By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Saugus Centurions are looking to win their third Foothill League championship in a row while the Trinity Classical Academy Knights are coming off a state championship and wanting to face bigger teams. In the matchup of some powerhouse teams from the Santa Clarita Valley, the Centurions prevailed.
The Centurions (11-7, 3-1) beat the Knights (7-6, 2-0), 46-35, on Monday. The Centurions are one step closer to obtaining their goal while the Knights continue to gain valuable experience.
“I saw a lot of composure finally from our team,” said Centurions’ head coach Jason Conn. “We got behind but we didn’t hang our heads. We wanted to work the inside out game coming out of halftime, which we did really well. They did a great job.”
The Centurions opened the flood gates with a quick 9-0 run to start the game. The suffocating defense forcing turnovers and gave the Knights no time to score in what looked like the start of a massive blowout.
Centurions’ point guard Victoria Phan accounted for five of the team’s eight first-half steals. Despite the turnovers and inability to get into rhythm, the Knights fought back. The Knights would close out the half with a quick 7-0 run of their own to finish the half down 19-16.
The Knights would take a quick 22-21 lead in the third quarter, which was powered by back-to-back 3-pointers by shooting guard Lily Caddow, who would lead the Knights with 20 points. It would be the last time the Knights would take the lead for the rest of the game.
The Centurions started hitting their shots, powered behind shooting guard Kristen Kai, who finished the game with 20 points with four 3-point baskets.
Centurions’ forward Destiny Onovo would finish the game with eight points, center Ruth Kempler scored all six of her points in the second half and Brielle Holst would pick up more minutes due to players being out with injury and finish with five points.
Despite all the scoring for the Centurions, Phan would lead the way on both sides of the ball, finishing with seven points, six assists and nine steals.
“We’re missing a lot of our starters today, but our bench picked it up and we really played hard,” said Phan. “It was about being aggressive with my first game coming back from injury and that’s what we did. We need to continue holding ourselves accountable.”
The Centurions’ next match is scheduled to be played against Canyon on Jan. 11 while the Knights look to bounce back against Desert Christian on Tuesday.
“Saugus is very good. Their zone causes a lot of problems,” said Knights head coach James De Monbrun. “You have to come ready to play from the start. We got to be ready to play when the clock starts. If we put ourselves in a hole against a good team like Saugus, they won’t let you come back. Basketball is a game of making more shots and they made more than we did.”