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Trinity hoops chasing expectations

Knights trying to get on track following last year’s appearance in CIF title game

Posted: December 24, 2013 4:35 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2013 4:35 p.m.
 

The Trinity Classical Academy Knights boys basketball team was wildly successful a season ago, and it’s finding out just how hard it is to replicate that success to begin the 2013-14 season.

“As a coach I’m always trying new things to help prepare my players,” said Knights head coach John Brooks, who is 55-32 as a head coach since taking over the program four years ago. “Last week the coaching staff and I had sit downs with our team and talked to them about expectations.”

Within the Trinity program, there was plenty to be excited about heading into this year.

Last season, the Knights pulled off a run to the CIF-Southern Section Division VI championship game in only the program’s third full year of varsity competition.

On last year’s 13-man roster, there were seven freshman, four sophomores, a junior and just one senior, Chris Buchanan.

The team’s four leading scorers were Spencer Klehn, Ryan Brooks, Ian Caddow and Marco Escribano — a sophomore and three freshman.

On March 9 in San Diego, eventual state champion Horizon Christian Academy ended Trinity’s 19-7 campaign in the second round of the CIF Division V state playoffs.

By all means, Trinity was a team on the rise, and it’s roster was structured around talented underclassmen that were ripe with potential.

But then came the recent football season — a season that ended with Trinity’s first ever CIF title, courtesy of a dominant 10-2 Knights team that defeated rival Joshua Springs 47-0 in the 2013 CIF-Southern Section 8-man Division II championship game.

Leading the way for that team were All-Heritage League first-teamers Spencer Klehn, Ryan Brooks and Ian Caddow — the basketball team’s first-, second-, and third-leading scorers.

That CIF title set the foundation for the type of pedigree the Trinity athletic program expects to achieve.

But it also had an adverse effect on Trinity’s dual-sport athletes given the extended period of time the students had to spend focusing on football.

“Yeah, it’s been tough,” said junior Ryan Brooks, the team’s do-it-all playmaker, premier ball-handler and coach’s son. “With the whole football schedule the (basketball) team didn’t get to work together too much before the season started.”

But both Ryan and John are optimistic despite the team’s inconsistent 5-4 start.

Upon closer examination there’s little reason not to be.

Two of Trinity’s losses were to significantly larger programs — one being Simi Valley, the other a Canyon High team that is off a 10-1 start to the year.

Even in the program’s other two losses to rival SCCS suggest there is reason to be optimistic about Trinity’s direction.

The Cardinals handed the Knights their first loss of the season with a 68-42 runaway victory at the SCCS Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 7.

Just four days later, the two squared off in the Canyon Classic.

Trinity lost by just five points that time around.

Then there’s Trinity’s most recent result, a 50-47 win over Valley Torah on Saturday. This a Valley Torah team that twice beat the Knights by double-digits a season ago.

“This part of the year is just about getting going and starting to connect the dots with team chemistry,” John Brooks said.

Given Trinity’s recent improved play, it appears Brooks may be on to something.

Still, the Knights have a few unforeseen situations to manage.

Marco Escribano, who tied with Caddow as the team’s third-leading scorer with 9.5 points per game in 2013, is no longer with the team.

His colleague Caddow has yet to play due to injury. Those two players scored a combined 19 points per game last year.

For Trinity, the 2013-14 season may be shaped by how well it fills its unpredictable voids.

According to Coach Brooks, two faces come to mind when discussing those prospects.

“Michael Mateo is a guy that we saw get a lot more aggressive at the end of last year,” Brooks said. “He went from not starting to being one of our best players. Now we need him to play like that more.”

But perhaps the biggest difference maker for Trinity this season will never leave the bench.

This year, Trinity welcomed SCV basketball mind Jeremy Haggerty to its coaching staff.

After holding assistant coaching positions at Canyon and West Ranch, and finishing his playing career as a member of The Master’s College basketball team, Haggerty is helping the Knights take steps towards winning league.

“I can’t say enough how excited we are to have Jeremy on the coaching staff,” Brooks said.

Perhaps excited is the word that best encapsulates Trinity’s season so far.

ernie@signalscv.com

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