It's not often a team can say it tired out the Yakama Tribal boys basketball team. But that is exactly what happened on Sunnyside Christian's home court Tuesday night.
The Knights exploded on the Eagles in the first half, enroute to an 88-62 victory.
"We just played straight man-to-man defense," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar.
Wagenaar said the Knights' formidable showing on the defensive side of the ball allowed Sunnyside Christian to run the floor and score.
The Knights opened the game with a 22-16 showing. Wagenaar, though, praised the play of Tribal.
"In the first quarter, they hit some nice shots," said Wagenaar.
But the hard work of the Knights quickly wore down the Eagles. A tired Tribal group couldn't do much to close out the first half. The Knights outscored Tribal 25-6 in the second quarter to lead 47-22 at the break.
The problem for the Eagles was that they weren't able to substitute at will, like the Knights were, said Wagenaar. Wagenaar said the Eagles didn't have a deep bench, which allowed Sunnyside Christian to keep fresh legs in the game.
"The game was just so fast paced," said Wagenaar. "We could keep that pace up and they couldn't. We just kept up the defensive pressure."
The Knights definitely had a hot hand shooting in the first half.
Sunnyside Christian's Andrew Schutt helped establish the tempo of the game, scoring eight straight points in the first quarter. Teammate Chad Den Boer unleashed his wrath on the Eagles, pouring in a game-high 32 points. Den Boer dropped in eight 3-pointers in the first half.
The Knights had 10 treys in the first half.
"In the third quarter, we came out just as hot," said Wagenaar.
Behind Jordan Haak's 11 points, the Knights outscored Tribal 32-17 in the third quarter to all but put the game away.
With the Knights leading 79-39 at the end of the third quarter, Wagenaar went to his bench to finish out the game. The Eagles had some success in the fourth quarter, outscoring Sunnyside Christian 23-9.
The Knights also had success in containing Tribal's top two players, Derek Payer and Drew Payer.
Derek Payer led the Eagles with 25 points, but only had 8 at the half and 13 going into the fourth quarter. Wagenaar praised the efforts of Matt Haak, who guarded Drew Payer, holding the Tribal player to only 12 points.
"Matt did an outstanding job on Drew Payer," said Wagenaar.
The Knights (5-1, 11-1) will have their hands full this coming weekend, especially Saturday night at LaSalle in Yakima. The Knights are at Klickitat on Friday night.
"Saturday night is a war," said Wagenaar. "It is going to be a battle."