BEVERLY HILLS — Santa Monica boys’ basketball coach James Hecht was frustrated throughout the game with his team’s poor shooting and lack of ball movement against rival Beverly Hills on Wednesday night.
The Vikings fell to the Normans, 55-47, on the road giving them their first Ocean League loss and snapping a modest three-game winning streak.
The Vikings dropped to 2-1 in league games and 10-9 overall. The Normans improved to 3-0 in league and 13-7 overall.
The Normans wanted to show the Vikings this rivalry was not just one sided, getting out to an early 14-4 lead late in the first quarter. Three players finished in double digits and their aggressive defense made it difficult for the Vikings to hold on to the ball.
The Vikings committed six first-half turnovers and allowed nine offensive rebounds in route to a 23-15 half-time deficit.
Jonah Mathews, who was bottled up most of the game, led the Vikings with 19 points, two rebounds and two assists. The closest to him was Travis Fujita with 9.
The Vikings got as close as 39-33 in the second half before they started going backwards.
Sophomore Trevor Bergher lit up the Vikings, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the third quarter by way of the three-pointer. He finished with four made three-pointers.
The Normans also had six blocks on bad shot selections by the Vikings.
“We were our own worst enemy tonight,” Hecht said. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds and second and third chances to the basket.”
The Normans double-teamed Mathews forcing him to get it to his teammates, who had difficulty converting points.
“We didn’t shoot particularly well tonight,” Hecht said “I thought we could have shared the ball a little bit better tonight.”
Hecht admitted the recent string of injuries has hurt his team, but they are getting healthy and believes their up and down season can be steadied once they are at full strength.
“We’ve had three or four guys hurt all year and we’re just now starting to get healthy; that’s impacted us a little bit,” he said. “We’ll be fine, we’ll bounce back, we just have to get back into the gym, coach them up and work a little harder.”
A key injury is junior Nuwriyl Williams, who hurt his knee in the first game of the season and re-aggravated it in the Redondo tournament last month, but Hecht is hopeful he will return soon. Williams got an MRI last week.
“We’re just waiting on the results. I think structurally his knee is fine. It’s a bone bruise on the knee,” Hecht said.
The Vikings come home to play Morningside on Friday at 7:30 p.m.