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Ocean League teams do not normally plays games on Tuesdays but maybe it is karma that Beverly Hills would have a chance to win a share of the conference title versus Inglewood on head coach Jarvis Turner’s birthday.
The Normans hold a one-game lead over Inglewood and Santa Monica with only two league games remaining.
Beverly Hills already holds the tie-breaker against Santa Monica sweeping the season series, but lost to Inglewood (14-10, 6-2) at the Swim Gym in double-overtime two weeks ago.
A hostile crowd and the memory of the close loss the last time they came to Santa Monica’s North Gym should have had some negative effect on Beverly Hills Friday night.
In fact for point guard Siavash Yektafar, it was quite the opposite.
The senior had 30 points as the Normans got out to an early lead and never trailed in a 58-45 victory to take sole possession of first place in the Ocean League, with two games left.
Beverly Hills started the game on a 9-2 run, held a 13-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter and pushed their lead to 21 points with four minutes left until halftime.
Yektafar knew his teammates were ready for this game.
Girls Basketball: Melamed’s late free throw helps Beverly Hills rally from a 13-point deficit against Santa Monica
The Santa Monica crowd was loud and on its feet when Beverly Hills’ guard Jessica Melamed stepped to the free throw line to shoot two with seven seconds left in a tied game.
After the junior missed the first one, the noise became nearly deafening in Samo’s North Gym.
However, Melamed held her nerves in check and sank the second one as the Normans overcame a 13-point fourth quarter deficit in a 58-57 victory, Friday night.
Melamed had 27 points on the night but felt the pressure standing at the charity stripe with a single shot that gave the Normans the victory.
“I was so scared and took my time. I looked at [Beverly Hills coach John] Braddell” said Melamed. “I just relaxed, shot it and made it.”
After blowing a five-point lead in double overtime, Beverly Hills still had a chance to beat Inglewood with 2.1 seconds left.
However, Siavash Yektafar had his shot attempt blocked as Beverly Hills walked to the locker room heartbroken falling 76-75 to Inglewood and knocking the Normans out of first place in the Ocean League.
The great game was almost overshadowed by a late technical foul by the Sentinels when a one of their players overreacted on a Norman foul.
Yektafar missed a three-pointer and a Sentinel player grabbed the rebound and got fouled then the technical foul happened.
“I missed a shot and went for the ball. I don’t know what happened,” a confused Yektafar said.
With the loss of the offensive firepower of quarterback Ryan Barbarin (graduation) along with wide receivers Sebastian LaRue (Texas A&M) and Jason King (New Mexico Highlands) , Santa Monica normally would have a tough road trying to stay on top of the league standings for the third year in a row.
Luckily for the Vikings, the rest of the conference is down making them the overwhelming favorite to win the Ocean League.
Just like last season, a three-game stretch of Mater Dei, Valencia, and Santa Clarita Hart will determine how strong the squad is.
“We found out what kind of team we were last year,” head coach Travis Clarke said. ” It look us almost the entire Morningside game the following week to be able to dig down and pull out a victory.”
Culver City should move up to the second spot after a two-year stay behind Santa Monica and Inglewood, while welcome a brand-new turf field.
Former Beverly HIlls coach Donald Paysinger takes over at Hawthorne and will try to turn around a program that has gone 11-69 since 2005 .
Back on the westside, Beverly Hills’ continues their decent down to the bottom of the conference.
This will be the last season that Inglewood and Morningside are a part of the conference as they move to the Bay League and El Segundo and Lawndale take their spots in 2014.
The predictions are the final season standings are below
Ocean League Predictions
Last season just like the year before, Culver City finished third in the Ocean League.
After dominating the conference in the late 2000′s with four straight titles, they haven’t won their league championship since 2009.
This year’s team is planning to change that historic fact.
Santa Monica and Inglewood have been a thorn in the Centaurs side and they are ready to reverse roles. This group not only wants to play into late November, but win its league championship in the process.
Wide receiver Stanley Norman, the team’s only returner, has certain distaste for those two teams.
“We just don’t like them,” he stated “There is too much smacking talking between us.” He plans on putting up big numbers against them, “I plan on blowing them out when we play them.”
It seemed like deja vu for Beverly Hills.
That was the feeling in the Swim Gym when Normans had the ball and trailing by one to Santa Monica.
