From the opening tip, a victory was never in doubt as Santa Clarita Christian School boys basketball hosted Palmdale Aerospace Academy to open Heritage League play at The Master’s University on Monday.
Tipping the ball to Noah Veluzat, 6-foot 8-inch junior forward Kaleb Lowery rose above the much smaller Griffin defender to initiate the Cardinal’s first fast-break points giving them a 2-0 lead, a lead the Cardinals would never relinquish as they went on to win 88-20.
SCCS (3-1 overall, 1-0 in Heritage League) dominated every facet of the game thanks to some obvious physical advantages.
The Cardinals boast a big starting lineup as all five starters measure 6-foot-2 or taller and four players measuring 6-foot-5 or taller. The Griffins were lucky to have one or two players on the crack the 6-foot mark.
Given the size difference, the Cardinals set up their offense and were able to operate inside and outside of the key.
Veluzat led the Cardinals in scoring, finishing the night with 24 points.
“We just played really hard. Came out glorifying Christ, that’s what we focus on every game,” Veluzat said. “We just take what we do in practice and apply it to our games, that’s going hard every time.”
“When we are unselfish and play the right way, we are unstoppable, I think,” Veluzat said. “We can beat anyone and we can hang with anyone.”
Scoring came quickly and often for the Cardinals as they put up 46 before halftime, but their defense was the key to the game.
Through one quarter of play, SCCS held their opponent to four points and 11 at the half.
Sparking fast-break after fast-break, the Cardinals lengths bothered the Griffins (0-2, 0-1) not allowing them to set up their offense and often forcing up a bad shot with the clock shot running out.
“I thought it was good, we have been really working on it,” said SCCS head coach James Mosley. “Just working on moving on the release of the ball, being in the gaps and just competing. But I think that our initial energy was really good.”
Keeping up the intensity the in the second half, the Cardinals got key contributions from role players like Leroy Thompson, who hit four 3’s on the night and scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and dual-sport athlete Ethan Schwesinger, who sat out the last two seasons due to injury, flirted with a double-double at eight points and seven rebounds.
“I’m just happy to be out there, but the last two years I haven’t been able to play and honestly this is one of the best group of guys I have played with,” Schwesinger said. “The chemistry. Everyone knows each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Kaleb Lowery finished with eight points and 11 rebounds. Caden Starr finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
Dating back to the 2016-17 season, the Cardinals are undefeated in Heritage League play winning 14-straight after last season’s undefeated state championship run.
The Cardinals get a much-needed break from play as they will play Division 1 powerhouse and defending Baseline League champs Etiwanda at Corona Centennial High School on Tuesday, Nov. 27.