The question of who was going to come out on top between the Santa Monica High School and Inglewood High School boys basketball teams Friday, January 11th, could not be answered in just four quarters of play.
In fact, the question could barely be answered in two overtime periods, as the Inglewood Sentinels put a shot off the backboard in the final seconds to earn a narrow 54-52 victory over the host Santa Monica Vikings in the Ocean League game.
In just the second league game for both teams, they took each other beyond the limit to try and get off to a strong start in league play. Santa Monica (11-6, 1-1) grabbed a 55-43 win over Morningside High in its league opener but Inglewood (8-6) was ready to go beyond the distance against the Vikings and came out on top in the end.
After Santa Monica’s Justin Maxwell nailed a three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tie the score at 42-42 and send the game into overtime, both teams started out cold in the extra period.
The two teams were both held to just two points in the first overtime, and when Maxwell’s attempt at another last-second three-pointer fell short, the game was sent into a second overtime.
This time, both Santa Monica and Inglewood picked up the attack on offense, as they traded three-point shots to remain neck-and-neck.
Ed Willis of Santa Monica hit a big three-pointer late in double overtime to tie the score at 52-52, but Inglewood had the ball with 15 seconds left, allowing the Sentinels to go down low for the winning basket.
Santa Monica had the upper hand early in the game, when the Sentinels struggled on offense and Maxwell and Willis each scored five points to give the Vikings a 13-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Inglewood turned things around in the second quarter, going on a 10-0 run, including back-to-back three-pointers to take its first lead of the game at 14-13. While the Sentinel offense found new life in the period, the Santa Monica offense came to a halt and didn’t score until 4:30 before halftime.
The Sentinels kept up the defensive pressure to maintain their lead and limited Santa Monica to just one field goal, as they took a 21-19 lead into halftime.
Inglewood continued the momentum throughout the third quarter and finished with a 7-0 run to grab its biggest lead at 34-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Vikings weren’t about to let the Sentinels cruise to the victory. Maxwell kicked off the comeback with a three-pointer and added two more before the quarter was over.
The Viking defense also contributed with key blocks and held the Sentinels scoreless until 2:15 remained in regulation, allowing Santa Monica to regain the lead on a field goal by Willis.
Inglewood jumped back ahead in the final minute, but two key steals by Santa Monica gave Maxwell the opportunity to take the game into extra periods.
Maxwell finished with 19 points and Willis scored a game-high 22 points.
The Vikings will next face Culver City High School in a league game at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 18th.