boys basketball coach Jame Hecht praised one of his fellow coaches for developing the jumping and rebounding ability displayed by junior center Spencer Cramer in Wednesday night's game against Culver City.
It wasn't one of Hecht's own assistants he credited, but rather boys volleyball coach Liane Sato, who guided the Vikings to a CIF title last spring with the help of Cramer.
"Volleyball's one of those crossover sports," Hecht said. "So hats off to her."
Against the Centaurs, Cramer showed he can apply his skills to the basketball court as well, scoring a season-high 17 points as Samohi overcame a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to triumph 69-62 and keep pace with Inglewood atop the Ocean League standings.
"Spencer played great, Trey [Thompson] had 12 points and sparked our run at the end of the half and Troy Maloney did a great job on defense, making them work for their shots. We normally shoot a lot of threes but tonight we got most of our points inside. It's probably our biggest production in the paint all year."
Despite 27 points from Aamahd Walker (including three three-pointers) and 16 points from Keilan Horton, the Centaurs (12-11 overall, 3-4 in league) were unable to sustain their blistering start.
A layup by guard Chris Sanchez gave Culver City a 31-14 lead with 2:24 left in the first half, but a three-pointer by Thompson sparked a 10-0 run to pull the Vikings to within 31-24 at halftime.
"We were lethargic at the start and we weren't attacking their defense," Hecht said. "We've played so many tough teams, though, and I think that helped us. I'm proud of the way we responded. We could've hung our heads and let it get away from us, but we stopped being passive and started attacking the rim."
Santa Monica (15-8, 6-1) carried its momentum into the third quarter, chipping away at the deficit and finally taking the lead, 43-41, on Jordan Walker's driving left-handed layup at the 2:49 mark.
"This game was disappointing to me," said Centaurs senior center Isaiah Taylor, who finished with 11 points. "We came out with the intensity we needed. I tried to play as hard as I could but Aamahd and Keilan didn't have any help and I got fouled out again. I thought we could've been more aggressive and played harder in the second half, but they wanted it more and got the 'W.'"
Jordan Mathews scored 15 points for host Santa Monica, which opened a 57-45 lead early in the fourth quarter on his reverse layup. Taylor fouled out with 2:20 left and the Centaurs down by 10. Horton's steal and basket got Culver City to within 67-62 with less than 45 seconds to play but the Centaurs got no closer.
"They were the better team and we had trouble stopping their penetration," Culver City Coach Jon Chapman said. "You can't coach height. We had to be more physical and even when we had that big lead we settled for too many outside shots."
Santa Monica hosts Beverly Hill on Friday and wraps up Ocean League play next week at home Tuesday against Hawthorne and at archrival Beverly Hills on Thursday.
Score by Quarters