Beverly Hills Top Samohi Basketball In Ocean League Play

Vikings fail to catch Normans after falling behind early

Saturday, 8 Feb 2014, 5:59:00 PM

Dennis Freeman

Samohi's Jonah Mathews (4) goes up to block a layup attempt by a Beverly Hills player during an Ocean League contest at Santa Monica High School's gymnasium. Beverly Hills defeated Samohi 58-45 Friday, Feb.7.
Photo by Dennis Freeman
Samohi's Jonah Mathews (4) goes up to block a layup attempt by a Beverly Hills player during an Ocean League contest at Santa Monica High School's gymnasium. Beverly Hills defeated Samohi 58-45 Friday, Feb.7.

The second Ocean League showdown of the season between the Santa

Monica High School boys' basketball team and Beverly Hills High School

could not have started worse for the Vikings Friday night. 

With sole possession of first place on the line, Samohi didn't just

get out of the gate slow, it found itself stuck in the mud in the first

quarter. Beverly Hills, stepping on the defensive gas pedal in the first

quarter, locked up Samohi and limited the Vikings to just five points

in the first period.

The Normans pressed and pressured Samohi players all the way up the

court and in isolation, wrecking havoc and chaos for the Vikings early

on its way to a 58-45 win at Santa Monica. 

The victory puts Beverly Hills (17-8, 7-1) in the driver's seat to

claim the Ocean League title. Samohi, with the loss, drop to a tie with

Inglewood for second place. The Normans jumped out to a 13-5 first

quarter lead by being active on the defensive end, forcing multiple

Vikings' turnovers and forcing Samohi to play out of rhythm for the

first eight minutes of the game. 

The drama continued for Samohi a couple of minutes into the second

quarter as the Normans raced out to a lead that was big enough to think

that this game would turned into an ugly blowout defeat for the

Vikings. 

However, Samohi (14-10, 6-2), got its swerve back midway through the

second quarter to show those packed in the hot Santa Monica High gym

that this contest was far from over. Even though the Vikings went into

halftime trailing the Normans, 29-17, Samohi players Jonah Mathews, Ray

Mancini and Travis Fujita gave the home fans something to cheer about in

the second quarter.

The Vikings got back into the game with some stellar defense of its

own, holding Beverly Hills to just 12 points in the third quarter,

energizing the home crowd. The crowd got even more hyped after Mathews

connected on a three-point shots and a put back basket by Mikhail Brown

put Samohi within striking distance of possibly overtaking Beverly

Hills. 

After Brown's bucket, Samohi trailed Beverly Hills just 43-39 midway

through the fourth quarter. But a couple of turnovers and a number of

key shots made by Beverly Hills down the stretch was enough for the

Normans to short-circuit Samohi's comeback dreams. 

Mathews led Samohi with 14 points. Fujita and Mancini each contributed six points for the Vikings.

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