Last season the Santa Monica High boys basketball team reached the state tournament for the first time in James Hecht’s 15 years as head coach.
The Vikings had a 22-9 record which included three victories in the CIF playoffs.
Now Hecht is attenpting to replace four key seniors — center Kunu Shofu, forward Garrett Flick and guards Gerald Hatchett and Donte Bowie.
The Vikings began their season last week by losing three of four games in the Redondo Tournament.
Samohi began by coming from seven points behind in the fourth quarter to edge Mayfair, 66-65. Then they lost to Fairfax, 50-35, to Palisades, 67-60 and to Redondo, 60-59.
“We’ve been inconsistent,” said Hecht. “We’ve shown flashes of being a good team. We’re finding our way and I’m optimistic about the season.”
Five players who were juniors last season return to provide the foundation. They are James Montgomery, Henry Horn, Cory Walker, Danilo Toscovic and Solomon Singer.
Hecht says newcomers Jovan Maze and Jerry Shevlin have played significant minutes too. Maze is the brother of former Viking football star Terrell Maze.
This week Samohi is playing in the Beverly Hills Tournament. The Vikings’ first game was scheduled for Tuesday, December 8 against Van Nuys at 4:30.
Hecht’s teams are usually strong contenders in the Ocean League, playoff caliber and there seldom is a down year. This season the roster also includes youngsters from the junior varsity who may see important playing time later in the season.
League play will begin in January.