SCCS' Kenzie Kennedy (12) looks at Kaleigh Moss (23) in surprise after Moss scored a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the first quarter against Tarbut V' Torah at SCCS on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita Christian girls basketball team knew nothing about Tarbut V’ Torah of Irvine, the opponent for Thursday night’s CIF-Southern Section Division 6 first-round playoff game.

“We had no film, we had no common opponent or even a common opponent of a common opponent,” said coach Dennis Schwesinger. “It was a real unknown of what we were going to see when they got here.”

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The Cardinals were able to adapt quickly, however, to shut down the Lions’ offense in a 53-35 home win.

SCCS (11-6) led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, but clicked defensively to limit the Lions (7-7) to four points in the second frame and pull ahead 29-12.

“Our plan on defense is always adapting and adjusting to how they play,” said SCCS guard Payton Schwesinger. “And so moving around our defense and just being aggressive overall is what picked it up.”

Payton Schwesinger was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points and drove to the net whenever given a lane.

Kaleigh Moss was next with 14 points and Kenzie Kennedy had 10.

SCCS’ Payton Schwesinger (2) dribbles down the court, beating Sigal Barak (44) of Tarbut V’ Torah at SCCS on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

As SCCS’ lead stretched farther and farther, the team focused on playing smart and executing sharp plays.

“Each of our plays have a bunch of different options,” Moss said. “So when we’re up by a lot, our coaches just tell us to every time we run it, try to get a different option than we did before and just taking our plays all the way through and try to find all the options so we can practice them for the upcoming games.”

Since the team reformed in 2012 after a one-year hiatus, the Cardinals have not made it past the second round of playoffs.

The results against the Lions could be an indicator of a change.

“(We have to) keep working hard in our practices and really try to take care of the ball and not make mistakes,” said Moss. “We’re going to be practicing our plays and the fundamentals.”

SCCS will be on the road Saturday against the winner of Coast Union and Newbury Park Adventist.

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