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Prep boys hoops: Knights pick themselves up

SCCS opens up early lead, but Trinity rallies in the second half to earn the victor

Posted: February 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Trinity's MIchael Mateo, center, dives on top of Santa Clarita Christian's Larue Nixon for a loose ball as Alec Robinson battles for the ball at Golden Valley High School on Thursday.

Two very different story lines played out simultaneously during the Trinity Knights boys basketball team’s 45-44 win over the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals at Golden Valley on Thursday night.

First, there was the story of a determined Trinity team, which despite being on the ropes for the majority of the game hung in tough to steal a win.

Second, there was an emotionally fragile Cardinals squad, which saw its first league win slip through its fingertips against a team that has had its number all season.

“Any time you have high school players and adjustments are made against you, it’s easy to stop playing with the same flow,” said Cardinals head coach James Mosley. “But I’m proud of my guys, I think playing this game against a good Trinity team proved that if we can make playoffs and stay healthy we can do some damage and maybe turn the results our way.”
Early on, it didn’t matter what adjustments Trinity (12-4 overall, 4-1 in Heritage League play) threw at SCCS.

Led by a red hot Phillip Webb, who hit five 3-pointers en route to 19 points, the Cardinals stormed out to a 17-6 first quarter lead.

From then on a predictable pattern continued throughout much of the second, third and fourth quarters.

Trinity would make a run, its fans would get excited, and then either Webb or Cardinal senior guard Larue Nixon would score a few quick points to squash the Knights’ momentum.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals (8-10, 0-6), that pattern came undone when it mattered the most.

After entering the final frame down 35-28, the Knights turned on their highest gear and eventually took a 41-40 lead when Trinity freshman guard Marco Escribano hit a jumper from just behind the free throw line with three minutes remaining in the game.

Nixon, who finished with 15 points, would go on to give the Cardinals back the lead with two free throws, but that lead was also squandered when Escribano hit another dagger to put the Knights back on top.

From there, SCCS, who had lost its two previous games to Trinity this season in blowout fashion, had the final possession with a chance to win the game.

“We were so aggressive ball side on defense that we kept getting beat by Webb on the long jumpers throughout the game,” said Trinity head coach John Brooks. “So (on the last play) I told my guys to make a concentrated effort to keep them from getting a quality look and force them into a contested or bad shot.”

Brooks’ gameplan worked to near perfection, as SCCS failed to get up a shot during its final 28 second possession before the buzzer sounded.

The Knights will have little time to exhale, as they take on a Valley Torah team that handed them their only league loss of the season on Saturday.

“This game was great with the crowd and all the excitement,” said Knights sophomore forward Ryan Brooks, who tied for the team lead with 11 points. “Obviously it was more stressful than our 20-point win against them, but it was more fun to play in as well.”


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