Trinity girls hold off Torrance comeback in CIF second round

Emma Schaaf (32) of Trinity Classical Academy shoots against Sabrina Banke (35) of SCCS at The Master's university on Saturday, 012823. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Knights advance to quarterfinals with 50-44 win over Tartars 

Trinity Classical Academy girls’ basketball needed a late run to take down the Torrance Tartars on the road, 50-44, on Saturday in the CIF Southern Section Division 3A second round. 

Trinity (23-6) was leading for most of the game before the Tartars (20-10) took a 38-37 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Knights then went on a 7-0 run to retake the lead and seal the victory. 

“For us, the key always is defense, because when you play defense and you can leap out and you can run, the game is more simple,” Trinity head coach James De Monbrun said in a phone interview. “So, late in the game, we defended and got stops, and then we ended up with a couple of buckets in transition.” 

Trinity will now get ready to travel to Studio City on Wednesday to take on Campbell Hall at 7 p.m. 

Trinity junior Emma Schaaf put up a double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds while senior Lily Caddow had an all-around effort with 11 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Senior Malia Duarte grabbed nine boards despite only averaging a couple per game during the regular season, De Monbrun said. 

The Tartars took a 4-0 lead early, but then the Knights were able to take a 14-6 lead after the first quarter and then 24-16 at halftime. Torrance kept fighting back throughout the second half and ultimately retook the lead at 38-37. Trinity junior Iris Weber hit a transition bucket to put the Knights back in front, followed by a Duarte rebound and free throw and back-to-back transition layups for Schaaf and Weber. 

“From there on out, it was just, ‘Get stops, take care of the ball, knock down late-game free throws,’” De Monbrun said. 

De Monbrun credited his team for being able to handle a loud environment at the Torrance gym. 

“Playing in a packed gym that was noisy is not something our kids get a lot,” De Monbrun said. “Our league doesn’t have, you know, giant student bodies and big student sections and crosstown rivalries — we don’t have all that. So, playing in a loud gym on the road is new for a lot of these kids. But they handled it well. They got kind of woken up early by Torrance’s speed, and then they responded. And once they settled in, they were reminded, it’s just basketball.” 

Campbell Hall (14-11) has scored 155 points in its two playoff games, though the Vikings have also given up 124 points. De Monbrun is hoping that his team can keep the scoring to a minimum, letting defense win rather than a shootout. 

“They just knocked off the No. 2 team in our bracket,” De Monbrun said. “They can score the ball. They will pressure. They’re looking to create turnovers and get out in transition. So, taking care of the ball is again going to be one of the big things that we’ve got to take care of.” 

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