The SunDome was on fire yesterday, as the Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights lit up the court against the Riverside Christian Lady Crusaders, finishing with a big win over the team the Lady Knights lost to not more than a week and a half ago.
"We never trailed," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Al Smeenk.
The Lady Knights were able to stay ahead of the Riverside Christian team the entire game to finish with a 45-34 victory. The closest the Sunnyside team allowed the Lady Crusaders to get in the late going was within three points.
"We were focused," Smeenk said.
He noted that since the two teams met last the Lady Knights have been working hard on correcting some of the errors that led to the Lady Crusaders winning the first match-up.
"When we played Riverside Christian there were some glaring weaknesses," Smeenk said. "We worked on those weaknesses."
Monday, the Lady Knights focused on breaking the Riverside press, rebounding the ball and working hard on defense. Smeenk said the team's hard work over the past week could be seen on the court, where the Sunnyside Christian team worked to out-rebound the Lady Crusaders by 10 boards.
"They did what we asked them to do," Smeenk said.
Working hard for the Lady Knights Monday were several players, including Hilary Hughes, who scored 12 points, and Tami Lambrecht with 11 points. Junior Tyssyna Van Wingerden also had a good night, scoring 12 points and getting 14 rebounds.
"That's phenomenal," Smeenk said of Van Wingerden's stats.
Smeenk said being able to play in the SunDome was a fun experience for the team, and noted that overall the Lady Knights had a good weekend.
It was a good weekend because the Sunnyside Christian team also worked to win its two games Friday and Saturday.
Saturday night the Lady Knights took on LaSalle High School, working hard to break their press and rebound the ball. The local team's efforts proved to be worth it, as Sunnyside beat LaSalle, 44-40.
Smeenk said the Sunnyside Christian team managed to stay ahead of the LaSalle team nearly the entire game. Although he did say LaSalle managed to tie the score at one point, but the Lady Knights quickly put an end to that.
"We kept our composure and were able to take the lead again," Smeenk said.
Again, the skills that helped the Lady Knights overtake the LaSalle team included working hard to break their press, focusing on rebounding and simply scoring when they needed to.
Smeenk said the Sunnyside Christian team worked hard Saturday night, including Hughes and Van Wingerden, who were the team's lead scorers. Hughes scored 16 points for the Lady Knights and Van Wingerden had 11 points.
"They really stepped up," Smeenk said.
Friday night the Lady Knights also managed a win, dominating against the visiting Trout Lake team, 76-16.
Smeenk said all of the players who were eligible played against the Lady Mustangs, which led to the Sunnyside Christian team having four players score in double figures.
Sophomore Emma Hernandez led the team with 15 points, Hughes had 13 points, junior Carly DeGroot had 12 points and freshman Tori Van Wingerden scored 10 points.
Smeenk said the Lady Knights played hard during the first half of the match-up, then pulled the pressure off during the second half. He said the Sunnyside Christian team didn't press the Lady Mustangs after intermission.
Overall, Smeenk said it was a successful weekend for the Lady Knights.
"We're finally getting the confidence to say, we can do it," Smeenk said.
The Lady Knights (4-1, 7-4) will play again tonight (Tuesday) at home against DeSales High School.
. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org