CARSON — If the Vikings are going to be state champs, it will most likely be one heck of a road trip.

Santa Monica High School’s girls’ basketball team, fresh off a loss to eventual champ Mater Dei in the semi-finals of the CIF-Southern Section last week, will take to the road today for a first round matchup with City Section winner Carson in the state Division 1 championships. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Despite drawing the No. 9 seed in the 16 team Southern California regional field, Head Coach Marty Verdugo said that he’s confident his team can advance to a potential third meeting with powerhouse Mater Dei in the second round.

“We’re not going to overlook [Carson],” Verdugo said. “They did just win city. We’ll go down there and battle.”

The first order of business for Samohi will be putting the loss to Mater Dei behind them.

“We had to recover, it took a while,” Verdugo said. “It was a tough week, a big loss.”

The game against Carson has added importance because it could be the final game for a number of Vikings. Verdugo has said this will be his final at the helm of the team and the Vikings’ trio of senior leaders (Moriah Faulk, Bianka Balthazar and Kristina “KJ” Johnson) will be off to NCAA Division 1 schools next year.

But, if Verdugo and the Vikings have their way, they’ll have another shot at toppling Mater Dei, who has defeated Samohi twice.

“It would be a nice final touch to knock off Mater Dei,” Verdugo said. “This is our last hurrah, our last chance.”

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