Two Santa Clarita Valley private schools went the distance in the CIF-Southern Section basketball playoffs this season. Both Santa Clarita Christian School and Trinity Classical Academy each reached the CIF-SS championship game in their respective divisions, making for one of the most successful basketball postseasons in recent SCV history.
Santa Clarita Christian School
The Cardinals were victorious in the CIF-SS Division 2AA game, beating St. Francis, 61-39, at Azusa Pacific University on Feb. 29.
Reaching a CIF-SS title game is no easy task, and it’s something that SCCS coach James Mosley knows who to credit for both schools’ accomplishments.
“I think it’s a testament to the administration,” he said. “You have two private schools that really love athletics and the administration invests a lot and it takes a lot for a private school to put the right product on the court in terms of athletics.”
SCCS saw high-scoring performances from Josh O’Garro, who had 17 points against St. Francis, and Kaleb Lowery, who scored 13 points in the same game.
“Honestly, it’s not all me,” Lowery said after the CIF-SS championship. “It’s on all my teammates. The way they shared the ball and being unselfish allowed me to score. Every game, different players show up. Obviously, today it was me through the help of these guys.”
The Cardinals entered the playoffs as the top overall seed in Division 2AA after winning their final six games of the season to earn a 19-5 record. SCCS took down Maranatha by 16 points, La Habra by 21 and Fairmont Prep by 16 to start playoffs.
After that, SCCS faced a tough Chaminade team in the semifinals but won by eight points and moved on to the title game against St. Francis.
Trinity Classical Academy
The Knights reached the Division 5A championship, but fell, 48-43, to Banning at Godinez High School on Feb. 29.
Throughout the season, Trinity was led by players like Kyle Fields, who scored 21 points in the championship loss to Banning. In that game, he used his 3-point shooting abilities to score 12 of his team’s 18 points in the second half.
Before the title game, the Knights advanced into the postseason 20-7 overall and in second place in the Heritage League with a 9-3 record.
Trinity cruised into the postseason and picked up double-digit wins in the first three rounds. In Division 5A, Trinity defeated Garden Street Academy by 58, Lake Arrowhead Christian by 39 and Rancho Alamitos by 19.
In the semifinals, the Knights were put to the test by Sierra Vista, but escaped with a 6-point victory before advancing to the title game.
Although the Cardinals and the Knights compete in different divisions, the desire to fulfill postseason goals was the same for both, as was their sense of team, win or lose.
“This team has stayed together and played together,” said Trinity coach Aaron Southwick after his team’s loss to Banning. “I don’t doubt that we’re going to stay together. We’ve done it all year. Whether we’ve won or lost, we stayed together as a team.”