By Ryan Menzie
For The Signal
Trinity Classical Academy girls basketball players rolled into Friday night’s CIF Southern Section Division VAA Championship matchup with the poise and confidence a team earns by winning its past three playoff games by an average of 21 points.
For their title game, they managed a little more of the same.
The Knights’ key contributors rose to the occasion when it mattered most, led by sophomore Lily Caddow and junior Kelly Lotz, and Trinity beat Faith Baptist, 41-24, for the school’s first CIF title in its second trip to the finals.
Lotz had a team-high 19 points to go along with big help on the board, and several important defensive plays that the Knights were able to turn into fast-break opportunities.
“I feel great, we put in the work after months and months of practice. We knew it would be our work ethic that would have won us the game,” said Lotz. “It’s a big deal. These girls have just worked hard. We’ve had coaches help us put in extra days and extra hours. It’s huge and I’m blessed to be a part of this school and to be a part of Trinity.”
Caddow supported Lotz with10 points, as well as her ability to find open teammates and control the tempo. Caddow and company played stifling defense in front of a supportive home crowd at The Master’s University, with an effort that left Faith Baptist scoreless in the third quarter, while Lotz scored eight in that period alone to help Trinity pull away.
“I’m overjoyed,” Caddow said afterward. “Our team put in so much work and so much effort. We’ve been practicing for so long and it’s so incredible to see everything come together. I know these are memories I will keep forever. We deserve this win and we should be proud of ourselves.”
The girls’ basketball team became only the second team in school history to reach the CIF championship game and only the fifth girls basketball team from the Santa Clarita Valley to make it to the finals since 1998.
“Playing a team from our league, a lot of what we’re doing is business as usual,” said first-year Trinity head coach James De Monbrun, in discussing his strategy pre-game against a team the Knights had played twice earlier, in addition to the Knights riding a seven-game winning streak into the playoffs. “At this point, there’s not many things that surprise you. You are who you are, it’s all effort and you want to give everything you got in terms of the game plan. It’s all effort.”
The future is also bright for the Knights, who also didn’t have any seniors on the team, but still managed to control the tempo of the game from the opening tip.
“I’m just really proud of how the girls played,” said De Monbrun after the game, before speaking with his team. “It’s humbling. The Lord has blessed me with an incredible group of girls that worked hard and have a great attitude and are extremely selfless. They know I’m very proud of them and I’m going to remind them.”