Isaiah Freedman sports writer
The Santa Monica Vikings defeated the Normans 50-47 in a closely contested match on Senior Night. Ironically, it was the same score as Beverly’s win over Crossroads a week ago; however, with a much more sober result for the home team.
The rivalry game was unsurprisingly sold out, with as many as 100 people turned down at the door, according to House C Assistant Principal Mark Mead. The Swim Gym was booming like a rock concert, except louder.
Normans Center Ron Artest III had his second triple-double of the year, swatting away 15 shots.
Forward Grant Gaon played his best game of the season, splashing five three-pointers as well as a high-arcing floater from the right sideline with under three minutes remaining.
With under 10 seconds left and the Normans trailing by two, guard Daniel Zahabian drove right and saw his eight-foot bank shot just rim out.
Even with some exceptional performances from key players, the Normans were unable to secure the victory, leading to some high tempers immediately after the game for all involved.
After the final buzzer sounded, opposing players started talking animatedly to one another, leading to coaches having to break up the fight.
The melee did not stop there, however. Soon after, Beverly and SAMO coaches started shoving each other on the sidelines. Luckily, security was close by to diffuse the rising tensions.
“[Coach] Jarvis [Turner] just wanted to give their coach a little bear hug,” a security guard who wished to remain anonymous told Highlights.
As fans shuffled outside, there were predictably some dust-ups. In one of the numerous post-game scenes, a Norman fan spit on a SAMO fan and was subsequently hit in the face, although he was okay afterward. Copious SAMO fans were arrested as there were six BHPD officers on the scene.
As the scene unfolded outside, Turner’s squad sat quietly in the locker room for 45 minutes after the game. According to players on the team, Turner was soft-spoken during the duration of the meeting, until he turned fiery at the end of his speech. He told his group after the game that they played with a hint of apprehension down the stretch, and needed more courage.
“Our word of the year we have been preaching is courage. Courage,” forward Navid Nour told Highlights an hour after the game.
The loss may sting for a bit, but there is a chance the Normans see the Vikings again in CIF playoffs. Until then, stay safe.
- During the halftime show, ASB president Jessica Moghaddam brought the Wish Kid, Leighton Kaba, to center court with her family. The scene was beautiful. Seeing the little girl smile to the hundreds of fans warmed many hearts. Even SAMO kids were cheering
- Guard Jason Mehraban was battling the flu, but toughed it out to record a fantastic defensive performance. He saw some threes just rim out. Also, great gesture by him giving Leighton a high five before the second half
- Forward Xander Bienstock is a warrior. The first play he came in, he recorded two offensive rebounds and dove on the floor twice. So much heart.
- Forward Sam Cohen played an excellent floor game, snatching some tough rebounds and converting twisting layups. He also displayed sound composure in the face of shouting SAMO kids while inbounding the ball
- The Beverly fans brought the heat Friday night, especially the front two rows. The chants were ear-splittingly loud. Among my favorites: “We have Jarvis!”, “FSGM!” and, during halftime, “Leighton!”
- Great job ASB tossing out posters of players’ faces, sunglasses and towels to the crowd. Boosted the spirit even more
- Watching the seniors walk out onto the court with their parents before the game was heartwarming. Especially when Artest III, whose parents were unable to attend, was led out by his brother and teammate, Jeron