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SCCS boys hoops hoping for first CIF championship

Posted: March 7, 2014 10:52 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2014 10:52 p.m.

(From left to right) Santa Clarita Christian players Kamron Carroll, Cameron Lewis and Masyn Parke are big reasons why the Cardinals are playing for a CIF title today.

 

A picture hangs on the wall of James Mosley’s office at Santa Clarita Christian School recognizing the school’s 2009-10 boys basketball team.

That season meant a lot to Mosley, now in his 11th year as the SCCS Cardinals boys basketball head coach. The way he sees it, that season laid the groundwork for the major achievements of this year’s team.

“Hopefully I’m adding the CIF championships plaque to that,” Mosley says with a laugh.

Today at 9:30 a.m. at Godinez High School in Santa Ana, SCCS will take part in its first CIF basketball championship game in school history when it takes on Renaissance High of La Canada in the CIF-Southern Section Division VA final.

On top of that, SCCS already has a program-best 20 wins with a 20-5 record. That bests the previous record of 19 wins from that foundational 2009-10 team which advanced to the CIF quarterfinals.

At the time, that was as far as any SCCS team had gone in the playoffs. The team was led by senior star Davion Cotterell, who was an international exchange student from the Cayman Islands.

He was named All-CIF that year and raised eyebrows around the Santa Clarita Valley when he won the dunk contest during The Signal’s SCV Hoops Finale.

It was the year that put SCCS basketball on the radar in this valley and beyond.

“We were getting more recognition in the valley that we were doing things the right way. That we were doing the same things that Hart and Valencia were doing,” Mosley says, explaining that the school added more weight training and offseason elements to its athletics.

That, combined with the perfect combination of players and a unique chemistry this year provides the recipe for a potential championship.

It started with a few exchange students from the Caymans who followed after Cotterell’s success.

The current Cardinals start two Cayman Islanders, Phillip Webb and Chris Collins, the two forwards who transferred in last year and have improved significantly since.

And then this season, in came the final pieces to the puzzle – three transfer students who simply wanted a chance to play.

And now those three players, Kamron Carroll, Cameron Lewis and Masyn Parker, are giving SCCS a chance at history.

“They bring a huge element,” Collins says of the three newcomers. “The intensity and also coming from the fact that they played at another level of basketball really. They’re really encouraging too. They’re great guys.”

Well before this season began, Parker said the team set a goal to win a CIF championship. They all realized how bold that seemed back then. But now the journey is almost complete.

“It’s an amazing blessing for me. To even be able to play basketball in high school is amazing,” says Parker, a senior guard who attended both Alemany and Valencia high schools before coming to SCCS. “And for us to have this little goal that we set for ourselves is amazing.”

Parker is averaging nine points per game and leading the team with 54 made 3-pointers.

The other new additions to the team are also the two leading scorers.

Carroll, a senior point guard, is putting up 14.2 points and 5.5 assists per game and Lewis, a junior guard, is averaging 11.8 points.

Like Parker, both players were at Alemany at one point. Carroll transferred to SCCS last spring while Lewis spent a brief period at Valencia High before coming to SCCS this past fall.

For all three of them, this season has been the first time they’ve played major roles on a varsity team following previous years of inconsistent play time.

“It’s almost like that little anger that has been building up and that frustration has allowed us to come out and (win games),” Lewis says.

It didn’t hurt that a lot of the players knew each other from years past, which made it easy for the team to gel.

Some had crossed paths while at Alemany and Valencia. In Carroll’s case, he got to know Webb and Phillips this past year by playing on the same AAU team.

Carroll says he watched those two develop into dominant big men.

That’s another reason why SCCS has managed to pull off a major turnaround from last year’s 9-11 finishing record.

It was not accident that this all came together. It’s been a steady building process for many years, even before the benchmark 2009-10 season.

That was only one step. Perhaps this team is ready to take a bigger leap.

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