SAMOHI — So far, so good for Santa Monica’s boys basketball team.
The Vikings cruised to an easy 64-39 home win over Quartz Hill in the first round of the California Interschoalstic Federation Southern Section Divison 1A playoffs on Wednesday setting up a rare second home playoff game against Dana Hills tonight at 7 p.m.
Samohi Head Coach James Hecht was happy with the victory and the opportunity to empty his bench late in the game to rest the starters, but said his team didn’t look as sharp as it had during the regular season when the Vikings went 21-6 overall and a perfect 10-0 en route to winning the Ocean League. He said that the team didn’t execute as well as he expected, yet stopped short of saying his team played poorly in the rout.
“It wasn’t the best game for us,” he said. “But, we moved on.”
The Vikings, the number eight seed in the division, built an early lead, but Quartz Hill was able to keep it close until the final two minutes of the first half when Samohi took control. He joked that he had a hard time deciding when to pull his starters because he didn’t want to get too comfortable with the lead.
“It’s a game of runs, you never know what could happen,” he said before practice on Thursday. “You have to be a little lucky to do anything.”
Samohi’s Harry Horn led all Vikings with 14 points. Soloman Singer added 9 in the win. A total of 11 players scored, Hecht said.
As the team prepares for 10th seeded Dana Hills, Hecht intends to stick with his speedy style of play.
“We’re going to try to force the tempo a little bit, be agressive,” he said. “I think we go a little deeper than Dana Hills does.”
While Hecht is confident his bench is stronger, it’s Dana Hills’ starting lineup that worries him. Senior point guard Brendan Hill is the player the veteran coach is keeping his eyes on. He called him the best point guard the team has faced all season and considers slowing him down a key to victory.
“He’s a very savvy player,” Hecht said of Hill. “He’s as good as we’ve played.”