2017-2018 Small School Year in Review

The Santa Clarita Christian School boys basketball team celebrates after winning the CIF-SS Division 5AAA championship with a 66-27 win over La Puente on Saturday at Colony High School. Photo courtesy Darcy Brown.

It’s no doubt that athletics play a major factor in the Santa Clarita Valley for kids and parents alike. With the success that Santa Clarita Christian School, Santa Clarita Valley International, Trinity Classical Academy and Albert Einstein Academy have had this year, the narrative seems to be growing.

“It’s an overwhelming experience to see the loyalty of the administration and the student body,” Trinity baseball head coach Mike Franchimone said. “It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen or been a part of. The belief and support that the school gives it just love, that’s the only way I can say it.”

Under first-year head coach Chazz Anderson, the SCCS football team went undefeated in the San Joaquin League, posting a perfect 5-0 record. Quarterback Blake Kirshner threw for almost 4,000 yards on the season. Heading into the CIF-Southern Section Division 13 playoffs as the top overall seed the Cardinal fell in the second round.

The girls soccer team managed to finish second in the Heritage League behind a couple of stud freshmen, Sydney Boswell and Ellyanna Edwards, that combined to score 52 goals and 39 assists en route to CIF-SS Division 7 semifinals.

The boys basketball team started the season off shaky, losing eight of the first 10 games they played against some tough competition, but hit their stride in the nick of time and only lost one more game the rest of the year on the way to a CIF-SS Division 5AAA title and the CIF Division V State title.

Trinity had similar results on the year, making history with the program’s first baseball playoff win. Needing extra innings in three of the playoff games, the Knights reached the title game, but fell to Fillmore 7-4.

“I can’t wait for next year,” Franchimone said. “We have some big shoes to fill, but the boys believe in themselves now and we did some amazing things so it’s going to be hard to match the year we had.”

The girls volleyball team finished the year second in the Heritage League with a record of 8-2, making it through to the CIF-SS Division 8 playoffs defeating Hawthorne Math & Science Academy in straight sets before falling to Malibu in the next round.

Ending the season atop the Omega League standings, the Santa Clarita Valley International softball team was led by two of their best hitters in Beatriz Panduro and Aleena Valenzuela. The Stallions reached the CIF-SS Division 7 playoffs, but fell in the first round.

Five most memorable athletes

Dustin Kua (Trinity) – Making it to the CIF-SS Ford Boys 2018 Individual Sectionals as a freelance player, Kua made the most of his senior year at Trinity. He breezed through to the Round of 16 after a first-round bye and earned two straight-set wins in the second and third rounds. Being the last singles player standing out of the Santa Clarita Valley, Kua fell to Los Alamitos’ Colter Smith in a three-hour, three-set match: 3-6, 6-4, 5-7.

Noah Nnabuo (SCCS) – Signing with Division 1AA Delaware State, Nnabuo garnered a lot of the attention from opposing defensive and offensive lineman thanks to his 6-3, 290 pound frame. Racking up 86 tackles, 12 of which were solo, and two and a half sacks on the season, Nnabuo is the second SCCS player to sign with a Division 1-AA school right out of high school.

Andrew Pfeiffer & Luke Pfeiffer (Trinity) – The junior/freshman brother combo were two of the most dominant players on both sides of the ball for the Knights’ magical season. From the mound, Andrew finished the season with an overall record of 11-3, posting a 1.27 ERA and striking out 87 on the year with six complete games and one shutout. He also led the Knights in hits with 36 and was second in RBIs, behind his brother, with 28. Just a freshman, Luke primarily made his living with a bat in his hand, leading the Knights in batting average (.531), second with 34 hits and first in RBIs (36).

Jordan Starr (SCCS) – In a historic year for the Cardinals, Starr shined amongst all the awards and accolades that the basketball team received. Leading the team in scoring (12.3) and assists (4.9), Starr was a constant reminder that hardwork and dedication pays off as he led the Cardinals to a CIF Southern Section Division 5AAA Championship before capturing the CIF Division V State Championship.

Solomon Strader (Trinity) – Only a sophomore, Strader was the fastest runner for Trinity Classical Academy, taking first in the 200- and 400-meter runs at the CIF-SS Division 4 finals. He went on to take second and sixth in the 400 with a time of 47.49 and 200 with a time of 22.06, respectively, at the Masters Meet.

Five most memorable female athletes

Sydney Boswell (SCCS) – As a freshman, Boswell led her team averaging 1.9 goals per game and 83 total points. She scored 34 goals on 98 shots.

