Santa Monica High Vikings Travel To Sacramento For Boys Div. I Championship

Friday, 22 Mar 2013, 8:48:00 AM

Roger Morante

Samohi guard Jordan Matthews winds up to hit the three-point shot that won the game for the Vikings against the Loyola Cubs in the 2013 CIF So. California Regional Championships at the Citizens Business Bank Arena Saturday night.
Photo by Roger Morante
Samohi guard Jordan Matthews winds up to hit the three-point shot that won the game for the Vikings against the Loyola Cubs in the 2013 CIF So. California Regional Championships at the Citizens Business Bank Arena Saturday night.

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

Saturday night.

Tonight’s tip off is at 8 pm at Sacramento Sleep Train

Arena.

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

struggling.”

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.

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