The LookOut sports

Santa Monica Sports Notes

The St. Monica High boys basketball team has reached the CIF Divison 4 finals, where the Mariners will play Crossroads Saturday at the Pond in Anaheim. St. Monica won its semifinal game from L.A Baptist Friday at Hart High, 62-37.

Crossroads has rolled through its season and is the No. 1 seed. The game will provide a matchup of star centers. Isaiah Fox of Crossroads is 6-foot-10 and has signed with Arizona. Sean Cole of St. Monica is 6-6 and plays very strong inside. He hasn't made a college choice but is believed to be most interested in Missouri and Texas A&M.

The St. Monica High girls basketball team was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Division 4 playoffs by St. Bernard for the second straight year, 62-37. In the previous round St. Monica defeated Maranatha at Pasadena High,
54-42. It was a close game throughout, with the Mariners trailing a smaller but good-shooting team until taking a 26-24 halftime lead. The Mariners' lead after three quarters was only 40-37, but the team held the opponent to five points in the fourth quarter.

A big factor was the play of junior Catie Mooney, who didn't play in the first three quarters but was sent into the game to defend sophomore Stacy Takayama, Maranatha's sharpshooting guard. Mooney stayed with her opponent and allowed just one three-point basket in the quarter. ``We wanted someone with fresh legs who hadn't been in the game to do that job and Catie is a tenacious defender,'' said Coach Michelle Rice. ``She did just what we wanted.''

With the loss to St. Bernard the high school career of Danielle Adefeso came to an end. The 6-foot-4 center will play at Arizona next season. Heather Holguin, who has given the Mariners some memorable play during her prep career, is also a senior. Her backcourt leadership will be missed. Also graduating is top reserve Leah Sheppard.

Other key players were younger and should form another competitive team next season. They include guards Martha Orozco and Taylor Hunt, forward Jehanne Lowe and Mooney. Hunt and Lowe became starters as freshmen.

The Crossroads boys soccer team reached the quarter-finals of the CIF Division 5 soccer playoffs but lost to Malibu, 2-1.

Samohi Ends Basketball Season And Coach Hecht Praises Squad

By Mitch Chortkoff

The Santa Monica High boys basketball team accomplished a goal by reaching the CIF playoffs and appears to have found its star for next season --- forward Pablo Dresie.

After Samohi was eliminated in the first round by Arroyo Grande, 77-63, Coach James Hecht remained upbeat.

``We saw the play of some people really step up and improve this year,'' said Hecht. ``We had some guys who were called upon to take on some responsibility and make some contributions and they did.''

Dresie, a 6-foot-5 junior, earned the most praise.

``Pablo had a very fine year,'' said Hecht. ``Night in and night out he played strong defense. There were times when he might have been overmatched by the player he had to guard but he was relentless.

``A great thing is he's a junior and he'll be coming back.''

Dresie had some big offensive games too, including one where he scored 25 points.

Last season Samohi won a game in the CIF playoffs before losing in the second round. But that was when the Vikings had Jacoby Atako playing point guard. He graduated and went on to UC Santa Barbara where he saw immediate action as a freshman.

Without Atako the Vikings were still highly competitive. The team got off to a fast start, going 10-4. But then several players suffered from the flu as the Bay League season got underway.

Samohi struggled until players regained their health and the Vikings did well enough in the second half of the league season to earn a playoff berth.

However, it was as a No. 13 seed and the Vikings had to go on the road to play Arroyo Grande, the No. 4 seed with a 24-2 record. Samohi led by one one point entering the fourth quarter, a terrific showing, but then was worn down by the home team, which had a 6-11 player and another standing 6-10.

Several times Samohi played three strong quarters but faltered in the fourth to finish with a 13-14 record.

``We had some games where we played a solid three quarters but couldn't close it out,'' said Hecht. ``But I'm very proud of the effort and now hard our guys played, and the spirit of the team.''

There's a good nucleus for next year's team but several key players were seniors, including leading scorer Jon Folonis.

Also graduating are point guard Jared Brunk, guard Seshah Wolde-Tsadik and forward Paul Younger.

Among the returnees are football stars Terrell Maze and Charles Gordon, who played well in the second half of the season.

Gordon suffered a broken foot in the second football game of the season at Venice. He didn't play any more football but was cleared for basketball during the season.

``Both guys came out late because of football but they played hard,'' said Hecht. ``Charles Gordon is a warrior. I don't know if he was always 100 percent but he came to play every day.''

Next season is promising.

``We're excited about the guys coming back,'' said Hecht. ``We're sorry to lose the seniors. You always wish they could have another year. The players coming back will have another year of experience.

``They know my expectations and the program's expectations. They've learned they have to play hard to be successful. We have guys with a good work ethic.''

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