REDONDO — Santa Monica High School’s girls’ basketball team continued its strong early season play on Wednesday by dispatching South Torrance, 71-40, Wednesday in the second round of the Redondo Union Battle at the Beach tournament.

Senior guard Moriah Faulk paced the Samohi Vikings with 16 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Fellow seniors Bianka Balthazar and Kristina “KJ” Johnson each added 10 points.

The win was the second in the tournament for the Vikings, having defeated Palos Verdes Peninsula, 57-39, on Tuesday in the opening round.

“We’re working hard on playing consistently hard,” Head Coach Marty Verdugo said. “No matter who we play against, we’ll try to play against ourselves.”

With the pair of wins, Samohi has improved to 7-0 on the season, the best start in Verdugo’s five years as coach. The Vikings have already prevailed in another pre-season tournament. They defeated Gardena Serra to win the Inglewood Circle of Champions Tournament last Saturday.

Samohi’s next game in the tournament comes today against Long Beach Millikan at Redondo Union High School. The semifinal game begins at 7:30 p.m.

The game is a rematch from two years ago, with Millikan getting the best of Santa Monica in the previous meeting. Verdugo said that beating them would be payback of sorts.

Win or lose, the Vikings will play again on Saturday in either the title or consolation games. Bishop Montgomery and Gardena Serra are in the other semifinal game. That contest begins at 6 p.m.

Verdugo said that the key to advancing past Millikan will be the pace of the game. He recalls that Millikan likes to slow the game down, while his Vikings employ an up-tempo style. He has no plans of abandoning that approach and just hopes his team can adjust to what they face.

“We’re always trying to push things,” Verdugo said. “We recently had a team meeting and the girls agreed to try to take it to an even higher level.”

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