For seemingly the first time since the Santa Clarita Christian School’s grueling preleague slate, a team at least matched the Cardinals physicality, coming in the first round of the CIF State Division 5 boys basketball tournament Tuesday night.
That resulted in a lack of rhythm and “choppy” play in the first half against Corcoran, in the eyes of SCCS coach James Mosley
It was going to take a little more than one sloppy half to knock of the No. 1-seeded Cardinals, though.
SCCS shed its frustrations from the early goings of the physical battle to beat Corcoran 70-52 at The Master’s University.
“We were ticked off early because they tried to come here and out-physical us and we weren’t going to let that happen,” said Jordan Starr, who led SCCS 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. “I think we were finally able to set the tone as the game went on.”
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It was another sizable postseason win from the Cardinals, though it was their first win in five playoff games that didn’t come by at least 20 points. SCCS will play South East of South Gate on Saturday at Master’s, with the time still to be determined. South East was the CIF-LA City Section Division 3 champions this season.
SCCS (22-9) ended the first quarter with a 19-16 lead but Corcoran had ended the quarter on an 8-0 run and took a 20-19 within the first three minutes of the second quarter.
“They’re a good team, we knew they were,” Mosley said. “We watched a lot of video on them, so we knew that. There were just a lot of fouls early that disrupted the flow of the game.
Starr found his way to the free-throw line on several occasions in the first half but was just 4 of 10 from the line in the second quarter. He went on to score 13 of his points in the second half.
“It was all mental,” Starr said. “I was just frustrated early.”
Corcoran’s lead was short-lived. The Cards went up 24-23 with 5:03 to go in the first half and ended the half on an 16-2 run to take a 40-25 lead.
Caden Starr scored 13 of his 16 points, which was second on SCCS, in the first half.
“We started a little flat on defense,” Caden Starr said. “But we settled down and from there we were fine.”
SCCS never let Corcoran back within single digits in the second half. A 3-pointer from Justin Collins gave the Cards their first 20-point lead of the night at 63-42, with 5:05 to play in the game. A three-point play from Noah Veluzat put them up 70-50 with just under two minutes in the game.
Veluzat was third on the team with 13 points and Collins had 11 points to go with five assists and five rebounds.
Corcoran (20-11) senior guard Roy Salinas led all scorers with 28 points.
“I’ll give (Salinas) credit, he was hitting shots early in the game,” Jordan Starr said. “But I think we were able to buckle down on him and took care of business.”
The Cards picked up their second win as a program in the CIF State boy basketball tournament. The first came in 2014 when they topped Kern Valley in the first round of the Division 5 tournament.