SAMOHI — When Samohi takes the floor Wednesday against Inglewood to open the Ocean League boys’ basketball season, the Vikings come into the contest battle-tested.

Santa Monica High School’s 9-5 record on its face isn’t stellar, but some of the teams included on the early-season schedule have been anything but lightweight.

There have been games against the likes of Long Beach Poly, Fairfax and Etiwanda, all with the hopes of preparing the Vikings for a tough league season and, hopefully, a run deep into the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs.

“I’m very proud of what we have done so far,” Head Coach James Hecht said. “It has really prepared us for what we have to come.”

CIF-SS voters have taken notice, too. The Vikings are currently No. 5 in the latest poll released on Monday with Long Beach Poly and Etiwanda sitting at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Also in the poll is ninth ranked Valencia, a team Samohi defeated in December. Mater Dei holds the top spot.

Hecht has for years been a believer in playing a difficult schedule. Samohi is the lone Division 1AA team — the most elite of all divisions — in the Ocean League. Creating such a challenging lineup of preseason games gives the Vikings an edge once the playoffs come along, Hecht said.

Despite having faced some of the top teams in Southern California this season, Hecht is careful not to look past an Inglewood squad that is No. 16 in the Division 2AA rankings.

“With our league, top to bottom, there is a long list of good perimeter players,” Hecht said. “Emotions in league play can run high, anybody can beat anybody.”

St. Monica girls snag No. 9 ranking

St. Monica’s girls’ basketball team is ranked No. 9 in the latest CIF-SS Division 4A poll, it was announced on Monday.

The Mariners have opened the season 9-7 overall and begin Camino Real League play tonight at Pasadena La Salle. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

daniela@www.smdp.com

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