BIG GAME: Samohi’s Jonah Mathews (center) leaps into the air to make a layup as Harvard-Westlake defender Bryan Polan tries to block the shot on Wednesday. (Morgan Genser editor@smdp.com)

BIG GAME: Samohi’s Jonah Mathews (center) leaps into the air to make a layup as Harvard-Westlake defender Bryan Polan tries to block the shot on Wednesday. (Morgan Genser editor@smdp.com)

SAMOHI — Samohi’s Jonah Mathews has a game that is mature beyond his years.

The sophomore guard dropped 41 points on Harvard-Westlake Wednesday in the second game of the Santa Monica Tournament at Samohi to lead his Vikings to a 85-73 victory.

“I think this proves we can beat anybody,” Mathews said after his six 3-pointer performance. “I think we’re pretty good.”

Mathews’ outburst comes at an opportune time for a Samohi team that is replacing a starting five that made it to the CIF Division 1 state championship game last year.

Mathews and junior guard Nuwr’iyl Williams form the foundation of this new unit, and through two games it’s working.

The two combined for 39 points during a season-opening win over Westside rival Palisades earlier this week and again paced the Samohi offense against Harvard-Westlake with 58 total points.

The game began close enough with both Harvard-Westlake and Samohi exchanging early leads.

Mathews scored 10 for Samohi in the first quarter to keep things close, with Harvard-Westlake ending the frame up 16-15.

The second quarter fell Samohi’s way as the Vikings entered the half up, 38-34.

It was after half time when Mathews and Co. would seize hold of the game.

Mathews sunk four 3-pointers in the third quarter, totaling 16 points in the process.

The Vikings entered the fourth with a healthy 63-43 cushion.

Harvard-Westlake and star forward Derick Newton were able to cut the lead to 78-71 with nearly a minute left, but a dunk by Samohi’s Victor Costa on a fast break sealed the deal.

“This team has a very high ceiling,” Hecht said. “I always tell them to expect nothing and to keep working.”

The win advances Samohi to the championship bracket of the annual tournament they are hosting.

Next for Samohi is a Friday rematch with Loyola, a team they defeated in the Southern California regional championship to advance to the state final where they came up short.

The two teams’ history runs deep.

Aside from the regional final, Loyola knocked off Samohi in the final of last year’s Santa Monica Tournament and downed them again later that season.

“They present a lot of matchup problems,” Hecht said of Loyola. “They are solid all around.”

Led by center Thomas Welsh and point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Loyola made it to the championship bracket with a 76-52 win over West Ranch on Wednesday.

The winner of Friday’s 8 p.m. game will advance to play for the tournament championship on Saturday.

 

 

 

daniela@smdp.com