A search for the best boys basketball team in the Santa Clarita Valley usually starts and ends within the Foothill League.
That may not be the case this year.
With a glut of high-quality transfers, Santa Clarita Christian School has assembled a team that can keep up with the likes of its neighbors in the Foothill League.
And they plan on putting that to the test.
The Cardinals are scheduled to play Valencia on Jan. 6 at the War on the Floor Showcase in Woodland Hills. With a hefty portion of the teams players coming back next season, coach James Mosley hopes more games against Foothill League teams will pop up on next year’s schedule.
“We have a special opportunity to do things we wouldn’t normally do,” Mosley said.
SCCS (2-4) has already taken advantage of its historically talented squad, taking part in the Battle Zone tournament in Corona last month. It’s scheduled to take part in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego starting Dec. 26, which attracts elite teams from all over the nation.
“Scheduling tough early kind of gives us that trial by fire,” Mosley said. “We’re trying to find everybody’s role and get them comfortable in it. The biggest thing is we have depth, which brings competition.
“Our guys know if they can’t fill their role, there’s someone waiting behind them that wants a shot.”
Senior Jordan Starr and sophomore Kaleb Lowery are likely to have the biggest impact out of the transfers. Starr and his brother Caden, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, transferred in from Village Christian in Sun Valley. Both are the sons of The Master’s University men’s basketball coach Kelvin Starr.
Lowery, and his brother T.J., sons of TMU men’s basketball assistant Thomas Lowery, transferred in from Foothills Christian in El Cajon. T.J., who’s a 6-foot-7 senior forward, is unlikely to play this season after having a procedure to remove a bone cyst.
Jordan Starr, who’s also listed at 6-foot-7, has run the point early on for the Cardinals. He logged a triple-double in their win over Orange Lutheran on Dec. 1. He also had 10 points and 10 assists in their win over Oaks Christian last Friday.
“Jordan is just so special at moving the ball and he creates matchup problems with his size,” Mosley said.
Kaleb Lowery, who comes in at 6-foot-5, is set to give the Cardinals their greatest post presence. He’s also a threat on the perimeter, logging a pair of dunks and 3-pointers in the win over Oaks Christian.
“It’s cool that we’ll get our chance to put our stamp on the program,” Lowery said after the win over Oaks Christian. “We’re all starting to come together and figuring out each other’s strengths.”
Sophomore Ty Penberthy, son of former Lakers player Mike Penberthy, rounds out the group of transfers, entering from Village Christian as well. He’s yet to play this season per CIF transfer rules but will give the Cardinals another option at point guard.
Freshman Noah Veluzat flashed his 3-point prowess in the win over Oaks Christian, knocking down six of them. Junior guard Justin Collins, an All-SCV honorable mention last season, serves as the team’s top returner.
“He’s fast-twitch,” Mosley said of Collins. “He’s one of the best we have at creating his own looks.”
Junior Andrew Thompson gives the Cardinals another solid threat from behind the arc to go with Veluzat.
SCCS was ranked fifth in the opening CIF-Southern Seciton Division 5AAA poll, and will begin play in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic on Dec. 27 against Spanish Springs (Sparks, Nev.).
NOTES – SCCS went 16-5 last season and made it to the CIF-SS Division 5AAA quarterfinals. It begins Heritage League play on Jan. 5 against Faith Baptist.