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Trinity Boys Basketball wins CIF Championship

Posted: March 8, 2014 3:05 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2014 3:05 p.m.

Trinity Classical Academy's Ian Caddow shoots agianst Desert Chapel during Saturday's CIF championship game game at Godinez High.

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SANTA ANA — Trinity Classical Academy sophomore Ian Caddow said he hadn’t felt fully healthy all season long.

But he was feeling flat-out mighty after putting up the game of his life on the biggest of stages.

After battling a hip injury most of the season, Caddow broke out for a 37-point performance to help boost the Trinity Knights boys basketball team to a 77-52 win over the Desert Chapel Eagles of Palm Springs in the CIF-Southern Section Division VI title game at Godinez High School.

The win gives Trinity (18-8) its first CIF basketball championship in school history, and it gives the school its second CIF crown of the school year following the football team’s CIF-SS 8-man Division II football title in the fall.

“It was pretty cool. I was thinking about how well I was doing but I was also thinking, we’re up (big) at halftime. I was thinking, ‘We’re going to win a championship,” Caddow said.

In the week leading up the game, the sophomore forward only practiced once with the team after taking the first two days off to heal up a hip issue that kept him out of the lineup for the first nine games of the season.

As the week went on, Caddow said he started feeling significantly better. And it all led up to his incredible 13-for-17 shooting performance on Saturday, including seven made 3-pointers.

Coming into the game, Trinity’s primary offensive weapons were Spencer Klehn, Ryan Brooks and Michael Mateo.

But Trinity unleashed its weapon-in-waiting on Saturday.

“When you talk about our game plan for our team, you’re game planning for Spencer and Ryan and Mateo. When you don’t game plan for an athlete like Ian, that can be a problem, which it was today for them,” said Trinity head coach John Brooks.

Trinity is just the second Santa Clarita Valley boys basketball team all-time to hoist a CIF championship trophy. The only other one was the 1987 Saugus Centurions.

The Knights fell just short of the feat last year, losing 47-40 to Rio Hondo Prep in the Division VI title game.

Playing in just its fourth season as a varsity program, Trinity basketball now has a CIF runner-up finish and a CIF crown.

“Five years ago, we didn’t even have high school,” Caddow said. “And now we’re here and three of our players at the end of the game are sophomores. It’s crazy.”

Trinity wasn’t going to let history repeat itself in this title game. It fired out of the gate with its signature pressure defense that produced a total of 16 steals and caused most of Desert Chapel’s 20 turnovers.

Even better news for the Knights, they were hitting their shots from all over the floor.

“They came out with more intensity than we did. We wanted to do that. We wanted to push the ball. We wanted to go get them. And they did (that),” said Desert Chapel head coach Alfonso Alvarez.

Caddow’s first 3-pointer of the game put Trinity up 19-17 at the 2:47 mark of the first quarter. It was the first of three consecutive triples for Caddow that helped extend the lead to 24-17 by the end of the first quarter.

The Knights didn’t give up the lead after that.

Michael Mateo scored 13 points for Trinity and teammate Ryan Brooks posted 11 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.

At halftime, the Knights led 44-25. By the start of the fourth quarter, it was a full-on rout.

For the Eagles (23-5), 6-foot-4-inch forward Roman Pellum was an enforcer in the paint with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Taner Alvarez added 14 points and 13 rebounds of his own for Desert Chapel, but the rest of the team was smothered by the Knights’ relentless defense that contested every shot, pass and inbound.

Last year’s CIF runner-up Trinity team played the championship game with three freshman, a sophomore and a junior starting.

An extra year of experience for that same lineup seemed to make all the difference in the world.

Note: The final points of the game were scored by Trinity freshman Beau Howell, who was subbed into the game in the final minute. Howell has autism and has spent the entire season with the team, but had yet to score a point until Saturday. The crowd on hand reached its peak volume when Howell made the shot with 19 seconds to play.

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