Santa Monica High School’s girls basketball team is moving on to the next round of the state playoffs after a physical game against Serra High School Tuesday night in the CIF Southern California Regionals.
Serra started the game hot and jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first quarter. Missed baskets from all over the court hampered the Vikings early, but physical defense and a faster offensive pace benefited Samohi in the second.
The facility was packed with cheerleaders, band members and fans who rocked the gym, and the pressure was palpable when Samohi attempted to tie the game up with a little under 2 minutes left in the half.
Senior Chantal Moawad would begin to take over in the post — both on the defensive and offensive end of the floor, where she hit fadeaway after fadeaway. Forward Iternite Reed and Freshman Brielle Minor also contributed by continuing to push the pace despite hard fouls and more than a few falls in the contest.
By the end of the second, a 20-2 run had put the Vikings up double digits (23-13) at the half.
The lead would remain relatively stable until late in the fourth when Serra was only down 5. But the Vikings refused to buckle.
With 1:30 left and Samohi up 47-43, the Conquistadors had a chance to make it a single basket game but Samohi’s physical defense proved to be too much. Unable to score, Serra would go on to lose 49-43.
The rafters continued to rattle well past the sound of the final buzzer as family, friends and alum celebrated with the team. Some players rushed into the stands to embrace their loved ones while others sought out ice.
Samohi is now set to play La Jolla Bishop’s at home in Santa Monica on Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m. for the second round of the CIF Southern California Regionals.