Cardinals’ defense dominates in win over de Toledo

Santa Clarita Christian's Kelly Lotz looks to make a pass in a matchup with de Toledo High School at SCCS Monday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Santa Clarita Christian School’s Kelly Lotz was sporting a slight black eye heading into the game against de Toledo on Monday at SCCS.

“Second one of the season,” the freshman said with a smile.

“I love being aggressive,” Lotz continued. “I always like just want to play my defense and yeah, it happens a lot but it’s okay.”

The Cardinals’ defense was a bruising one against the Jaguars, paving the way for a 60-8 win.

Aaronya Crosswhite won the opening tip-off, which led to a Cardinals layup. Crosswhite then reached up for a steal and handed it off to Lotz, who took it into the paint for a layup that pulled SCCS ahead 4-0.

Crosswhite finished the game with 14 points and Lotz added 10.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Emily Bernards drives to the hoop in a matchup with de Toledo High School at SCCS Monday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“It’s just great to have someone who can come up and help feed the ball to each other,” Crosswhite said. “It’s really great to have another teammate who understands, who knows the game really well so we can help each other out on the court.”

De Toledo was able to get on the board with four minutes left in the first quarter on a layup and was able to score three more points in the second quarter on a layup and a free throw.

SCCS was able to extend its lead to 40-5 by halftime and was able to use their advantage to experiment with different lineups on defense in preparation for the upcoming Heritage League season.

“(We’re) trying to rotate our sets, keep them off balance, a little bit of pressure,” said coach Dennis Schwesinger, “and still work on the defense we’ve been installing the last couple weeks and some extra reps on that. Mixing it up for what we’re going to see in league.”

While the Cards’ defense was clogging up lanes against the Jaguars, the offense was creating new scoring avenues in the paint with major contributions from post players like Ella Banke, who ended the night with eight points. When she wasn’t scoring, she was boxing out de Toledo players with ease.

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“Tonight I really feel like we kind of just got our heads in the game and we were able to communicate with our paint players and we were able to get it in there, execute on plays to get it to them,” Lotz said. “It’s just really encouraging to know that we’ll have that when we look over to them, we’ll be able to have a really good pass to them.”

SCCS held the Jaguars scoreless in the third quarter and only allowed a 3-pointer in the final frame.

The Cardinals set their (sometimes bruised) sights on Trinity Classical Academy for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off tomorrow night. SCCS has plenty of experience headed into the matchup with nine preleague games under its belt.

“If we win or we lose, I just hope that we play as a team,” said Lotz. “I think since we did that today, that will be executed tomorrow … I hope we can come to play tomorrow and be even better.”

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