After hanging with Palos Verdes Peninsula High School throughout the first half, the Santa Monica High School boys basketball team couldn’t answer the Panthers’ 21-point scoring effort in the third quarter, resulting in a 57-45 non-league loss at home Friday, January 7th.

The Vikings (9-5) jumped out to a 12-10 first-quarter lead after senior wing Jason Deutchman, who led Santa Monica with 13 points, picked up seven points.

With an aggressive performance on defense, the Vikings came out on top early after forcing fouls and turnovers by Peninsula (10-5).

“In the first quarter we got a lot of points out of our defensive effort,” Vikings coach James Hecht said.

Santa Monica may have been able to contain most of the Peninsula team early on, but junior forward Bill Clark was one player the Vikings missed, as Clark, who finished with 12 points and ten rebounds, grabbed all of Peninsula’s ten points in the first quarter.

The Santa Monica lead did not hold up for long as the Vikings began to commit offensive turnovers, allowing the Panthers to take their first lead at 17-16 after a three-pointer by sophomore forward John Reed, who led the Panthers with 30 points and eight rebounds.

Peninsula found its success on offense courtesy of another one-man show, this time it was Reed, who went on a scoring rampage and racked up all of the Panthers’ 14 points in the second quarter.

“For whatever reason we lost sight of him (Reed),” Hecht said. “Every other trip down we didn’t know where he was.”

Deutchman hit a free throw to even the score at 24, and just when Peninsula was about to take the lead on a lay-up, Santa Monica junior guard Terrance Boozer sprinted back to block the shot, which kept the score tied 20 seconds before halftime.

After keeping the score tight early after halftime, the Vikings lost their touch on offense and Peninsula did the opposite by going on an 11-0 run to expand its advantage.

Santa Monica senior guard Pete Kass hit a three-pointer to bring his team within four at 34-30. Peninsula then took a 45-30 lead after a number of scoring highlights in the third quarter, including back-to-back three-pointers by senior guard David Pedersen and a ten-point performance by Reed.

The Vikings continued to find difficulty executing shots in the final quarter, making their first field goal with three minutes remaining in the game. Junior wing Will Freedman scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds for the Vikings.

The Panthers added to their lead and put the game away on back-to-back three-point plays by Reed.

“I feel they played harder than we did,” Hecht said.

“They outplayed us. We did not do a good job of sharing the basketball and trusting our teammates.”