Trinity Knights girls’ basketball had its playoff run cut short on Wednesday night after a CIF Division 3A road game at Campbell Hall.
The Knights played tight defense and held the Campbell Hall Vikings to their third-lowest scoring output of the season. However, Trinity just had one of those nights from the floor and fell just short, as the Vikings won 40-32.
Knights head coach James De Monbrun was proud of his team’s defensive efforts but knows nights like this happen.
“We held them to 40 points,” De Monbrun said in a phone interview. “When you hold a high school team to 40 points, you should win those games, but we just couldn’t hit a shot. Teams have those off shooting nights. It was just unfortunate that ours happened in a playoff game.”
Trinity (23-7) started the game sharp defensively. Neither team scored in the opening four minutes but the Knights were able to get Campbell Hall center Alline Ballard in early foul trouble.
The Knights went into halftime down nine but cut the lead to six in the third quarter. Trinity’s shooting struggles carried over to the charity stripe, where the Knights missed four straight free throws that could’ve forced a one-score game.
Trinity finished the game 6-of-16 from the free throw line and 2-of-20 from behind the arc.
Campbell Hall (15-11) never worked a comfortable lead but was able to hold off Trinity to win the game and earn its seat in the CIF semifinals.
The Vikings will head to Chino on Saturday for a shot at a spot in the championship game.
The loss snapped Trinity’s two-year streak of making it to the CIF semifinals, as well as the state tournament. The team will now graduate six seniors, including the all-CIF point guard Lily Caddow. Senior Malia Duarte was a game-changer on defense while De Monbrun referred to senior Ella Stepan as his Swiss army knife. Stepan could be plugged in anywhere and give her a team a boost.
“(A record of) 23-7, it was an outstanding year,” De Monbrun said. “We missed Lily for a third of the season. The uniqueness of our schedule was challenging. The girls navigated it all with the only things I’ve asked of them: great effort and great attitude.”
De Monbrun’s squad was hurt after the defeat but the head coach was proud of the team’s impressive season on the court, as well as how the players conducted themselves off the court.
“Ultimately, when kids are upset after a playoff loss, it’s the friendships, families, parties, all that coming to an end is heavier to them than winning or losing a basketball game,” De Monbrun said. “Losing sucks, we’re not going to deny it. In that moment, it’s not about the game. They’ve been outstanding at representing our school, as Christian kids, they’ve been an example. We have a handful of elementary and middle schools come to our games because of the examples our girls set. Being an example and pouring back into the next group, those are way bigger moments than how many points and rebounds you can score. Win or lose, I’m always proud of who they are.”