Going into Tuesday night's game against 1A Granger, Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball Coach Dean Wagenaar knew it was going to be a test for his Knights. Was he ever right!
The Spartans brought a physical game to Sunnyside last night in a 58-48 loss to the Knights.
"We found a way to pull it out," said Wagenaar. "Dickens writes "A Tale of Two Cities." Last night, it was a tale of two halves."
Trailing 25-19 at the end of the first half, Wagenaar gave his team a halftime speech that obviously had some impact on his players.
Wagenaar said his team was outplayed physically by the Spartans in the first half in what was a lackluster efforts of sorts by the Knights.
"They were physical and strong," said Wagenaar. "In the first half, they just out muscled us. They put a body on everything we did."
Wagenaar said at halftime he told his team that the game is not about Xs and Os, but rather the hearts of the players.
"We came out in the third quarter and played with some heart," said Wagenaar.
The Knights obliterated Granger in the third quarter, outscoring the Spartans 23-6. Chad Den Boer, who had a game-high 22 points, scored 10 points in the third quarter. Andrew Schutt had some key plays, including an offensive putback and a 3-pointer as he went on to score 7 points in the period to help pace the Knights.
The Knights built a 44-31 lead and the Spartans were only able to pull within seven points in the final quarter.
Wagenaar said Granger was very patient against the zone defense the Knights ran.
The Knights coach had praise for the play of Granger's Edward Castro and Riley Walker, who had 16 points.
"We didn't do a good job of containing him," said Wagenaar of Walker.
Last night's win was big for the Knights, said Wagenaar, whose team improved to 4-0 entering Friday night's league opener at Riverside Christian.
"I am excited about the fact we had a close, tough, physical game," said Wagenaar.
Wagenaar is looking forward to Friday night's game against Riverside Christian, which spent much of last season as the top ranked 'B' boys team in the state.
"They are still a very good team," said Wagenaar. "Our kids will play hard."
The Knights will host Lyle on Saturday.
1 2 3 4 T
Granger 10 15 6 17 48
SCHS 11 8 23 16 58
Scoring: SCHS-Chad Den Boer 22, Andrew Schutt 17, Jordan Haak 13, Matt Haak 2, Sean Tudor 2, Derek Van de Graaf 2.
Granger-Riley Walker 16.
Rebounds: Andrew Schutt 9, Jordan Haak 7, Matt Haak 4.
Assists: Andrew Schutt 4, Jordan Haak 4.