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SCCS loses in its first CIF title game

Posted: March 8, 2014 8:19 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2014 8:19 p.m.

Santa Clarita Christian's Kamron Carroll, right, shoots against Renaissance Academy on Saturday at Godinez High School.

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SANTA ANA — It was less than a minute after the CIF-Southern Section Division VA championship game ended at Godinez High School on Saturday morning, and Santa Clarita Christian guard Kamron Carroll went up for an uncontested layup.

It was pretty much the only time a Cardinals guard wasn’t pressured on the floor on Saturday.

SCCS’ first CIF title-game appearance ended up in a 58-32 loss to Renaissance Academy of Altadena in a game that the Cardinals’ guards were completely neutralized by the Wildcats’ swarming pressure defense.

“We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it would be that physical,” said Carroll, who scored seven points.

Renaissance (21-7) came out on SCCS (20-6) in the first quarter like an avalanche.

After the game’s first 2 minutes and 40 seconds, the Cardinals trailed 12-0 and had four turnovers.

They never recovered.

“We’ve been working on it. It was important to come out with intensity,” said Wildcats point guard Marquise Mosley, who led all players with 17 points, four assists and five steals. “If we got on them it would be our game.”
The 5-foot-8-inch Mosley was an absolute terror the whole game.

His quickness allowed Renaissance to trap in the backcourt, recover quickly on defense, eliminate transition buckets and stop the Cardinals’ guards from penetrating.

The Cardinals turned the ball over 25 times in the game with its three starting guards turning the ball over 18 times.

SCCS trailed 14-6 after one quarter and 33-12 going into halftime.

“It was easy to see they were really aggressive on defense,” said SCCS head coach James Mosley. “But you could never (replicate) that intensity in practice.”

However, the Cardinals had an opportunity to get back in the game in the first half of the third quarter.  

The Wildcats went the first 2:54 of the frame without a score and the first 3:18 without a field goal.

In that same amount of time, SCCS scored just two points on two Phillip Webb free throws.

Webb led the Cardinals with nine points and 16 rebounds.

The Cardinals ruled the offensive glass with 19 offensive rebounds to just four for Renaissance.

The Wildcats even turned the ball over 23 times in the game.

Yet SCCS couldn’t convert on their second chances and didn’t take advantage of the Wildcats’ miscues.

Renaissance did the opposite.

“Our shots just weren’t falling,” Webb said. “(The second-half goal) was to come out with more energy.”

But the Cardinals never found it.

SCCS trailed 46-20 going into the fourth quarter and never got closer than down 21 points.

K.J. Okmanas scored 15 points for the Wildcats.

Santa Clarita Christian’s season is not over, though, as it expects to receive an invite to the CIF state tournament.

It would be another first for a team that has seen a series of them this year — first 20-win season in school history and first CIF championship-game appearance.

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