SAMOHI — The girls basketball team has earned another shot at a title.
The Vikings were named Sunday as one of the 16 teams participating in the Southern California half of the California Interscholastic Federation’s basketball championships. The Vikings drew the no. 15 seed and will travel to take on a tough Long Beach Poly team on Monday at 7 p.m. Poly is the no. 2 seed in the SoCal bracket.
“Once you get past the name, you have a chance to win it,” Santa Monica High School’s Head Coach Marty Verdugo said. “They are not the Poly of old, but they are still quick.”
The Vikings were recently eliminated from the CIF-SS Division I-A playoffs by Canyon Springs. 48-50. Samohi was the no. 2 seed in the division. Poly was the runner up in Division I-AA this season. Poly lost to Cajon, 44-52, in the title game last week.
Also making the statewide tournament was the boys basketball team at Samohi. The Vikings will take on Dominguez High School in the first round also on Monday at 7 p.m.
Verdugo said his players were excited to have a second life in the postseason and looked forward to the first round matchup. Aside from the joy of qualifying comes the chore of preparing for a Poly team that is traditionally one of the best squads in the state.
“We have to keep them from getting out to a fast start,” Verdugo said. “We have to keep the score close by the end of the first quarter.”
He figures Poly will apply the full-court press early in the game, adding he just wants his squad to “play their game” and stay relaxed.
Sabrina Norton, a freshman post player who missed most of the regular season due to injury, will return to the rotation in the first round. The daughter of NFL great and current USC assistant coach Ken Norton is expected to give the Vikings a boost at precisely the right time.
“It think she is going to help our post players,” Verdugo said. “She gives us a little quickness inside.”