The Santa Monica High School boys basketball team will
take on Pleasant Grove High School (Elk Grove, CA) in Sacramento tonight in the
California State Championship game after a nail-biting win against Loyola last
Tonight’s tip off is at 8 pm at Sacramento Sleep Train
Pleasant Grove defeated a higher-ranked and higher-seeded team (Deer Valley of Antioch) in its regional final to advance to the school’s first CIF state final.
This will be Samohi’s first CIF state title game in the modern era.
In 1928, Santa Monica was the last SoCal regional champion before the CIF did away with state championships in boys’ basketball. Santa Monica lost in that state title game to NorCal regional champ Stockton, 26-12.
Samohi (29-6) and Loyola (25-8) basketball teams were no
strangers when they met for the third time in 2012-13 season Saturday night in
the Southern California Regional Championships at the Citizens Business Bank
Arena in Ontario.
The highly anticipated basketball game didn’t fail to
live up to its billing.
With the game tied at 50-50 in the final seconds of the
fourth quarter, Samohi guard Jordan Matthews hit a three-point shot to take the
lead 53-50, leaving only 1.4 seconds on the clock for Loyola to respond.
But the Cubs didn’t even have enough time to attempt a
shot to tie the game.
Samohi basketball head coach James Hecht said the Vikings
beat a “heck of a team.”
“From start to finish we competed,” said Hecht. “They had
a lot of weapons and lots of match-ups for us. We had to plant our feet a few
times and get some stops. This is one for the history books to be sure.”
Loyola basketball head coach Jamal Adams said the Cubs
were beaten by a lackluster first half and one play by Matthews.
“We were disappointed with our inability to finish the
first half,” said Adams. “We missed shots that we wanted to make. At the end we
ran a play and knocked it down, and it took a step behind a NBA three from
Jordan Matthews, who is obviously a great player, to beat us.”
Prior to the basket by Matthews, Loyola had surmounted a
comeback against the Vikings slowly chipping away at a ten-point Vikings lead
culminating with a bucket by Cubs forward Thomas Welsh to tie the game at 50-50
with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter.
“This game is about momentum changes and we knew that
Loyola was going to go on a run,” said Hecht. “I’d be shocked if they didn’t.”
In the previous match-ups earlier in the 2012-13
basketball season, it was the Vikings who lost to the Cubs 68-62 and 83-82. But
that was not the case the third time around with the CIF Southern California
Regional Championship on the line.
Vikings guard Troy Maloney was on fire against the Cubs
nailing three-point shots to lead the Vikings with 11 points by halftime.
Maloney went on to score two more three-point shots in the second half to net
five of seven three-point shots from the field.
Maloney said his aggressiveness against the Cubs helped
the Vikings win the game.
“I just wanted to keep being aggressive because I knew my
team needed me to score,” said Maloney. “Especially when other people were
But when the game came down to the wire and only a second
was left to play, it was Matthews who took charge, made the correct decisions,
and hit the game winning three-point shot.
Matthews said Welsh wasn’t going to allow him to take the
shot after Vikings forward Chris Smith did a pick and roll against Welsh in an
attempt to box out the massive forward and get open.
Instead, Matthews found himself alone and hit a
three-point jumper from around 33 feet to win the game against Loyola.
“I thought Welsh was going to stay on me,” said Matthews.
“Or I thought that Chris was going to slip the screen and was going to give
them a lay-up but I saw Welsh hedge hard and I knew he was done after that.”
Matthews scored 19 points in the game while Maloney
scored a playoff high of 17.
Pleasant Grove has a season
record of 27-6 going into tonight’s championship game.
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.