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Samohi Ready to Open Ocean League Schedule:

After winning 14 of its first 15 games, the Santa Monica High boys’ basketball team didn’t play last week, which gave the coaching staff an opportunity to watch Ocean League opponents in their final non-league contests.

“We saw them all play and it looks like it’s going to be a competitive league,” said Samohi Coach James Hecht. “Anyone who takes a league opponent lightly is going to be sorry.”

Samohi, which reached the CIF playoff semi-finals last season before losing to Long Beach Jordan, 62-58, is aiming for another league championship and playoff advancement. But one has to look no further than the school’s football team, which also had high hopes but didn’t qualify for the 2006 playoffs.

Hecht’s team comes off a championship in the Santa Barbara Tournament in which guard Bryan Louff was MVP and center Ari Feldman made all-tournament.

“Then we had a good week of practice and we’re ready to go,” said Hecht, who is guiding the Vikings for the 13th year.

Samohi was scheduled to begin league play Wednesday, January 10, at home against Morningside. The result was not available at press time.

On Friday, January 12, Samohi will play at Inglewood.

Louff, Feldman and Leo Arnold are the Vikings’ leaders but other players have come through, including juniors Willie Goetz and Ed Willis.

Hecht says Culver City’s Marquis Richards is an outstanding player. The Centaurs added 6-foot-5 Cameron Hale this season, and he leads the team with 30 blocked shots.

Culver City is coached by Jon Chapman, who was a reserve on a couple of John Wooden’s national championship teams at UCLA.

Culver City has been inconsistent but has the talent to be a contender for one of the league’s three playoff berths.

Hecht was also impressed with the potential of Beverly Hills and Hawthorne.

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