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SCCS boys hoops looks for turnaround season

After disappointing 2012-13, Cardinals are off to 6-3 start

Posted: December 23, 2013 11:04 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2013 11:04 p.m.

 


It’s undeniable that the Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals boys basketball team has a lot of potential, and some size to boot.

But that was true last season, and SCCS went nowhere in the Heritage League.

Despite the scoring abilities of Larue Nixon and the size mismatches presented by 6-foot-5-inch center Christopher Collins and 6-foot-6-inch wingman Phillip Webb, SCCS went just 1-7 in league play a season ago, finishing in last place to cap a disappointing 9-11 season.

The team’s clear advantages in size and athleticism were equalized by an absence of chemistry and experience, and because of 2012-13’s disappointments the Cardinals weren’t necessarily a team to look out for as the 2013 began.

But with a pair of wins already over a Trinity team that swept them last season, and a respectable showing at this year’s Canyon Classic tournament, is it possible that the 2013-14 version of the SCCS boys basketball team is the version of the 2012-13 team people expected but never saw?

“I think so,” said SCCS head coach James Mosley. “Not to take anything away from last year’s team, but the biggest thing we struggled with (in 2012) was our guard play. We still have our size, but our game is more balanced this year.”

When discussing the Cardinals’ improved guard play, the conversation logically begins with senior Kamron Carroll.

Carroll is leading the team in scoring and assists this season with averages of 15.1 points and 4 assists per game.

According to Mosley, the biggest difference in Carroll’s game between this year is his confidence.

“Kamron came to us from Alemany, having not gotten the type of minutes he wanted to,” Mosley said. “Just going through the summer with us and having the understanding that he’s the guy and that, even if he misses a shot, we still want him to play his game — that made a big difference because the skill and ability has always been there.”

Carroll has scored at least 10 points in all but one contest this season, with his season-high performance of 24 points coming in SCCS’ 68-42 win over Trinity Classical Academy on Dec. 7.

The Cardinals beat the Knights again on Dec. 11 in the Canyon Classic, a tournament where the Cardinals lost their other three games, but did so in tight contests versus larger programs in Newbury Park and St. Genevieve.

But even against larger schools, SCCS is usually at a size advantage because of Webb and Collins, who have improved in 2013.

“It was all about their demeanor for us, sometimes the big guys are just nice,” Mosley said. “We have asked them to come out and dominate, show a more consistent desire.”

Due to the Cardinals’ balance in 2013-14, Webb and Collins have seen their numbers go down. Still, Webb and Collins are scoring eight and six points per contest respectively, with each hauling down upwards of seven rebounds a night.

Rounding out things for the Cardinals in 2013-14 is junior guard Cameron Lewis, who is scoring 11.2 points per contest for an SCCS team that shoots 49 percent from the floor.

While it’s still early in the season, there are already some notable trends at work for SCCS.

Not all of them positive.

While SCCS has held serve at home this year with a perfect 4-0 record, it is just 2-3 on the road, including two losses to St. Genevieve and Newbury Park at the Canyon Classic tournament.

Still, the Cardinals players and coaches remain optimistic.

“We are playing great right now,” said Carroll. “We had a couple of losses recently but we started the year hot and we know what kind of basketball we can all play.”

Right now, SCCS is 6-3 — just three wins shy already of tying last season’s win total.

The Cardinals are done playing basketball in 2013, and will resume their season on Jan. 4 in a home game against Marshall of Pasadena.

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