There is no moral victory in the playoffs. You either win or your season ends.
But the Santa Monica High boys basketball players made their coach proud Thursday night while losing to nationally prominent Westchester, 75-64 in a third round game in the state tournament.
Samohi trailed by double digits most of the way, the deficit reaching 19 points, but the Vikings kept coming back.
“We played with a lot of heart,” said Samohi coach James Hecht. “I couldn’t be prouder.”
Westchester has had numerous blowout victories while winning 29 of 32 games, but Coach Ed Azzam recognized the Comets were tested by the Vikings.
“We showed poise when we needed it but they were a very good team,” he said
Samohi finished its season with a 25-8 record. It’s accomplishments included going undefeated in the Ocean League, reaching the CIF championship game for the first time in Hecht’s 16 years as coach and winning one state tournament game.
James Montgomery was Samohi’s leading scorer against Westchester with 21 points. Harry Horn and Corey Walker had 13 and Solomon Singer 10.
Westchester is the LA City Section champion. It won the state tournament a year ago and this is the latest in a long line of outstanding teams Azzam has had.
Hecht said “We left it on the floor,” — a coach’s way of saying his team gave everything it had to give.
Mirror Sports Editorsports@smmirror.com