Unlike their heartbreaking loss earlier this month to the Vikings, this time Brandon Neman made sure that the game would not slip away.
The junior guard’s only shot was a successful three-pointer in the final seconds to give the Normans a stunning 52-50 victory over Santa Monica.
Neman, who hadn’t been played for most of the night, stepped up when it mattered the most.
Beverly Hills was playing without three of their key players and Culver City took advantage with hard-nosed defense in a 62-42 victory over their Ocean League rival.
Jessica Melamed, Dorsa Mehrannia, and Megan Yee all sat out due to injuries leaving a huge void as the trio accounted for nearly 26 of the of the Normans’ 61 points.
Without the ball handlers, Culver City’s full-court pressure poked, prodded and ultimately suffocated the Beverly Hills offense by grabbing 27 steals including turnovers on five consecutive possessions in the second quarter. That aggressive play spark a 22-3 run to turn a five-point deficit into a double-digit lead.
Inglewood guard Brandon Randolph missed two free throws in the final seconds as Santa Monica help on to a 58-57 road victory Wednesday night in their Ocean League Opener.
The Vikings took a one-point lead when Jordan Mathews could only make one of two free throws.
Inglewood had a final opportunity, but Randolph could only watch as both shots clanked off the rim from the free throw line giving the Santa Monica the win.
Inglewood squandered six changes at the free throw line in the final thirty seconds.
Below are the westside high school boys’ basketball scores for Wednesday, January 9th
Brentwood 71, Sierra Canyon 65
Pacific Hills 71, Windward 68
Camino Real League
St. Paul 47, St. Monica 39
Beverly Hills 64, Hawthorne 56
Inglewood High safety Tre Wilcoxen has committed to New Mexico State and is set to enroll mid-year, former Inglewood head coach Stephen Thomas announced today.
The 6’1″ 191 lbs senior had 47 tackles and three interceptions in five games for the Sentinels according to MaxPreps and was a first team All-Ocean League selection. During his junior year at Redlands East Valley, Wilcoxen finished the season with 71 tackles.
Wilcoxen had offers from Ohio and a few FCS schools according to Thomas.
His senior highlight video is below:
Santa Monica and Culver City dominated the selection as twenty-four players were named to the All-Ocean League team it was announce today.
As reported earlier this week USC-Commit Sebastian LaRue was named league MVP and teammate Jason King earned offensive player of the year while Culver City lineman Deon Young was selected as defensive player of the year.
Inglewood had eight players earn honors to the team while Beverly Hills had seven, Morningside had four, and Hawthorne had three.
The list of the team is below.
Ocean League MVP – Sebastian LaRue, Santa Monica (Sr.)
Defensive Player of the Year – Deon Young, Culver City (Sr.)
Offensive Player Of the Year – Jason King, Santa Monica (Sr.)
1st Team Offense:
Santa Monica High wide receiver Sebastian LaRue has been selected as the Ocean League Most Valuable Player by the conference vote, two coaches confirmed yesterday.
The USC-bound senior had 51 catches for 868 yards and eight touchdowns along with 100 yards rushing to lead the Vikings (8-4) to back-to-back Ocean League titles.
LaRue’s fellow wide receiver Jason King earned offensive player of the year and Culver City’s lineman Deon Young was named defensive player of the year.
King finished the year with 846 yards receiving.
Young had 85 tackles and three sacks.
Ocean League champions Santa Monica along with second-place Inglewood will be at home during the first round while Culver City will travel to central California as the Western Division playoff brackets were announce earlier today.
Santa Monica hosts Templeton and would be on the road against the winner of Serra vs. Oxnard. If they make it to the semifinals, the Vikings would face undefeated Lompoc.
Inglewood takes on Morro Bay at Coleman Stadium and head coach Stephen Thomas is grateful that his team may not have to travel until the semifinals if they advance that far.
“”Glad to have a home game. If we win, we get to host Chaminade in the 2nd round. What fun,” said Thomas.
Culver City one-point victory over Morningside earned the Centaurs the final automatic bid and will travel to Goleta to face Dos Pueblos.
Below is a playoff pairings in the Western Division:
LA CITY SECTION:
Venice 30, Fairfax 7
Palisades 20, University 13
Hamilton 21, Westchester 14