GOLDENDALE - The confines of Goldendale High School once again proved to be a friendly place to the Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team. But no one could have imagined that last night Goldendale High School would have opened its arms like it did to the Knights.
Many were probably expecting a fierce contest in last night's loser-out opening round District tournament game between Sunnyside Christian, the northern division's No. 3 seed, and Lyle, the southern division's No. 2 seed. But last night's game more resembled the St. Valentine's Day massacre as the Knights trampled the Cougars 70-29.
With the win last night, the Knights qualified for next week's Regional tournament, as they hope to grab one of four berths to State. But Sunnyside Christian can make its own road to State a lot easier by winning the District title this weekend at Sunnyside High School. The Knights will play Riverside Christian at 4:45 p.m. Friday afternoon. The winner of that game will play the winner of the Mabton vs. Trout Lake contest scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Friday night, for the District title on Saturday in the late game and an automatic berth to State. The loser of both games on Friday will play on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. for the third and fourth seeds into the Regional tournament next weekend in Ellensburg.
Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar said he was expecting a much more hotly contested game last night, as the Cougars always seem to gear up to play the Knights.
The key for Sunnyside Christian last night was the first quarter. The Knights implemented a half-court trap that Lyle couldn't handle.
"They had no answer for that," said Wagenaar. "It (the half-court trap) just changed the flow of the game."
The Cougars committed eight of their 20 turnovers in the first quarter, as Sunnyside Christian broke open the game with a 22-8 run in the period. Chad Den Boer and Andrew Schutt helped set the pace for the Knights with 9 and 8 points, respectively, in the opening frame.
Wagenaar took off the smothering half-court trap set in the second quarter, yet the Knights still won the period 13-6 to take a 35-14 lead at the break.
Schutt had another sensational game for the Knights, his third consecutive in a week's span. Schutt exploded in the third period, hitting four straight 3-pointers to help the Knights to a 21-7 showing in the frame. Schutt had a game-high 25 points.
At one point in the third quarter, the Knights were ahead 53-16.
Wagenaar felt a key for his team last night was the Knights were able to slow down Lyle's two big guns, Kalvin Kernan and Justin Carlson. The first time the two teams played at Lyle this season, Kernan scored 20 and Carlson had 18. Last night, Kernan had 10 and Carlson finished with 7 points. Wagenaar credits Sunnyside Christian's Derek DeVries with slowing down Kernan.
"Derek did a good job inside on him," said Wagenaar. "He frustrated him."
Sunnyside Christian had a solid, all-around game, shooting 30-for-53 from the field. The Knights hit 9-of-13 shots in the first quarter. Sunnyside Christian also outrebounded Lyle 31-22.
"I thought we would play well," said Wagenaar. "We executed and played with more energy than they did."
The win last night was the ninth consecutive victory for Sunnyside Christian.
Wagenaar said the Knights are going to have to come with a lot of athleticism and energy this Friday afternoon to get past Riverside Christian, the No. 2 ranked 'B' team in the State.
"We want to play well," said Wagenaar. "We will have to execute. We are a much different team than we were when played them earlier in the season."
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at email@example.com
1 2 3 4 T
SCHS 22 13 21 14 70
Lyle 8 6 7 8 29
Scoring: SCHS-Andrew Schutt 25, Chad Den Boer 13, Lucas Kilian 6, Jordan Haak 5, Derek DeVries 5, Matt Haak 4, Josh Buescher 4, Ryan Tade 4, Derek Van de Graaf 2, Keith Bos 2.
Lyle-Kalvin Kernan 10, Justin Carlson 7.
Rebounds: Derek DeVries 7, Josh Buescher 6.
Assists: Andrew Schutt 6, Chad Den Boer 4, Jordan Haak 3.
Steals: Andrew Schutt 3, Chad Den Boer 2, Jordan Haak 2.