Six winter sports teams, five playoff berths, only four squads remain standing.
The first week of CIF Southern Section (CIF-SS) winter playoffs is underway and the Samohi Vikings are well represented, with five teams qualifying for postseason action; only boys wrestling did not qualify.
Samohi’s Lady Vikings water polo squad joined the boys and girls teams in both basketball and soccer, and prepared for its first postseason match ups later in the week.
Starting winter postseason action right for Samohi was girls water polo, as the Lady Vikings (13-13 overall, 6-4 in league) defeated Hemet, 9-2, on Feb. 15.
With the win, the Lady Vikings, who finished third in Ocean League, advanced to the second round of the Division 6 CIF-SS playoffs and will face Anaheim Western at Katella High School on Feb. 17; please check the Mirror’s Website smmirror.com after the match to see whether Samohi advanced to the quarterfinals.
Things were not so promising for the boys’ basketball team, as the Vikings (12-15, 6-4), fell to No. 11 Upland, 77-55, in its CIF-SS Division 1-AA first-round match up.
Traveling to the Inland Empire after barely squeaking into the playoffs, Samohi kept it close for most of the game. With the game tied 28-28 at halftime, the Vikings entered the fourth quarter trailing the Highlanders by only two points, 50-48. Still within a couple scores with about five minutes remaining, Upland won the game in the final stretch and eliminated the Vikings from the playoffs.
In the fourth quarter overall, Upland outscored Samohi 27-7 to round out the final score.
“I know this is a cliché thing for a coach to say, but the game was a lot closer than the score indicated,” Samohi head coach James Hecht told the Mirror. “We played well for three-and-a-half quarters. It’s unfortunate we lost, but we battled. We definitely got better as the season went on.”
Leading the way for Samohi were Jordan Matthews (23 points) and Holden Foshag (15 points). The Highlanders (19-9, 6-4) were led by Anthony Fitzpatrick and Myles Pearson, both of whom scored 17 points apiece.
Samohi qualified for the playoffs after it won its final six games of the regular season, all in Ocean League play. Coach Hecht added that his team, which graduated four seniors this season, will return with 11 players for the 2011-2012 campaign.
In the girls’ basketball bracket, the Lady Vikings (19-8, 8-2), who finished second in Ocean League play and earned the seventh seed in the Division 1AA bracket, commence its CIF-SS postseason run hosting Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (22-4, 11-3), the runner-up in the Inland Valley league.
After claiming the Ocean League championship, the Vikings boys’ soccer team (14-0-2, 7-0-1) earned the top seed in the CIF-SS Division 4 bracket and will host El Segundo at John Adams Middle School at 4 p.m. on Feb. 18. El Segundo defeated Whittier Pioneer, 6-1, in a wild card contest on Feb. 16.
Also claiming a Ocean League title was the Lady Vikings (13-7-2, 8-1-1) soccer crew, who will host Malibu (11-7-1, 7-4-1) in a CIF-SS Division 4 first round contest at 7 p.m. on Feb. 17; please check the Mirror’s Website after the game for results.