SCCS boys hoops gets by Morro Bay

Santa Clarita Christian's Justin Collins (13) shoots against Morro Bay defender Kalvin Hilliard (5) at SCCS on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

According to Santa Clarita Christian School boys basketball coach James Mosley, Friday night’s matchup against Morro Bay was “ugly.”

But the outcome was beautiful for the Cardinals, who defeated the Pirates at home 59-55 after overtime in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs.

“We tried to mix it up and get more inside stuff (on offense), but a lot of times it comes down to we have to make shots,” Mosley said. “So I feel like overtime, we did a good job of moving it and getting a rhythm.”

Santa Clarita Christian’s AJ Caldwell (20) shoots a 3-pointer against Morro Bay defender Rocky Rozario (3) at SCCS on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

After entering overtime tied at 47, the score quickly jumped to 49-49. AJ Caldwell and Justin Collins both made 3-pointers to bring the score to 55-49. The Cards (16-4) never trailed again.

The team struggled in the first quarter allowing Morro Bay’s Boden Reaber to repeatedly drive to the net, which boosted the Pirates (19-10) to a 10-9 lead.

“We don’t have a ton of size, so we really had to do a good job of trying to guard without fouling,” Mosley said. “We knew they were a solid team, we had some video footage of them and we knew they were going to try and pound us on the inside.”

Collins made five 3-pointers and had 17 points in the second quarter to lift the team to a 28-22 lead at halftime.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Jacob Moss (2) goes after a loose ball against Morro Bay defenders Kalvin Hilliard (5) and Spencer Cecil (23) at SCCS on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

He finished with 27 points in all.

“I felt like no one wanted to take over the game,” Collins said. “So why not be that man to help my team do whatever it is to get through the playoffs?”

Caldwell had 11 points for the Cardinals, and Josh Fehr had 10.

Defensive power increased for SCCS in the second half, but it couldn’t finish off the aggressive Morro Bay offense in regulation.

“I think we did a poor job on reacting to the ball and moving the ball,” Collins said. “We needed to move our feet more on defense.”

SCCS’s playoff run continues on Tuesday in the Division 5AA quarterfinals against Rolling Hills Prep, the No. 1 seed in the division.

“Our mindset is just come in, attack early and don’t be afraid,” said Collins.

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