Santa Clarita Christian girls basketball didn’t have much time to prepare for Faith Baptist of Canoga Park, thanks to a Saturday night game, but it turned out the Cardinals only had to prepare for one player in Monday night’s 53-37 loss at SCCS.
SCCS, which is currently seated second in the Heritage League, couldn’t stop the top-ranked Contenders’ Naana Boateng, who scored 28 points.
“They have one of the best players in our league,” said Cardinals coach Dennis Schwesinger. “If you don’t deny her the ball, it’s hard to keep her out of the paint.”
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After struggling to defend Faith’s strong presence beneath the basket in the opening frame, the Cards (8-2 overall, 3-1 in Heritage) were able to find some momentum in the second quarter and headed into halftime only behind by eight points. With the size and defensive competitiveness of the Contenders (12-6, 5-0), adjustments had to be made on offense. Getting to the inside was complicated, so SCCS moved focused on its perimeter game.
The ball shifted from usual top-shooter Payton Schwesinger to Kaleigh Moss and Aaronya Crosswhite, the latter making four 3-pointers from the second quarter on and ending the night with a team-high 12 points.
“It helps if Payton gets trapped inside, then they can have not only me, but Kaleigh can also shoot threes,” Crosswhite said. “So us being able to shoot outside helps a lot.”
Schwesinger was the team’s second-leading scorer with 11 points.
The team is coming off of Saturday’s confident 38-23 win against Trinity Classical Academy. It was the first time since Feb. 2015 that the Cardinals took down the Knights, according to MaxPreps.
“When we talked at the beginning of the season, one of their goals was to match up better with Trinity or beat Trinity,” Dennis Schwesinger said. “We played good in all positions and it was probably our most complete game.”
The stark difference in outcomes between Saturday and Monday’s games showed that the best strategy is to focus on one game — or player — at a time.
“We were excited about the Trinity win, but we’re going to work off of this,” said Payton Schwesinger. “Even if we lose, as long as we got better during the game, that’s a win for us.”