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Knights come up short in quest for State trophy

SPOKANE - The Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team's sixth consecutive trip to the State 'B' basketball tournament in Spokane didn't end on too bright of a note.

The Knights ran into a buzzsaw last Friday morning against Waterville, which entered the State tournament as the top ranked 'B' team in Washington. The Shockers were upset in the first round of the State tournament by Selkirk.

Undaunted by its shortcomings in the first round, Waterville went out and took care of business against the Knights on Friday morning, winning 64-51. The victory over Sunnyside Christian put the Shockers into the trophy round against Riverside Christian for fifth and eighth place, a game which the Crusaders won.

"They played with so much energy," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar of Waterville. "I never had a sense we would make a run to challenge them. I just didn't think we had the energy."

The loss on Friday morning also left Wagenaar, who has been the varsity coach of the Knights for the past decade, one game short of his 200th career win.

Turnovers, missed shots and the play of Waterville's Jesse Robb were the story for the Knights in the first half.

The game ended up being decided in the first half, when the Shockers put together a couple of significant runs. Waterville led 20-11 at the end of the first quarter and put together a 17-10 run in the second quarter behind the play of Robb. Robb helped propel the Shockers to a 37-21 halftime lead.

Robb had some sensational numbers in the second quarter. The Shockers finished off the Knights in the first half with an 8-3 run. Robb scored four of those eight points to end the half for the Shockers. Robb had 10 of his 14 first half points in the second quarter. Robb finished the game with 16 points.

"He created a lot of easy baskets for them in the first half," said Wagenaar of Robb. "He just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Robb just killed us."

The Knights could never get going in the scoring column, as none of Sunnyside Christian's players broke double digits. Derek DeVries and Chad Den Boer led Sunnyside Christian in scoring with 9 points apiece.

"In the first half, we didn't shoot very well," said Wagenaar.

Wagenaar said the Knights struggled defensively. The Knights coach said the Shockers were able to push the ball up and down the floor at will in Friday's game.

"They (Waterville) pushed the ball really well," Wagenaar added. "They played very well and we looked like we were tired."

The Knights also weren't helped any by Daley Landon, who had a game high 26 points.

Wagenaar said even though he would have liked to have brought home a trophy, it was nice the Knights ended their season the way they did. After starting the season 4-8, Sunnyside Christian finished 13-3 to end up with an overall record of 17-11. Two of the last three losses were at State with the other being to Riverside Christian in the District title game. The Knights were 8-4 in Greater Columbia 'B' League play, finishing third in the northern division.

The Knights lose five seniors off this year's team-Derek DeVries, Josh Buescher, Keith Bos, Lucas Kilian and Erik Haringa. But Wagenaar is optimistic about next season.

"There is some talent coming back," said Wagenaar. "But the kids have some work to do in the off season."

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

1 2 3 4 T

Waterville 20 17 21 6 64

SCHS 11 10 15 15 51

Scoring: SCHS-Derek DeVries 9, Chad Den Boer 9, Sean Tudor 8, Jordan Haak 7, Keith Bos 6, Derek Van de Graaf 4, Andrew Schutt 3, Lucas Kilian 3, Matt Haak 2.

Waterville-Daley Landon 26, Jesse Robb 16.

Rebounds-Derek DeVries 5, Jordan Haak 4.

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