Hannah Caddow (Trinity) – The junior outside hitter averaged 3.3 kills per set and smacked 216 kills on the season to lead her team to a 8-2 record in league.

Kalona Marr (SCCS) – Marr excelled in both volleyball and girls soccer for the Cardinals. She was a leader on a volleyball team that reached the state tournament and on the soccer team, she scored 13 goals and added eight assists.

Beatriz Panduro (SCVi) – Panduro smashed six home runs and batted .667 on the season with 44 RBIs. With speed to match her power, Panduro stole a team high 15 bases in 15 attempts.

Aleena Valenzuela (SCVi) – In her first high school softball season, Valenzuela recorded a rare and powerful batting average of.829 with 29 hits in just 35 at bats.

Five most memorable teams

Trinity baseball – Re-writing Trinity Classical athletics history, the Knights had a season for the books by winning the first playoff game in Trinity baseball history and reaching the CIF-SS championship game. Falling to Fillmore 7-4, the Knights magical season ended with an overall record of 18-4.

SCCS boys basketball – Winning the Heritage League title outright and going perfect with a 12-0 record, the Cardinals made quick work of the league schedule before completing the double by capturing the CIF-SS Division 5AAA title handling La Puente 66-27 and winning the CIF Division V State Championship where they defeated Argonaut 78-66.

SCCS football – Coming out of the San Joaquin League 5-0, the Cardinals took care of every team they faced with the closest win being a three-point victory against Saddleback Valley Christian. Being named the No. 1 overall seed in CIF-SS Division 13 playoffs, they defeated Hamilton in the first round before falling in the next round to Santa Clara 35-14.

SCCS girls soccer – Dropping five games on the season, the Cardinals finished second in the Heritage League finishing the season with 11 clean sheets, including two against playoff teams Mojave (6-0) and Pacific Lutheran (5-0), they fell in the semifinals against Azusa 3-2.

SCCS girls volleyball – Finishing third in the Heritage League, the girls volleyball team made it all the way to the CIF-SS Division 9 Championship game where they fell to Glendale Adventist 3-1. Qualifying for the CIF Division V state playoffs, the Cardinals fell to Carnegie Schools Riverside 3-2 in the second round.

Playoff teams


Baseball – The Knights made it to the CIF-SS Division 7 championship game, but fell to Fillmore 7-4.

Boys basketball – After reaching the first round of the Division 4A tournament, the team lost to Polytechnic 77-44.

Girls basketball – With underclassman Trinity Towns playing a key role, the Knights made it to the first round of the Division 5AAA tournament, where they fell to Workman 41-25.

Boys cross country – The Knights placed seventh at the CIF-SS prelims, then 13th at the CIF-SS finals. Hunter Romine finished 19th for the team at the finals.

Girls cross country – After running in multiple invitationals throughout the season, Trinity came in 13th at the CIF-SS prelims.

Softball – Despite a home run from Heidi Schafer, Trinity lost in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 7 playoffs, 30-11, to St. Mary’s Academy.

Girls volleyball – With one of the most successful postseasons of all the Knights’ teams, the team went to the second round of the Division 8 tournament and lost to Malibu 3-0.


Baseball – Finishing third in Heritage League play the Cardinals made it to the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs falling to El Monte 17-2.

Basketball – Coming out of the Heritage League with a perfect 12-0 record, the Cardinals made it to the CIF-SS Division 5AAA Championship game and defeated La Puente 66-27 to go on to the CIF Division V State Championship where they beat Argonaut 78-66.

Football – Going undefeated, the Cardinals found themselves as the No. 1 overall seed in CIF-SS Division 13 playoffs, defeating Hamilton 48-17 in the first round but faltered against Santa Clara 35-14 in the second round.

Girls Soccer – Coming out of the Heritage League in second place, the Cardinals were potent offensively, racking up 117 goals on the year on their way to the CIF-SS Division 7 semifinals game where they fell to Azusa 3-2.

Girls Volleyball – Reaching the CIF-SS Division 9 title game, the Cardinals fell to Glendale Adventist 3-1, but qualified for the CIF Division V state playoffs. They fell in the second round to Carnegie Schools Riverside 3-0.


Softball – Sweeping through the Omega League with a 9-0 record, the Stallions scored an astounding 199 runs on the year. Falling in the CIF-SS Division 7 playoffs to Flintridge Prep 23-6, the Stallions will look to build on this year’s success.

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