Playing for the first time following a two-week break, the Santa Monica High girls basketball team routed host Redondo, 68-48, in a non-league game Saturday night.
Thea Lemberger, who didn’t make a trip to Arizona for a tournament in December, returned and contributed 17, points and eight assists. Backcourt partner Kristina Johnson had 11 assists, forward Moriah Faulk scored 22 points, and forward Lilly Feder had 12.
“The first three quarters were the best we’ve played this season,” said Coach Marty Verdugo. “The girls were rested and ready to go.”
Verdugo believes his team should annually compete in high-profile early-season tournaments against formidable opposition, then take a break before league games begin.
This week Samohi will begin its Ocean League schedule, playing at Morningside Wednesday night and hosting Inglewood Friday as part of a doubleheader with the boys’ teams. Then on the following Monday Samohi will play a non-league game at Bellarnine-Jefferson.
Inglewood is the defending league champion and defeated Samohi this season in a tournament game.
Faulk, a transfer from a school in Arizona, has fit in well as Samohi’s small forward since becoming eligible last momth.
“She has a major league jump shot and she’s a good rebounder,” said Verdugo.
Bianka Balthizar, who also recently transferred to Samohi from the same Arizona school and hoped to join the Vikings, has been ruled ineligible to play for a year but is permitted to practice with the team.
“The CIF said no and we won’t appeal,” said Verdugo.
In addition to its league tests. Samohi will host Mater Dei, which is rated No. 1 in the nation, as part of its Extravaganza January 30. The game, the last of six on the program, is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.ï¿½