Center Thea Lemberger of the Santa Monica HIgh School Varsity basketball team jumps into the air to make an attempt at a layup in between two defenders from the Canyon Springs High School girls Varsity basketball team in the second round of the Southern Region state basketball playoffs 59-56 in overtime inside the North Gym located on the campus of Santa Monica High School on Thursday March 11th 2010

SAMOHI — In a season full of big shots and stirring victories, Santa Monica High School’s girls basketball team held off a strong Canyon Springs squad, 59-56, at home in overtime on Thursday to advance to the Southern California region semi-finals of the Division 1 CIF State Championships.

Samohi’s Bianka Balthazar hit a clutch 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter to send the game to OT. Thea Lemberger then hit a pair of clutch free throws to ice the game in the final 10 seconds to help the No. 3 seeded Vikings move on to face No. 2 seed Clovis West Saturday on the road.

Samohi was led by Lemberger’s 20 points. Moriah Faulk added 17.

“The dream season continues,” Head Coach Marty Verdugo said. “It came down to letting great players take over at the right time.”

The team is organizing a rooter bus to help its fans travel to the semi-final game in Fresno.

(More to come)

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