By Justin Powell | For The Signal
The Trinity Classical Academy Knights (13-4) picked up right where they left off Tuesday, smothering Verdugo Hills, 52-40, in the opening round of the CIF Southern California Girls Basketball Division 5A playoffs. he second-seeded Knights, fresh off Friday’s Southern Section championship win, got off to a hot start, with an 11-2 run, with junior guard Kelly Lotz routinely getting to the rim, which opened up things for the rest of the offense, too.
By the end of the first quarter, Trinity led 20-10, with both teams struggling in the second quarter, and turnovers helped Verdugo Hills get back in the game.
The Dons opened the second half with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 26-22.
Lotz, who scored a game-high 23 points, almost 90% of which came at or near the rim, credited the team’s preparation and defensive efforts with helping to create opportunities for the Knights.
“I was definitely able to get to the rim tonight, but that’s not just about tonight,” said Lotz after the game. “That’s after weeks of practicing that with our team. We knew this was going to be a hard game, and so we came prepared.”
The 6-point spread is as close as Verdugo Hills would get, though, as the Knights turned up the pressure and rebuilt their lead to 44-29 midway through the third quarter.
“We went full-court man, got up and got steals,” Lotz added. “That’s what our team excels in and that’s how we convert (turnovers) for points.”
Lotz got into a bit of foul trouble in the fourth quarter, but sophomore Lily Caddow’s 14 points, as well as a big 3-pointer in the fourth and a pair of late free throws, helped take some of the pressure off, too.
Junior Katie Brown’s 12 points, six in the final period, helped seal the win for the Knights.
Trinity now moves on to the next round for a matchup with the Classical Academy Caimans of Escondido at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Master’s University.