Trinity girls keep hoops rivalry one-sided, beat SCCS 

Emma Schaaf (32) of Trinity Classical Academy shoots against Santa Clarita Christian School at The Master's University on Saturday, 011324. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals girls’ basketball has made tremendous jumps as a team and program in year two after a hiatus. However, beating its crosstown rivalry Trinity Knights will have to wait another season. 

Trinity’s defense and interior scoring were key as ever in the 64-25 win over SCCS. 

The Knights (17-3, 2-0) were led by Emma Schaaf, who put up yet another big double-double this season. Schaaf scorched the Cardinals (3-6, 1-5) with 22 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and a pair of blocks. 

Trinity’s subs were all checked in throughout the second half and closed the game out in the fourth quarter.  

SCCS kept its fire throughout all four quarters and won the last period, 11-6.  

Cardinals coach Larry Sulham knew his team was a longshot to win the game so he sought out to work on certain aspects against their Division 2A opponent.  

Iris Weber (24) of Trinity Classical Academy and Sabrina Banke (35) of Santa Clarita Christian School fight for a rebound in the first half at The Master’s University on Saturday, 011324. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We don’t get this type of competition in practice,” Sulham said. “So we said, ‘Let’s use this to get ourselves better for the second half of the season.’ We still have nine games left. I think it was a good game for us to work on the things we needed to work on to get ready for the last nine games. And I think the girls picked it up. I think their confidence grew a little bit more today. They were very happy after the game in terms of how they did and worked on things. They never gave up and they worked hard on defense.” 

Rebounding was a huge area of improvement for the Cardinals. While Schaaf and rebounding machine Iris Weber still finished with double-digit rebounding totals, Sulham was proud of his team’s boxing out and attacking loose balls off the glass. 

“The rebounding was one of the highlights for me because we have not been doing a great job on defensive rebounds,” Sulham said. “We’ve been allowing a lot of the other teams to get offensive rebounds and score off that. I thought we improved tremendously against a strong rebounding team with some tall players. I thought they boxed out much better tonight. They fought for the ball under the basket.” 

Sabrina Banke led the Cards with eight points, seven boards and two assists in the loss. Freshman Emily Hackett added 10 points and two steals while sophomore Maya Denison tallied six rebounds and an assist. 

Santa Clarita Christian School’s Kaela Patterson (20) pulls down a rebound against Trinity Classical Academy defenders at The Master’s University on Saturday, 011324. Dan Watson/The Signal

Trinity was crowned the Heritage League champs in the off-season after the league forfeited for the second straight season. With 17 wins this season, The Knights have shown no signs of getting used to being handed anything. Knights coach James De Monbrun puts together a meticulous scouting report together for every game but this season he’s had a little less correcting to do. 

“We play so many games that it leaves you very few days to practice,” De Monbrun said. “And there’s games that we play where you say, ‘We need to practice. We just need to go back and correct some things and add some things.’ But they’re 17-3. It’s hard to be picky.” 

There is nothing but respect between SCCS and Trinity, De Monbrun said. 

“Coach Larry’s great. He does a great job with them,” De Monbrun said. “They’ve definitely improved in the short amount of time that he’s been back working with them. I’ve seen what he does at the lower levels with the junior high and elementary school kids.”

Gianna Duarte (2) of Trinity Classical Academy shoots against Santa Clarita Christian School defenders at The Master’s University on Saturday, 011324. Dan Watson/The Signal

Sulham is excited for the near and distant future after working with SCCS kids at every level. 

“I’m very excited,” Sulham said on his program’s future. “Our elementary and junior high teams are winning their leagues and playing well. My fifth and sixth grade teams went undefeated again this year, my fourth graders, they actually won their championships and went undefeated.” 

Sulham is putting in the work to make girls’ basketball better than ever at SCCS after a short hiatus due to COVID-19. The Heritage League belongs to Trinity for now but the program may soon have some stiff competition right in its own backyard. 

Both teams return to Heritage League action on Tuesday. SCCS welcomes Palmdale Aerospace at 4:30 p.m. while Trinity hosts Lancaster Baptist at 5:30 p.m. 

Maria Cherry (23) of Trinity Classical Academy drives past Santa Clarita Christian School defender Hailey Parkes (4) at The Master’s University on Saturday, 011324. Dan Watson/The Signal

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