On Monday Tuesday night at The Master’s University, Santa Clarita Christian School boys basketball experienced something it has rarely seen this season: The opposing team scored first.
La Quinta had executed the first layup of the game, but that was the only occasion that the Aztecs held a lead in the Cardinals 86-45 win in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5AAA quarterfinals.
“We just wanted to really come out,” said coach James Mosley. “This team that we have is so deep and talented, so we just want to come out and really speed them up and go hard and use all the weapons that we have. And so we’re kind of learning to do that, but I was happy with the energy.”
The Cardinals jumped out to a 24-11 lead in the first quarter, but La Quinta fought back to close the gap to 43-28 by halftime as SCCS’ energy faded ever so slightly.
Jordan Starr burst out of halftime to pile on 12 points in the third quarter, then Ty Penberthy added 12 in the fourth quarter.
Caden Starr stepped up to handle some scoring duties in the first half with 11 points between the first and second frames.
“He’s one of our best guys at getting into the paint and moving the ball,” said Mosley. “He’s a good rebounder, he really is a complete player and his confidence is just growing.
“We’ve just been encouraging him to be aggressive because he’s really that good.”
Getting to the paint was easier said than done with La Quinta’s Michael Nadeau (6-foot-4) and Tony Ta (6-foot-1) stationed below the basket.
“They’re pretty good post players, but we have a lot of size,” said Caden Starr. “…So we just moved our feet and then the ball pressure, they couldn’t make as good of post entry passes because we had pressure on the ball.”
The Cardinals will hit the road to take on Bloomington Friday at 7 p.m. in the CIF-SS semifinals.
It’ll be the team’s first game away from Bross Court since it played at Lancaster Baptist on Feb. 1.
“You’re always concerned when you’re on the road, but ultimately we know that we have to have enthusiasm, our body language and energy has to be there, we’ve got to stay together,” Mosley said. “I feel like if we do that we’ve got a great chance wherever we play.”