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Samohi Girls Rush Toward Playoffs:

With the CIF playoffs coming up Santa Monica High girls basketball coach Marty Verdugo is encouraged.

“That’s the best we’ve played all season,” Verdugo said following two victories at the start of February.

Samohi defeated first place Inglewood 53-43 and Beverly Hills 65-52.

The Vikings are in second place, and seem certain of receiving a playoff berth. The team is 18-5 overall and 6-2 in the Ocean League, one game behind Inglewood,

The return of Ellesse Brandis from an injury has given Samohi inside strength. Guards Thea Lemberger and Kristina Johnson have been exceptional, forward Jenny Harding handles her assignments superbly, and senior center Brena McNamara has set important screens and run pick ’n roll plays well with the high-scoring Lemberger.

In handing Inglewood its only league loss Samohi benefitted from Lemberger’s 24 points and 13 by Johnson.

As usual, Harding took on the hardest defensive assignment and helped Samohi do well in rebounding.

Samohi then built a 24-5 lead over Beverly Hills and wasn’t threatened. The game wasn’t as close as the 13-point final margin would indicate.

Although Verdugo is happy with the team’s progress the Vikings are still without Sabrina Norton (wrist injury) and Lilly Feder (back problem). Norton was hopeful of having her cast removed in a recent examination but was told it must stay on longer.

Playoff pairings will be announced Sunday, February 15.

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