Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball Coach Dean Wagenaar is taking into this coming weekend the attitude that things that are meant to happen will.
Case in point was this past weekend's Greater Columbia 'B' League tournament at Sunnyside High School.
The Knights entered the second round of Districts on a nine-game win streak. Sunnyside Christian also entered this past Friday's match-up with Riverside Christian minus one of its best players, Derek DeVries. The absence of DeVries, who has been playing extremely well lately, was noticeable.
DeVries injured his ankle last Wednesday right at the end of practice.
Without the dominating defensive and inside presence of DeVries, the Crusaders pulled out a close game 56-52. Riverside Christian went on to beat Mabton for the District title and an automatic berth to State.
The Knights rebounded to put on a display Saturday afternoon at the expense of Trout Lake, which had lost to Mabton Friday night. Sunnyside Christian won the consolation game 69-22 to grab the third seed into this coming weekend's Regional tournament games.
The Knights, though, must now travel a similar road that they did last year to make it to the State tournament. Sunnyside Christian must win two loser-out games at Ellensburg High School to make it to the State 'B' tournament. The Knights' road to State begins Friday night at 8:15 p.m. against Bridgeport. The winner of that game faces Manson Saturday at 4:15 p.m. for the last berth out of Regionals to State. The good news for Knights fans is DeVries is expected to be back in the line-up Friday night, said Wagenaar.
Sunnyside Christian had its shots Friday night against Riverside Christian right until the end. The game ended when the Knights missed a 3-point shot to tie the game with about six seconds left. With about a half-second left on the clock, the Knights ended up fouling Riverside Christian, which made 1-of-2 free throws to account for the 56-52 final score.
"I was proud of them after the game," said Wagenaar of his troops. "The kids played hard. All the kids who played, played well."
Friday's game boiled down to missed shots for the Knights. Wagenaar said in the first half, which saw Sunnyside Christian trailing 32-25, the Knights missed some buckets while the Crusaders converted on the other end.
"We had some good shots in the first half," said Wagenaar. "We just didn't make them."
The second half proved to be much of the same story. Wagenaar said there was one stretch during the game where Sunnyside Christian had five opportunities, which included several second chance opportunities, and the buckets just didn't fall.
"That would have been enough to put us over the hump," said Wagenaar.
The Knights also had some bizarre turnovers in the game, said Wagenaar. Of the eight turnovers by the Knights, six of them were unforced.
Wagenaar also credits Riverside Christian's Josh Horsley with some big plays. Horsley had a key 3-pointer from deep in the corner in the fourth quarter that helped keep the Knights at bay. Horsley scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter.
The loss dropped the Knights into the consolation game for third and fourth place into Regionals. Sunnyside Christian put on a dazzling display as the Knights dispatched Trout Lake 69-22.
The Knights clamped down on All-league selections Mike Hansen, who went scoreless, and Roy Browning, who had 4 points.
"We didn't want to let them get started," said Wagenaar of Trout Lake. "Our starting five put on a clinic."
The Knights were amazing in the first quarter, outscoring Trout Lake 22-3. Sunnyside Christian shot 10-for-12 from the field.
"With our match-up zone we just didn't give them anything," said Wagenaar. "We dictated their shot selection. We took away their quickness. We took away their lay-ups."
Wagenaar said his team is going into the Regional tournament positive about what they have done so far.
"We will just go in and see what happens," said Wagenaar. "We will be ready to play."
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 2 3 4 T
SCHS 11 14 10 17 52
Riverside 14 18 7 17 56
Scoring: SCHS-Jordan Haak 15, Chad Den Boer 15, Andrew Schutt 11, Matt Haak 5, Keith Bos 4, Lucas Kilian 2.
Riverside-Josh Horsley 23.
1 2 3 4 T
SCHS 22 14 20 13 69
Trout Lake 3 8 6 5 22
Scoring: SCHS-Andrew Schutt 14, Derek Van de Graaf 13, Chad Den Boer 11, Jordan Haak 10, Matt Haak 6, Lucas Kilian 5, Josh Buescher 4, Sean Tudor 3, Keith Bos 2, Ryan Tade 1.
Trout Lake-Tim Deardon 8.
Rebounds: Derek Van de Graaf 8, Andrew Schutt 6, Jordan Haak 5, Sean Tudor 4.
Assists: Andrew Schutt 7.