St. Monica hoops takes down undefeated Trinity 

Trinity guard Noah Phillips (21) carries the ball against Saint Monica on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Numerous turnovers and missed 3-point shots led to Trinity Classical Knights boys’ basketball take its first loss of the season. 

The Knights snuck back into the game late but the team fell just short, 66-63, to the visiting St. Monica Crusaders on Thursday. 

Trinity (5-1, 1-1) led in the first quarter, led by sharpshooters Lucas Spring and Noah Phillips.  

Trinity shooting guard Lucas Spring (24) goes up for a shot against Saint Monica senior Killian Faizer (25) on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“They played zone and we feel like typically that’s a great thing for us to shoot them out of the zone and get them back into man defense,” said Knights coach Daniel Hebert. “When they went back to man in the fourth quarter we got to score for a little while and had some drives to the basket.” 

The two each had solid days on both sides of the court, with Phillips pouring in a game-high 27 points along with two steals and a block. Spring added 17 points, six rebounds, three blocks and a trio of steals. 

Trinity guard Noah Phillips (21) dribbles the ball during the third quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

However, St. Monica (8-3, 2-2) capitalized on several turnovers in its 3-2 zone and scored a plethora of points in transition.  

The Crusaders led for the majority of the game as the Knights weren’t able to retake the lead until midway through the fourth quarter. St. Monica again responded and went on a 6-0 run, which would be just enough to give Trinity its first loss this season.  

Trinity forward Mathew TeWinkle (14) holds onto the ball against Saint Monica junior Dan Yumbar (10) during the third quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Spring hit a huge transition 3-pointer with less than a minute left, and with just 22 clicks left, Phillips hit a tough lay-in to cut the deficit to three points.  

Forced to foul, Trinity sent St. Monica’s leading scorer of the game, Gabe Miriles, to the free throw line. Miriles had made shots all night, most of them coming off of the fastbreak, leading to his 23 points and three steals. 

However, the junior guard missed both shots from the foul line, setting up one final chance for the Knights, down three points. 

Trinity guard Noah McWilliams (3) jumps up to shoot against Saint Monica senior Killian Faizer (25) during the third quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

After several timeouts from both teams, Trinity finally ran a play but one more turnover cost the team a shot at overtime.  

Crusaders guard Michael Short also gave the Knights fits all over the court. Short finished with 11 points, eight boards, five steals and three assists. 

Senior Killian Faizer also added 18 points and 14 rebounds for St. Monica. 

The Knights fell behind by as much as 11 points but kept fighting through each quarter. Trinity’s offense was a little stagnant, with little motion away from the ball, a first this season for the previously unbeaten Knights. 

“We’re playing together really well,” Hebert said. “Guys are just passing it for the next shot and we saw some of that tonight. The team is playing together and all egos are aside. We’re just focused on getting the job done and hopefully, we get better from tonight.” 

Conrad Alderson also had a solid game as he finished with 14 points and four rebounds for Trinity.  

Trinity forward Conrad Alderson (23) dribbles the ball against Saint Monica defense during the third quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

The Knights are playing well but should grow even stronger after Christmas, when the transfer sit-out period ends. Former Santa Clarita Christian point guard Cy Mitchell will join the ranks and add more strong guard play to the Knights. Mitchell will join Phillips and Spring as another sharpshooter with the green light to go score. 

Trinity will have a few more Heritage League matchups before becoming full strength. The Knights will hit the road on Tuesday as they take on the Vasquez Mustangs at 6 p.m. The Crusaders also return to league action on Tuesday as they head to Desert Christian at 5:30 p.m.  

“I want to see us take better care of the ball in the meantime,” Hebert said. “We talk about it every day and I think we can get significantly better at that regardless of when (Mitchell) comes back. We’re going to need all of us to do a better job taking care of the ball.” 

Trinity guard Noah Phillips (21) goes up for a layup against Saint Monica on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Trinity forward Mathew TeWinkle (14) goes up for a rebound against Saint Monica junior Dan Yumbar (10) during the third quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Trinity guard Noah McWilliams (3) dribbles the ball during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Trinity forward Conrad Alderson (23) goes up to shoot against Saint Monica’s John Faizer (1) during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game at Church of the Nazarene. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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