Trinity Knights girls’ basketball renewed its rivalry with Santa Clarita Christian for the first time in three years on Saturday at The Master’s University.
The Heritage League rivalry was put on hold during the pandemic when SCCS’ program took a brief hiatus.
The Knights won the game, 54-9, and rested most of their starters after taking a 44-1 lead going into halftime.
Junior Emma Schaaf led Trinity (18-5, 5-0) with 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals in her near-two quarters of work.
The lopsided win was expected by both sides as one team is gearing up for another CIF playoff run while the other is just getting its feet wet again.
Cardinals (2-15, 1-10) coach Larry Sulham was not surprised by the outcome but praised his team’s readiness to take on a basketball giant, in a young rivalry.
“The girls were hyped up and ready to go,” Sulham said. “They knew what they were going up against but they came ready to play. They didn’t come in thinking, ‘All right, we’re gonna get beat.’ They came ready to play this team, even though we knew that they’re out of our league at this point.”
The schools know all about beating one another in every chance they get, but only two Knights had ever played the Cardinals before. Seniors Olivia Leathers and captain Lily Caddow were the only two players on the court who have played in the rivalry before.
Caddow has won All-CIF honors alongside former teammate Kelly Lotz, who now plays at The Master’s. The last time the two programs faced off, Lotz was still a Cardinal before transferring to the Knights.
The program’s absence drew basketball players elsewhere but with SCCS girls basketball back in full swing, Caddow is excited to see the rivalry blossom again.
“I’m excited to come back next year and watch the game if I can,” Caddow said. “Just because I’m sure that both teams will have grown and it’ll be a good game. It’s hard to start a program but they’re doing a really good job at it. They’re good teammates, and they’re good people to play against.”
Caddow, a Wheaton College commit, finished the game with 10 points and two steals.
Saturday’s win marked 10 in a row for the Knights. Trinity was awarded the Heritage League crown in the off-season because of anticipated final scores like this, forcing the team to rely heavily on non-league games to build a postseason arsenal.
For Knights head coach James De Monbrun, staying healthy and daily improvement will be vital to another CIF run.
“For us health is key,” said De Monbrun. “We lost Lily for about half of our games this year, and she’s a big reason why we’ve been successful. So, for us staying healthy is important. We’ve got a couple games here late, specifically Calvary Chapel, to really sharpen us up. So that’s, that’s a big one for us next Friday, but we’re going to take one game at a time.”
Caddow missed some time with an injury but her absence on the floor in those games and in the team’s lopsided wins has left more playing time for other Knights.
“Individually, girls are getting so much more confident because they’re getting to play more,” Caddow said. “It’s super great to go into playoffs with girls who have touched the floor a lot.”
The Knights will return home Tuesday for a league matchup with Desert Christian at 5 p.m.
SCCS will also be home on Tuesday, when the team hosts Faith Baptist at 5 p.m.
The Cardinals will continue laying the foundation for the future in a few more games this week and in the offseason. Sulham will have his team involved in summer ball and on the court any way possible to build back up the once-great program. Don’t expect SCCS down for long as the head coach expects a strong incoming class of players on top of what else is yet to come for the Cardinals’ girls’ basketball program.
“They’re a good group of players playing at our top level right now but we’re going to get there,” Sulham said. “We’ve got girls coming up that are working hard and we will change this program.”