With about 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter of a game against Trinity Classical Academy, the Santa Clarita Christian School student section erupted in a chant that consisted of two letters: “T” and “J.”
On the opposite side of the Master’s University court stood TJ Lowery, a senior who hadn’t touched the hardwood entire year until that point due to a bone cyst.
“We were just hyped,” said SCCS’ Justin Collins. “We were so happy. I almost broke down and cried because it’s his first game back since he started having cysts.”
Although Lowery never scored, he still served as an intense source of motivation for the Cards in their 72-35 win over the Knights on Saturday night.
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“He still comes to practice every day,” said SCCS coach James Mosley. “He has a servant’s heart, encouraging guys. He’ll do whatever we ask him to do. His recovery has been progressing well. We can’t play yet fully, but we thought if we got a chance, we’d get him in the game.”
The Cardinals held Trinity to just three points in the first quarter – a 3-pointer made by Kyle Fields.
The Knights made some adjustments in the second quarter, but still entered halftime trailing 35-12.
“Our biggest thing I told our players is if you don’t hit shots, you can’t win ball games,” said Trinity coach Todd Bernard. “Especially against a team like this. If they’re going to score, we’ve got to somewhat score.”
Jordan Starr led the Cardinals with 19 points, with Collins following at 13 points. Noah Veluzat added 14 points – which included three 3-pointers in the first quarter.
SCCS (14-9 overall, 10-0 in Heritage League) was comfortable around the perimeter and beyond the arc, sinking a total of 10 3-pointers on the evening.
Tyler Lee scored 20 points for the Knights (10-10, 5-6).
“He works nonstop,” said Bernard. “The way you see him in the game, that’s how he comes and conducts himself every single practice. He works, he works, he works.”
Mosley noted that a CIF crown is a goal of his team’s, but was quick to add that finishing off the rest of league strong comes first. The Cardinals play Valley Torah on Monday at The Master’s University. Tipoff is 6:45.
When the two teams last met on Jan. 30, SCCS won 69-60.
“It’s a big challenge for us,” said Mosley. “Valley Torah is a good team and we’re just going to be focused on that.”
Trinity will next play Guidance Charter on Friday at 8 p.m.