Following a dramatic 74-70 win over Hawthorne last Wednesday, January 24, Santa Monica High began this week tied for the Ocean League boys’ basketball lead with Inglewood.
Both teams have 5-1 records and were scheduled to play at Samohi Wednesday, on the final day of January. The result was unavailable at press time.
Until recently Hawthorne was unbeaten in the league. Then Brandon Richardson, their star player who has committed to play at Nebraska next season, went out with a hand injury. The Cougars have lost three games since then.
But Samohi had to be good to defeat Hawthorne. Samohi led after one quarter, 20-15, and was ahead most of the way, however Hawthorne caught up at 54-54 with seven minutes to play and went in front a few minutes later, 60-58.
“At that time we showed a lot of composure,” said Coach James Hecht.
Leo Arnold made a three-point shot, Ari Feldman made a key block and the Vikings pulled through, improving their overall record to 19-3.
Arnold scored 25 points and also had five rebounds and five assists. Feldman had eight blocks along with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Two nights later Samohi won at Morningside, 74-61.
“It was a physical game,” said Hecht. “We shot 52 free throws, the most I can remember any of my teams here attempting in the last 13 years.”
Samohi made 41, accounting for almost half of its points. The Vikings attempted 25 free throws in the fourth quarter when Morningside was behind and attempting to get the ball back quickly.
With two weeks left in the regular season, Samohi’s final two games will be at Culver City February 6 and at Beverly Hills February 8.
Samohi is assured of a playoff berth and hopes to make a run similar to last season when it reached the CIF semi-finals.
At 6-foot-6, Feldman has become a major factor. Although he plans to concentrate on volleyball next season at Cal State Northridge, he has made a lot of improvement as a basketball player.
Point guard Bryan Louff guides the Vikings on the court, and others have come through with some timely performances.