September 29, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

New Era of Samohi Girls’ Basketball:

The growth of high school girls’ basketball in the United States was dramatic in the just-concluded decade.

As training and coaching improved, as players became more athletic and inclined to participate, year-around interest among fans increased. And right here at Santa Monica High there is strong evidence of the growth.

To put it simply, Samohi girls basketball has entered the big time. In Marty Verdugo’s fourth year as head coach he has two players who’ve signed Division 1 letters of intent — Thea Lemberger to UCLA and Lilly Feder, who’ll join her sister, former Viking star Daisy Feder at UC San Diego.

Recruiters are also paying attention to several other members of the team, most notably Sabrina Norton, the daughter of former NFL player Ken Norton.

The Samohi girls were a factor in last season’s CIF playoffs and may challenge for a championship again as one transfer from an Arizona high school has joined the Vikings and another is attempting to gain her eligibility.

With the increased attention comes increased responsibility, and Verdugo may have learned a lesson in the way he handled a recent incident.

Lemberger was kept home from a trip to Arizona for a high profile tournament but the media wasn’t told. When the story came out, as it always does, the coach explained it was a private matter. Well, this will only lead to more scrutiny.

Verdugo once was video co-ordinator for the San Antonio Spurs. A reporter made the point that if Tim Duncan missed a game it was a news item in San Antonio, and to a lesser degree the stars of high school teams here are newsmakers in Santa Monica.

It may be natural that a high school coach doesn’t realize that yet, but it’s true.

On the court, Samohi will contend with Inglewood for the Ocean League championship, and Beverly Hills is also strong.

Inglewood won the league last season. Inglewood and Santa Monica split their two games but Samohi also lost to Beverly Hills.

In the playoffs Inglewood and Santa Monica were placed in different divisions and both did well. The growth of high school girls’ basketball in the United States was dramatic in the just-concluded decade.

As training and coaching improved, as players became more athletic and inclined to participate, year-around interest among fans increased. And right here at Santa Monica High there is strong evidence of the growth.

To put it simply, Samohi girls basketball has entered the big time. In Marty Verdugo’s fourth year as head coach he has two players who’ve signed Division 1 letters of intent — Thea Lemberger to UCLA and Lilly Feder, who’ll join her sister, former Viking star Daisy Feder at UC San Diego.

Recruiters are also paying attention to several other members of the team, most notably Sabrina Norton, the daughter of former NFL player Ken Norton.

The Samohi girls were a factor in last season’s CIF playoffs and may challenge for a championship again as one transfer from an Arizona high school has joined the Vikings and another is attempting to gain her eligibility.

With the increased attention comes increased responsibility, and Verdugo may have learned a lesson in the way he handled a recent incident.

Lemberger was kept home from a trip to Arizona for a high profile tournament but the media wasn’t told. When the story came out, as it always does, the coach explained it was a private matter. Well, this will only lead to more scrutiny.

Verdugo once was video co-ordinator for the San Antonio Spurs. A reporter made the point that if Tim Duncan missed a game it was a news item in San Antonio, and to a lesser degree the stars of high school teams here are newsmakers in Santa Monica.

It may be natural that a high school coach doesn’t realize that yet, but it’s true.

On the court, Samohi will contend with Inglewood for the Ocean League championship, and Beverly Hills is also strong.

Inglewood won the league last season. Inglewood and Santa Monica split their two games but Samohi also lost to Beverly Hills.

In the playoffs Inglewood and Santa Monica were placed in different divisions and both did well. 

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