SANTA MONICA – Santa Monica High School boys basketball team went from down 0-8 in the first quarter, and letting the game slip away, to winning a thriller against the defending CIF Division 3-A Serra of Gardena on Tuesday night at Samohi’s South Gym. The final score was 56-54.
Serra went 34-2 last season and won the Division 3 state championship.
Immediately after the game, sophomore guard Jordan Matthews, who scored 21 points, played down the upset and keyed in on the word “hard” to describe how they won.
“It’s not an upset, man, it’s just a win,” the 6-foot-3 guard said. “We played hard. We just went through a tough tournament where we had issues playing hard, came out tonight and we battled. It feels good, really good. We played hard, really hard.”
Matthews had help in senior guard Holden Foshag, as the duo combined for 32 points (Foshag added 11 points), sparking a Viking comeback in the second quarter with back-to-back plays on offense and defense that slowed down a more athletic Serra team, paced by 6-foot-7 senior forward/center Ronnie Stevens, who will play for the University of Hawaii next season.
Samohi head coach James Hecht was pleased with the victory and how the game plan with Foshag and Matthews worked out.
“When we put one on one side and one on the other, it allows us to spread the floor and we try to take advantage of that,” Hecht said. “Serra was doubling a lot on the first pass, which opened up our shooters in the corner for us, and we were able to knock down some shots. We’ve got some key rebounds in the second half, especially the end of the last few minutes of the fourth quarter and were fortunate enough to walk away with the victory.”
The Vikings will next face an opponent yet-to-determined at 8 p.m. Thursday in the second round of The Tournament.