GOLDENDALE - Some prize! After ending Bickleton's season with a dominating 67-23 win in the first round of the Greater Columbia 'B' League District tournament, the Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights move on take on the state's top ranked LaSalle Lightning.
The second round District game against the Lightning will be staged at Sunnyside High School this coming Friday night at 6:30 p.m.
"LaSalle has a lot of weapons. More than us," said SCHS Coach Al Smeenk. "We can beat them, but it's going to be very tough."
Smeenk's Lady Knights upset LaSalle in the last game of the regular season last Friday, 46-44. The Lightning were unbeaten in conference play heading into that match-up.
A victory over LaSalle this Friday would propel Sunnyside Christian into Saturday's District championship game. A loss on Friday will send the Lady Knights into a loser-out District tourney game scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The opponent would be either Riverside Christian or Klickitat.
Last night in Goldendale, the slow starting Lady Knights crept out to an 11-6 first quarter lead before exploding for a 29-6 run in the second period.
"We had to wait for our press to kick in," said Smeenk.
Once it did, Sunnyside Christian poured in bucket after bucket off the transition created by the numerous turnovers Bickleton committed. All told, the Lady Pirates coughed up the ball 40 times last night.
Smeenk said the Lady Pirates turned in a strong effort in the beginning stages of the game.
"Bickleton played very well at the start," he said.
The Lady Pirates began to unravel in the second period, though, when Sunnyside Christian's press proved to be too much to handle for Bickleton.
Bickleton Coach Tom Whitmore said he knew his girls would have a difficult time against Sunnyside Christian, especially with his club hampered by illness. Three of his team members were out of action last night.
"We knew Sunnyside would pressure us, and we were able to handle their press until very late in the first quarter," Whitmore said. He added that fatigue played a major role in some of the poor decisions his girls made on the court.
The Lady Knights went on to outscore Bickleton by a 20-7 margin in the third quarter to sock the game away. Substituting freely in the final period of play, Smeenk's Lady Knights popped in just seven points compared to Bickleton's four.
Tori Van Wingerden topped all scorers in the game Tuesday. She knocked down two 3-pointers enroute to plopping in a game high 15 points for Sunnyside Christian. Older sister Tyssyna Van Wingerden added a 14-point effort, as did SCHS junior Emma Hernandez. Neither the older Van Wingerden nor Hernandez played in the fourth quarter.
Bickleton's leading scorer this season, senior Annie Hess, had a team high 12 points in the losing cause. Kirstin Slater added 6 points for the Lady Pirates.
Smeenk said the game plan was to triple-team Hess every time she touched the ball.
"She's a talented athlete. Every time they got the ball to her we dropped two girls down off our man coverage to triple-team her," he explained.
Still, Hess finished her prep career with a triple-double. She had 11 rebounds and 12 blocked shots to go along with her 12 points.
Bickleton closed out the year with an overall mark of 10-9. Sunnyside Christian improved to 14-7.
Sunnyside Christian 11 29 20 7 -67
Bickleton 6 6 7 4 -23
FT-Sunnyside Christian 11/16, Bickleton 7/20. Rbd.-Sunnyside Christian 38 (Ty. Van Wingerden 10), Bickleton 30 (Hess 11, Bennett 5, D. Raschko 5, Jarvis 5, Tucker 5). TO-Sunnyside Christian 15, Bickleton 40.
Sunnyside Christian-Ja. Roberts 0, To. Van Wingerden 15, DeGroot 10, Rice 1, Ty. Van Wingerden 14, Jones 4, Jo. Roberts 2, Hernandez 14, denHoed 7, Mensonides 0.
Bickleton-D. Raschko 2, Hess 12, Tucker 0, Bennett 0, Macias 2, Slater 6, Jarvis 1.