The Ocean League boys’ basketball race came down to the last few minutes of the final game.
Santa Monica High began the fourth quarter with a 41-37 deficit but rallied to defeat Hawthorne, 50-45, on Thursday night, February 7 in the Vikings’ gym.
As a result Samohi, which is 19-7 overall, finished its league schedule with an 8-2 record. And Hawthorne, which was hoping to gain a share of the league title, had to settle for a tie for second place.
Senior forward Ed Willis keyed Samohi’s strong fourth quarter by scoring eight of his 18 points and Justin Maxwell made a pair of clinching free throws.
Samohi began the game by taking a 13-2 lead. Hawthorne responded by going on a 16-2 run and the contest was close the rest of the way.
Samohi began the week in the enviable position of having its two remaining league games at home. However, the first opponent was Culver City, a poor team most of the season which had won both of its games the previous week, prompting Coach Jon Chapman to observe: “We’re finally playing like I’ve wanted all along.”
Culver City did provide strong opposition but Samohi prevailed, 63-57, as Willis scored 31 points.
“We jumped out early but Culver kept making three-point shots and it became a close game” said Samohi coach James Hecht.
It’s been an outstanding season for Samohi boys’ basketball teams. The junior varsity and freshmen also won league championships and the sophomore team finished second.
The Samohi girls won another in a series of Ocean League championships by embarking on a nine-game winning streak after losing to Inglewood.
The last two victories were accomplished on the road, over Culver City, 55-43, and Hawthorne, 72-33.
No individual statistics were made available.