Santa Clarita Christian School’s girls basketball team beat Albert Einstein Academy 34-20 Friday in a defensive battle on the campus of The Master’s University.
SCCS (5-0) and Einstein (3-4) played a scrappy game that came down to a few late SCCS 3-pointers. Each teams felt good about its play despite, at times, choppy play.
“I don’t think we played a very strong first half,” said SCCS coach Dennis Schwesinger. “Our second-half performance was much better, much more aggressive.”
Both teams started the game flat. Einstein turned the ball over five times in the first quarter and struggled to make shots. SCCS also struggled to make shots during the first quarter. Both teams started the scoring by trading baskets midway through the first quarter.
The Cardinals grabbed a 4-2 lead heading into the second quarter after Payton Schwesinger, a senior, sank a layup with 38.6 seconds left in the opening frame.
Einstein grabbed the lead midway into the second quarter after sophomore guard Evanne Tieng sank a 3-pointer to give the Rockets a 7-6 lead.
The sloppy play continued, though, as both teams turned the ball over four times in the second quarter.
With 53 seconds left in the quarter, SCCS’s Kaleigh Moss stole a pass near her own basket, drove the length of the floor and laid the ball in to give the Cardinals a 12-10 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, SCCS sophomore Aaronya Crosswhite got hot as she hit two 3-pointers to extend the Cardinals’ lead.
“More of us got our shots in and we were working together more at the end than we were at the beginning, so that helped a lot,” Crosswhite said.
Einstein fought in the fourth quarter to make the game closer. Senior guard Helen Rodriguez sank a pair of baskets to narrow SCCS’s lead to 26-20 with just over five minutes left.
But SCCS went on an 8-0 run to close out the game.
Einstein coach Scott Baker noted that SCCS is a high-scoring team and his squad limited the Cardinals to just 34 points.
“With our size and slowness of foot, we need to keep games low scoring and muddy it up a bit,” Baker said. “We did that for three quarters.”
Crosswhite hit three second-half 3-pointers and led the Cardinals with nine points. Payton Schwesinger added eight points for the Cardinals. Kenzie Kennedy led SCCS in rebounding with six rebounds.
Rodriguez led Einstein with 11 points and five rebounds. Sadie Sheridan also had five rebounds for the Rockets.