in the playoffs. Hawthorne, which won every Ocean League game, continued its winning ways, defeating Elsinore, 66-54. While Beverly Hills lost to West Torrance, 77-53. St. Monica wasn’t chosen for the playoffs. Neither was Crossroads, which won only two games in contrast to the many years when the Roadrunners had a high-powered program. It will be interesting to see if Crossroads can become a power again. Its Olympic League games against Brentwood were highly spirited for years, but Crossroads wasn’t competitive this season, not only losing but losing by one-sided scores.In the L.A. City Section playoffs both Venice and Palisades were chosen for the Invitational Bracket, comprised of teams ranked 17th through 32nd. Both won their opening round games and are scheduled to play each other tonight. Venice routed Northridege Academy, 90-65, and Palisades won at Huntington Park, 57-54.The Western League is traditionally strong and this season was no exception. Champion Fairfax and No. 4-seeded Westchester won their opening playoff games and if they are successful in the second round will meet in the tournament semi-finals. Westchester’s victory was over Carson, 78-59.Westchester has been the state champion three times in the last four years but this season Fairfax defeated Westchester in both league meetings. GirlsNew Roads advanced through the first two rounds of the CIF playoffs, defeating Santa Clara, 40-26, and Calvary Chapel of Murietta, 52-34.Brentwood also won its first two games with an 83-17 rout of New Community Jewish and a 55-37 win over Brethren Christian of Huntington Beach, 55-37.Brentwood won the division last year by defeating league rival Windward in the championship game. They’re seeded No. 1 and 2 this time and are hopeful of meeting in the finals again.Windward won both league meetings to earn the top seed. Brentwood lost only twice in the league, both times to Windward’s talented team, which has one player commited to USC and another to UCLA.Malibu was eliminated by St. Bonaventure, 63-37 in a wild card game.In the L.A. City Section playoffs, Venice won its first round game in the championship bracket, 66-57 over Taft. But Palisades, which also qualified for the championship bracket, lost to King Drew, 66-56. Palisades finished its season with a 10-11 record.Following the CIF playoffs, the champion in each division and selected runner-up teams will go on to the state tournament. There will be Southern and Northern Division playoffs with the winner in each division qualifying for a one-game championship.
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