The Trinity girls basketball team got off to a rocky start this season, losing seven of its first eight games.
The second half of the season was a completely different story, as the Knights won 10 of its last 11 games and entered Thursday night’s contest against Santa Clarita Christian School with a 9-0 Heritage League record.
Trinity preserved its perfect league season, defeating SCCS 51-36 at The Master’s University in a difficult game that was a lot closer than the final score showed.
“We locked up league a week ago, but this was so special not just because we’re undefeated but the way they fought and played,” Trinity head coach Daniel Hebert said. “They fought through a lot of adversity, that’s hard on 16, 17-year-old girls. It was really special to see how they did it, more than them doing it.”
The Knights started the game hot, building an 8-0 advantage early, but the Cardinals fought their way back to make the score 14-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Trinity used a smothering full-court press that forced SCCS into several turnovers, and the Knights were able to take advantage as they built their lead.
The Cardinals kept fighting back however, as freshman Kelly Lotz served as SCCS’s main enforcer on the glass and in the scoring column, making tough shot after tough shot to keep the Cardinals close.
Lotz logged nine points at halftime and finished the game with 19, scoring 10 of the Cardinals’ 17 second-half points.
In the first four minutes of the third quarter, Lotz was the only player for either team to make a field goal (3), giving SCCS a 25-22 advantage.
However junior Trinity Towns made back-to-back buckets and a free throw to regain the lead for the Knights at 27-25, and they would not trail again for the rest of the night.
Towns finished with 14 points, three rebounds and four steals.
Trinity senior Heidi Schafer hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, then hit another with less than two minutes left in the game to push the score to 41-33. She finished with nine points.
Senior Hannah Caddow came up with some big blocks and made a few clutch baskets to solidify the win.
Caddow finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“I’m so grateful, we’ve been waiting for this for three years,” Caddow said. “Coach has prepared us so well, I’m just so grateful that we had this opportunity this year to really show people what we’ve been working on and what we’re made of.”
Sophomore guard Riley Spector finished with eight points and senior Ellie Howell added three points and eight rebounds, anchoring Trinity’s defense in the paint.
With the first-place finish, Trinity will likely host a home game next week when the CIF-Southern Section playoff schedule is announced.
SCCS concludes the season with a 12-11 record overall and 6-4 league record, finishing in third place in the Heritage League. The third-place finish secures a playoff spot for the Cardinals.
The Knights are going to take the weekend to celebrate the undefeated league season, but then will get back to work on Monday, knowing the most important part of the season is still in front of them.
“We’re going to celebrate tomorrow, celebrate Saturday with our families and Monday we’re going to get back to work because we think we can make some noise in the playoffs,” Hebert said.
“I think I’ll be enjoying this a long time, almost forever,” Caddow said. “But we are going to get back in the gym and start working for the playoffs.”