And then there were two.
The Santa Monica High School girls’ basketball and boys’ soccer teams advanced in their respective brackets in CIF Southern Section playoff action on Feb. 23.
Both teams advanced in a pair of nail-biters, with Samohi relying upon penalty kicks to edge past La Puente and advance to the CIF-SS Division 4 quarterfinals, while the Lady Vikings basketball squad defeated No. 2 Long Beach Poly, 57-56, in the final 0.4 seconds in its Division 1-AA quarterfinal match up.
Samohi’s victory over Moore League champion Poly was the upset special match of the week, as the Lady Vikings unseated a second-ranked team and a squad who won five consecutive state championships coming into the 2011 playoffs.
Adding to the drama was the fact that Poly defeated the Lady Vikings, 65-48, when it first hosted Samohi on Jan. 22.
Returning to the same hardwood floor almost one month later to the date, the Lady Vikings happily exchanged the regular season loss with the playoff victory.
It was not easy, though. Leading 54-50 in the closing moments of the game, the Jackrabbits scored six unanswered points to claim a 56-54 lead.
Samohi tied the game at 56-56 with less than one minute to play and took the lead when Bianka Balthazar made one free-throw after she was fouled with 0.4 seconds remaining. Poly did not have enough time to respond, ending its playoff run to the Lady Vikings.
Balthazar led the Vikings with 18 points, while Moriah Faulk added 15 and Kristina Johnson scored 10.
With the victory, the Lady Vikings advance to the Division 1AA semifinal game against Santa Ana Mater Dei; the game is set for March 1 at Anaheim Arena.