It was a week to remember for Taylor Walker, a Santa Monica High senior.
Walker made 12 of 13 shots and all seven free throw attempts in a pair of games for the Samohi boys’ basketball team.
Samohi moved into a tie for first place in the Ocean League with a 53-46 overtime win at Beverly Hills followed by a 66-52 home victory over Culver City, coupled with Hawthorne’s loss to Inglewood.
The Vikings also played in a South Bay Extravaganza Saturday and lost to Bishop Montgomery, 55-38.
Beginning this week, Samohi, Hawthorne and Inglewood have 3-1 league records. Samohi’s overall record is 17-3.
Walker scored 13 points against Culver City, all in the second half. He made all six field goal attempts and his only free throw try.
He scored 18 points against Bishop Montgomery, making six of seven shots, and was 6-for-6 on free throws.
“He’s 6-foot-1, left-handed, athletic and strong,” said Coach James Hecht. “He’s been in our program for four years but last season didn’t get much playing time. We’ve talked recently about the importance of other things besides scoring, and he’s giving the team good leadership.”
Hecht also praised the contribution of junior Ed Willis, who came off the bench to contribute 18 points and eight rebounds against Beverly Hills.
“He gave us a great spark,” said Hecht.
In that game Samohi fell behind, 19-4, came within two points at halftime, ended regulation in a 46-46 deadlock and outscored Beverly Hills in overtime, 7-0.
“They made their first five three-point shots,” said Hecht. “We methodically climbed into the game, identified who their shooters were and tightened our defense.”
Beverly Hills was held to four points in the second quarter.
Two nights later Samohi was confronted by Marqus Richards of Culver City, who is considered a first team all-league player.
Richards scored 26 points, but Samohi overcame early foul trouble with the help of several reserves.
“With three starters having two fouls in the first quarter, we needed help from the reserves and they did a nice job,” said Hecht.
After trailing by two points at halftime, Samohi was superior in the second half. Samohi outscored Culver in the fourth quarter, 21-14.
Center Ari Feldman, one of the starters with early foul problems, scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, teaming with Walker to lead the surge.
“Our slow starts are a concern,” Hecht admitted.
In losing to Bishop Montgomery in a non-league game, Samohi trailed at halftime, 24-14, and this time there was no comeback.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” said Hecht. “And they were sharp with their execution. It was our third game of the week and Bishop Montgomery’s first. I don’t know if that was a factor but they played well and deserved to win.”
Samohi was scheduled to host Hawthorne Wednesday, January 24, and play at Morningside Friday, January 26.
An important development in the league race is an injury to Hawthorne’s Brandon Richardson, a star player who has committed to play next season at Nebraska.
Richardson suffered a hand injury and didn’t play in the loss to Inglewood. His status for upcoming games is unknown.