Three victories are all that stand between the Santa Monica High boys basketball team and a section title.
Boasting a remarkable 21-game winning streak that began in mid-December, the Vikings will host Palmdale-Highland at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1A playoffs.
The winner will face either Burbank-Burroughs or Vista Murrieta in the semifinals Friday.
Samohi (26-2), which lost in the second round of the postseason two years ago and which fell in the first round last year, has the chance to secure its second section title in four seasons.
The Vikings began their playoff run with a 74-59 win over Long Beach-Cabrillo, efficiently closing the Feb. 17 game after leading by just three points at the end of the third quarter. Senior guard Jonah Mathews scored 30 points.
The victory vaulted coach James Hecht’s team into a second-round game on the road Feb. 19 against Moreno Valley-Valley View, which it defeated 88-82. In a high-scoring battle that featured 24-point performances by two Valley View seniors, Samohi used a 29-point fourth quarter to protect the one-point edge it held entering the frame. Mathews finished with 27.
The Vikings now turn their attention to Highland (20-6), which advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008 with wins against Westlake and Fontana-Summit. The Bulldogs are led by standout junior Deshay Gipson, who averages 22.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
Samohi isn’t the only local, quarterfinal-bound boys basketball team. Crossroads, which defeated the Vikings earlier this season, will host Irvine-Crean Lutheran at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in the Division 4A bracket.
The winner will face either Calabasas-Viewpoint or Cerritos-Valley Christian in the semifinals Friday.
The Roadrunners (12-16) earned their first two playoff victories in dramatic fashion, edging Long Beach-St. Anthony 55-53 on the road Feb. 17 and clipping Palm Desert-Xavier Prep 40-37 in another road game Feb. 19.
New Roads (9-9) qualified for the Division 5A playoffs but lost in the first round, falling 91-82 to Santa Barbara-Laguna Blanca.
Girls water polo
The Santa Monica High girls water polo team is back at the scene of the climb.
The Vikings will face Lompoc-Cabrillo at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Valley High School in Santa Ana in the Division 6 semifinals, the stage at which their season ended last year. A spot in the Feb. 27 championship game is at stake.
Samohi (28-3) cruised into this year’s final four with dominant 22-2 and 17-0 wins over Pasadena-Poly and Santa Ana-Segerstrom, respectively.
The St. Monica Catholic girls basketball team made a powerful statement en route to Wednesday night’s quarterfinals at Santa Fe Springs-St. Paul.
The Mariners delivered a hard-to-believe 77-7 blow to Rowland Heights-Southlands Christian in the first round of the Division 4AA bracket Feb. 18 before dominating Sherman Oaks-Notre Dame 51-32 in the second round Feb. 20.
St. Monica (19-9) is fighting for a spot in Saturday’s semifinals against either Fullerton-Rosary or Flintridge-Sacred Heart.
Crossroads finished its season with a 60-41 loss to Los Angeles-Louisville in the second round of the Division 4A bracket Feb. 20. The Roadrunners had defeated Carpinteria 40-28 in the opening round two nights earlier.
Pacifica Christian’s campaign ended with a 51-19 loss to Canoga Park-Faith Baptist in the Division 5A first round Feb. 18.
The postseason is heating up for the Santa Monica High girls soccer team.
After defeating Thousand Oaks-La Reina 3-1 in the opening round, the Vikings (13-6-3) will host Phelan-Serrano in the second round of the Division 4 playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
The winner will face either La Mirada or Moreno Valley-Valley View in the quarterfinals Thursday.
The Crossroads boys soccer team will enter the second round of the Division 5 playoffs Wednesday against Hemet. The Roadrunners blanked Panorama City-St. Genevieve 5-0 in the opening round Feb. 19.