Trinity girls basketball lost 61-54 to San Bernardino in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA tournament in the quarterfinal round Wednesday night at Castaic High School, ending their 17-game winning streak.
The Knights got off to a hot start and jumped out in front of the Cardinals 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. A slew of back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Trinity Towns, Lily Caddow and Riley Spector in the final two minutes of the quarter capped the performance.
“We were ready to play,” said Trinity head coach Daniel Hebert. “I think that when we started losing our girls to foul trouble, that’s when we lost it. The girls really played hard and fought through it.”
However, the offense lagged for the Knights in the second quarter. They saw multiple scoring droughts of over two minutes, including a four-minute stretch that allowed San Bernardino to close the gap.
The Cardinals outscored the Knights, 15-8, in the second act.
Struggles continued in the third quarter. The Knights tallied only 10 points to the Cardinals’ 13. Still, the Knights managed to hang onto the lead headed into the fourth quarter.
“We got into foul trouble and had to take some of our starters out,” Hebert said. “That made it difficult to keep the lead going.”
A large part of Trinity’s struggles through the 16-minute stretch was an inability to get shots to land. Both in the field and on the free throw line, Trinity seemed to be playing with a ball that was bigger than the hoop.
“I think we were just tired and gassed out from the foul trouble and the girls who weren’t playing,” Hebert said.
The Knights also struggled with foul trouble about halfway through the third quarter. Spector fouled out first and Towns followed shortly after. Caddow was close to fouling out as well but managed to keep her composure.
“I was just trying to remember what coach said; keep my hands up and play good defense,” Caddow said. “If there were girls that weren’t able to finish, I didn’t try to get the ball from them. I just let them miss and tried to get the rebound.”
Caddow took over as the team’s leader from that point on. On almost every play, the freshman found herself involved, taking a big weight on her shoulders having to lead her team for the first time in a playoff game.
“I’ve been playing basketball for a while and I’ve been playing with Coach Hebert for a while and our team has really great leaders and I feel like they’ve all just prepared me really well so when this moment came I felt ready to do it,” Caddow said. “I’m bummed that it couldn’t happen, but we all fought really hard and even though we lost it was a really good memory and encourages me for what’s to come.”
As each quarter came to a close, San Bernardino was slowly stealing the game away from the Knights. Momentum had begun to shift in the second and fully flipped after Trinity lost two of its key players.
The Cardinals finally took the lead with 5:40 left to play and built from there as a worn-out Knights offense continued to struggle to make baskets. Despite the loss, the Knights continued to make the game exciting and refused to quit until the final buzzer.
“This was overall a great season and it was incredible to get this far,” Caddow said. “Back-to-back league champs; that’s really great. I’m really excited for the next few years.”
As with all teams that have found success in the Santa Clarita Valley, playoff elimination does not spell the end. The Knights are only losing two seniors to graduation and sport a young team. Both Hebert and Caddow have hope for Trinity’s future.
“We still have a lot of girls that are going to stay with us,” Caddow said. “Trin and Tori (Fay) are our only two seniors. We have these other girls for the next two, three years. I think it’s going to be really great. We’re probably going to make it to semis and I think we can win a championship.”