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Canyon plays unwelcome host to Trinity

Cowboys down Knights 81-44 in first matchup between programs

Posted: December 20, 2013 10:47 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2013 10:47 p.m.

Canyon's Marc Cabrera prepares to pass the ball against Trinity defenders Matthew Arroyave (left) and Andrew Pabalan (right) during Friday night's game at Canyon High School.

 

The Trinity Classical Academy Knights boys basketball team wanted to play larger, more established programs in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2013, and for better or for worse the Canyon Cowboys gave the Knights what they asked for.

Led by Dean Hendrix-Davis’ 16-point performance and a suffocating defense, Canyon cruised to an 81-44 win on Friday night at Canyon High School to continue its hot start.

“I keep saying it, he’s still not as comfortable as he can be,” said Canyon head coach Sean DeLong of Hendrix-Davis. “He’s always been a hard worker, I think people are starting to find out this year that he’s also a heck of a good basketball player.”

Hendrix-Davis’ athletic abilities were no secret to Trinity, which struggled to move the ball against Canyon’s athletic and aggressive full-court press.

The Cowboys (9-1) stole the ball from the Knights 19 times on Friday night, and whenever Canyon stole the ball it usually ended up in the basket just seconds later, courtesy of a fast break.

“That was our problem all night, too many live ball turnovers,” said Trinity head coach John Brooks. “We talked about this before the game, that if we didn’t take care of the ball it would turn into a track meet. That’s what happened.”

Despite the lopsided final score, Trinity led 11-10 midway through what proved to be a competitive and hard-fought first quarter.

Unfortunately for the Knights, quick turnovers and quicker points off of Canyon fast breaks became a common thread, and the Cowboys entered halftime up 40-18 after an 18-0 run early in the second quarter.

With seven rebounds and six steals, Hendrix-Davis was the catalyst of Canyon’s fast-paced attack.

But Cowboys guard Marc Cabrera was the finisher, racking up 14 points and 10 assists as the result of countless two- and three-on-one scoring opportunities.

Canyon junior Ben Taufahema rounded out Friday night’s dominant performance with 14 points and four steals, and DeLong and Brooks pulled their starters midway through the fourth quarter.

For Trinity (4-4), guards Josh Mumper and Matthew Arroyave scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Due to Canyon’s defensive stranglehold, Knights standouts Ryan Brooks and Spencer Klehn were forced to spend a large majority of their time simply trying to get the ball past half court before a 10-second violation could be called.

Beyond Friday, the Knights’ lack of true ball-handlers has proved to be an issue against high-energy defenses this season — a problem that will be partially remedied once the injured Ian Caddow returns.

After entering the season with lofty expectations, Trinity now sits at .500 as the season picks up steam.

“We’re basically a JV team age-wise,” Brooks said. “I just want our program to have this experience of playing bigger schools.”

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 9-1, but have won many of their games against heavily overmatched opponents.

“It’s about maintaining a focus,” Hendrix-Davis said. “We know we are going to face tougher tests once the year starts. It’s just about doing the things that we can control.”

Canyon is in as much control as a team can hope to be in to start a season.

Five of its nine wins have been by 15 points or more.

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