SAMOHI — As the ball came off Santa Monica’s Jordan Mathews shooting hand it looked like the Vikings would tie Fairfax in the finals seconds Wednesday, but the ball skimmed the front of the rim ending what had been a furious rally.
Fairfax was able to rebound the miss and iced the game at the free throw line in the closing seconds to secure a second round win over host Samohi in the second annual “The Tournament.”
Samohi fell behind by 17 points early in the third quarter, but were able to whittle down the lead to 12 at the end of the quarter.
From there, Mathews put on a show scoring seven straight points for the Vikings bringing Samohi to within seven with five minutes remaining in regulation.
The teams would battle back and fourth, but Samohi managed to come within three on a lay-up by Mathews that Trey Thompson assisted on. The teams traded baskets until Mathew’s late-game shot came up short, opening the door for Fairfax to secure the win.
“We can’t be lackluster early,” said Mathews, who finished with 25 points. “But I’m not too worried, it’s still early.”
Mathew’s sentiment was echoed by Head Coach James Hecht, who said that his team has yet to play a complete game in opening the season 3-2.
The same took place during the first round of the tourney against Cleveland. The Vikings built a hefty lead only to scrap to hold on for the victory.
“We have to decide when we want to play with some consistency,” Hecht said. “It’s been a problem this year. We just can’t afford let downs.”
Hecht was impressed by his team’s resiliency and ability to play with “reckless abandon,” but would rather win games with a bit more ease.
“We finally played with some urgency,” he said. “We were trying to rely on jump shots.”
Mathew’s willingness to attack the basket is what gave the Vikings a chance in the second half. That’s something Hecht hopes to see from his team as they move on in their tournament.
Samohi moves on to the fifth place bracket. They play today at 5 p.m. against the loser of the Loyola-El Camino game, which was scheduled for Thursday. Results from that game were not available at presstime. Fairfax will play the winner of that game, also today.