Santa Clarita Christian School has no shortage of sharp shooters, and Thursday those marksmen made it rain 3-pointers in a 76-32 rout of Albert Einstein Academy during the first game of the SCCS’s home Tip-Off Tournament.
Four Cardinal players were on fire beyond the arc, and coach James Mosley said his team will need to feed off the deep ball moving forward.
“That’s going to be a staple for us,” Mosley said. “We have kids who can shoot it. They work on it relentlessly. So it’s definitely a part of what we’re doing. We want to spread teams out and shoot the ball.”
In the first few minutes, SCCS tried to force the ball into the paint and fight through the Einstein defense. Initially, the Rockets clogged up the lane, but SCCS used its speed to dump the ball down to the baseline where SCCS forward Josh Fehr could lay the ball in.
Fehr finished with 14 points.
As the quarter wore on, the Cardinals (1-0) threw the ball outside to guards Justin Collins and AJ Caldwell for open shots.
“We can see the three-ball is definitely our game,” Fehr said. “So once they fell back into a zone, we were like, ‘Alright, this is our money right here.’”
In the opening frame, Einstein (0-1) managed just one early bucket and a single made free throw late in the quarter. SCCS opened the second quarter up 23-3 and used its speed to spread Einstein out and search for more.
Caldwell hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter, five total in the first half, and led the Cardinals with 25 points by halftime. Collins also had seven points at the break and finished with 14.
Sophomore Josh Mena capped the Cardinals’ outstanding half with a late 3-pointer with less than one second left in the second quarter, and SCCS took a 50-12 lead into halftime.
“I just want to shoot the ball,” Caldwell said. “They had to figure out how to guard me because they knew I was a shooter. My teammates set the screens and got me open.”
“Making those shots helps a lot.”
Caldwell cooled off in the second half, but Mena added another 3-pointer in the third quarter and sophomore David Okonowski added two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Justin Kreisberg led Einstein with nine points.
Caldwell said the win was a bit of revenge for him, Fehr and Collins after Einstein beat the Cardinals in the final of last year’s SCCS Tip-Off Tournament.