SAMOHI — Capping what was one of the best seasons in recent memory, Santa Monica’s boys basketball team held its end-of-season banquet last weekend to honor its own.

Aside from a number of California Interscholastic Federation and Ocean League awards previously bestowed on the Vikings, the team handed out its own set of honors with Corey Walker taking home the squad’s most valuable player award. The team awarded honors for some of the more elite categories as well, but one of the main reasons for the ceremony was to shed light on some of the guys who don’t get the recognition or ink that some of the other players receive.

Notable awards: Leo Mancini was named Mr. Hustle; Asante Lewis was selected most inspirational; Alex Cephus won the sportsmanship award; and Trey Thompson was named rookie of the year.

The remainder of the awards were doled out primarily to the team’s graduating seniors. James Montgomery was tapped as the defensive player of the year; Soloman Singer was noted for being the team’s top rebounder; outstanding team play was given to Harry Horn; Jovan Maze was the team’s sixth man; Danilo Toskovic was presented the coaches’ award; and Jared Green received the Viking bench basketball award.

The awards top a season that saw the Vikings make it to the CIF-SS Division 1A final against Leuzinger, where they lost. The team was also selected for the CIF State Championships where they lost in the second round to eventual state champ Westchester.

The team is losing all five starters to graduation, but Head Coach James Hecht is confident that his team won’t suffer a hangover following such a successful run.

daniela@smdp.com

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