By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Trinity Classical Academy girls basketball (20-10,10-0) defeated Maranatha Christian (18-11, 11-1) in the opening round of the State Division 4 playoffs.
The Knights were led by junior Ella Stepan who broke out with 21 points.
The game was back and forth early. Down 26-19, Trinity head coach James De Monbrun called a timeout. The Knights came back out hot and went on a 10-0 run to storm back into the game.
The game was still tight with Trinity having the edge 35-34 at halftime.
Maranatha sophomore Emmy Staff was a big problem down low for the Knights. Staff poured in 22 points, marking right above her average. Holly Hendrix also gave the Eagles 19 points.
However, Stepan seized the moment for Trinity, taking the load off workhorse Kelly Lotz and sharp shooter Lilly Caddow, who were two of four Knights with double figures for the third consecutive game.
The second half was anything but a runaway but Trinity managed to keep Maranatha out of striking distance thanks to two big second-half three pointers from Knights’ center Katie Brown.
“I’m proud of our kids. They just continue to come out and play hard,” said De Monbrun. ”The team that comes out and plays hard usually wins and we pride ourselves on being that team.”
Trinity lost out on a chance to win the Division 3A Southern Section just a week ago but can still have a shot to repeat as state champs, moving up in the Division 4 bracket.
The Knights will now host San Bernardino (23-11, 8-1) Thursday at the Newhall Church of Nazarene. Trinity will need help from a bulk of scorers again in order to beat the visiting Cardinals, who have five players averaging more than 8.6 points a game.
The Cardinals and Knights tip off at 6 p.m.