VALENCIA — Santa Monica High School’s girls’ basketball team won its season opener, 53-42, against Palmdale Knight on Wednesday as part of the Valencia High Five Classic.

Samohi took on Royal on Thursday, but the score from that game was not available at presstime.

The Vikings, who have become one of the school’s premiere programs in recent years, are coming off another successful season. Last year, they advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs and also won a shocker at Long Beach Poly, a perennial powerhouse. Two seasons ago, they were the CIF-SS Division 1A champs.

The Vikings lost the core of last year’s team to graduation and transfer. There are three starters from last year’s team that went on to NCAA Division 1 schools.

Moriah Faulk joined former Samohi star Thea Lemberger at UCLA. Point guard Kristina “KJ” Johnson is now lacing up for Pacific and forward Bianka Balthazar plays for Long Beach State.

“We’re just trying to find out who we are,” Head Coach Marty Verdugo said. “This is a whole different team, we’ll need some time to figure things out.”

A fourth starter, Briana Harris, transferred cross-town to St. Monica where she is expected to be a team leader this season.

Samohi title team returns

Members of the 2001 Samohi CIF-SS championship team in football will be in attendance this week as the Vikings travel to rival Culver City Friday for a semifinal matchup.

Charles Gordon, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, and Charles Cooper, who played in the New York Yankees organization, are expected to attend the game.

The CIF-SS Western Division playoff game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Xrds girls rout Pacifica Christian

Crossroads’ girls’ basketball team routed crosstown Pacifica Christian, 51-19, at home on Wednesday.

The win improves Crossroads’ record to 1-1 on the season.

Pacifica Christian is now 0-1.

Samohi boys split first two games

The boys’ basketball team from Samohi has started the season 1-1.

As part of the Pacific Shores Tournament, Samohi opened the tourney with a 61-57 win over Harvard-Westlake on Monday.

The second game of the tourney wasn’t as successful for the Vikings. They fell to Long Beach Poly, 61-35, on Wednesday.

daniela@smdp.com

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