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Trinity boys advance to second round of CIF-State playoffs

Posted: March 12, 2014 10:28 p.m.
Updated: March 12, 2014 10:28 p.m.

Trinity Classical Academy's Ryan Brooks (15) shoots against Capistrano Valley Christian during Wednesday's game at The Master's College.

The way the Trinity Classical Academy Knights boys basketball team sees it, every extra game they get to play is a bonus.

So why not play like they have nothing to lose?

Trinity played a high-energy brand of basketball and dominated the fourth quarter of a 65-51 win over the Capistrano Valley Christian Eagles on Wednesday in the first round of the CIF State Boys Division V Basketball Championship at The Master’s College.

The eight-seeded Knights (19-8) were coming off a win in the CIF-Southern Section Division VI championship on Saturday and they were making their second straight appearance in the CIF State tournament. This time it was against the No. 9 seed Eagles.

“One phrase we have is, ‘Why not us?’” said Trinity junior Ryan Brooks. “We’re going to be the underdogs in most of these (state playoff) games because we’re a small-school team compared to most of the other teams in this division.”

Brooks scored 13 points and was one of three Knights players in double figures.

The 6-foot-4-inch junior also added four rebounds, four assists and five blocks in a game where he was asked to defend Capistrano’s 6-foot-10 center Simon Okolue.

Okolue scored 12 points, but just four in a second half that was highlighted by Trinity’s defensive effort and a game-changing run in the final frame.

“We just laid it all on the line and said, ‘The team with the most heart is going to win this thing.’ And we felt like we had the most heart,” said Trinity head coach John Brooks.

After Capistrano tied the score at 44-44 early in the fourth quarter, Trinity caught fire and sprinted to a 13-0 run thanks to three straight made 3-point attempts.

Suddenly, with 5:46 to play, the Knights led 57-44.

Trinity outscored the Eagles 21-10 in the fourth quarter.

“Their players are smart and they play hard all the time,” said Capistrano head coach Zach Brogdon of Trinity. “That’s how they go on those runs.”

Josh Mumper hit four threes in the game to score 12 points, while sophomore guard Michael Mateo led the team with 14 points.

Mumper was hitting shots from the outside while Mateo, Ryan Brooks and Spencer Klehn were winning the battles in the paint.

Klehn finished with nine points.

“We can always catch fire, and when we do we can’t be stopped,” Mateo said.

The score was tight throughout the first half with a 16-16 tie after the first quarter and the Eagles (16-13) taking a 31-30 lead into halftime.

Trinity made its first run by scoring eight straight points during a four-minute stretch in the third quarter to open up a 40-35 lead.

Capistrano kept itself in the game as Peter Abramsky continued to hit shots. He scored a game-high 19 points for the Eagles, whose last game was a 52-45 loss to Santa Clarita Christian in the CIF-SS Division VA semifinals.

Wednesday’s game once again tipped in favor of the Santa Clarita Valley team.

This is the second straight year Trinity has won a state playoff game after the Knights went down in the second round last season.

This year, Trinity plays its second-round game at Renaissance Academy of Altadena on Saturday.

Renaissance is the No. 1 seed in the Division V bracket and beat Santa Clarita Christian in last Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division VA championship.


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