Trinity Classical Academy boys basketball has improved on last season’s playoff finish by leaps and bounds as it beat Rancho Alamitos of Garden Grove, 60-41, on Tuesday night at Santa Clarita Christian School to advance to the CIF-Southern Section Division 5A semifinals.
“It’s awesome. I’m so proud of my guys and so happy for my guys,” said Trinity head coach Aaron Southwick.
The Knights (19-6 overall) built up a two-point lead in the first quarter, then exploded in the second to get a comfortable lead for the rest of the game.
Payton Frazier made two free throws with 2:18 left in the first frame to get Trinity a 12-11 lead, then made two more about 30 seconds later to put his team up 14-12.
Rancho’s Bradon Nguyen made a 3-pointer with a minute left in the first quarter to put the Vaqueros (15-13) up 15-14, but Nathan Thomas came in with a jumper to give the Knights the advantage once again.
Frazier led all shooters with 22 points in the game and Thomas followed with 14 points. Kyle Fields chipped in 10 points of his own.
“The good thing about this team is that we all want to share the ball,” Frazier said. “We all want each other to do well. So people should be scared of us. We got shooters, we got drivers, we got people who finish, we got rebounders.”
The Knights went on to gain a 27-21 lead before halftime. Fields made two baskets in a row in the paint to bring the score to 25-15 in Trinity’s favor. Meanwhile, the defense held Rancho to just six points.
The defense stayed strong on the other side of the break, only giving up eight points in the third quarter while the Knights’ offense scored 19 for itself.
“We boxed out, we forced them left,” said Frazier. “We have great defense out there.”
Frazier scored on back-to-back possessions to give a 35-21 advantage to Trinity and cap a six-point run that was started by a Fields basket.
It’s Frazier’s first year back on the team after taking a one-season hiatus.
“We love him. It’s a big deal,” Southwick said. “He’s a competitor and he drives our team that way.”
The Knights were able to put the game away in the fourth quarter by being aggressive in the paint and taking advantage of free throws.
Trinity now turns its attention to Sierra Vista, its opponent for the CIF-SS Division 5A semifinals. Sierra Vista beat Fillmore 70-30 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“Just going to be bringing it hard every time in practice this week,” Frazier said.