SPOKANE - To say it was a good evening for the Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team might be a bit of an understatement.
The important news for Knights' fans is that Sunnyside Christian is just one win away from being assured of bringing home some sort of trophy. The further good news is that the Knights won't have to beat defending State champion Republic to try and get that win.
The Knights took care of businesses in the nightcap of the opening round of State, blasting Tacoma Baptist, 61-31.
But before the Knights took to the floor for their opening round game, Sunnyside Christian got a bit of help from a familiar friend in DeSales. The Irish dominated the defending State champ, beating Republic in the opening round to set up a second round game against the Knights this evening at 9 p.m. in the Spokane Arena.
Tonight's game will be a rematch of an earlier meeting in the season when Sunnyside Christian beat DeSales. At the time of the Knights' victory, the Irish were ranked in third in the State rankings.
"We have our work cut out tonight," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar of the impending game with the Irish. "We have to see if we can match them."
Wagenaar said his players were really fired up after watching DeSales knock off the defending State champs.
"DeSales completely controlled that game," said Wagenaar.
Of last night's game, Wagenaar said he was surprised at the margin of victory for his team.
"I was hoping to win, but not like that," said Wagenaar.
The Crusaders were hardly ever in last night's game, as the Knights established the tempo of the contest early.
Jordan Haak had an outstanding night for the Knights. He scored 7 of his game-high 21 points in the opening quarter, including five free throws.
Wagenaar said he just turned Haak loose inside the paint and there wasn't anything Tacoma Baptist could do to stop him.
Haak got some nice help from his teammates in Sunnyside Christian's 18-8 first quarter run. Derek Van de Graaf and Andrew Schutt added a couple of buckets apiece while Matt Haak drained a 3-pointer and nailed a couple of free throws.
The Knights shot a whopping 71 percent from the field in the first quarter, hitting 5-of-7 shots, and were 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
Wagenaar said the quick start by his Knights was key. Sunnyside Christian also had a noteworthy defensive outing in the first quarter. Wagenaar said the Knights came out and attacked Tacoma Baptist offensively.
"We went hard to the basket," said Wagenaar.
The Knights held the Crusaders to just 4-of-15 from the field and Tacoma Baptist didn't make it to the free throw line once.
Wagenaar tried to establish the long ball threat in the second quarter, but the Knights weren't able to hit many 3-point shots. Sunnyside Christian outscored Tacoma Baptist 14-8 in the second quarter.
"If we had hit those 3s (the game would have been completely different)," said Wagenaar.
The Knights finished the second quarter on a 10-0 run that really changed the complexion of the game.
Chad Den Boer had a nice second quarter for the Knights, scoring 8 points. Jordan Haak had 4 points in the second quarter and Van de Graaf added another bucket.
The free throw line would be a telling tale for the Knights, who were a perfect 4-for-4 from the line to finish out the half. The Knights did take a few more shots in the second half, going just 5-for-16 from the field.
Tacoma Baptist didn't get very many good looks in the second quarter, shooting just 3-for-8 from the field.
If the second quarter onslaught by the Knights wasn't enough, Sunnyside Christian came out and started the second half with a 10-0 run.
"The key one (scoring run) was right at the end of the second quarter," said Wagenaar.
Wagenaar said he felt that the run by the Knights at the end of the second quarter really took the Crusaders out of the game.
The Knights finished the game off with a 10-8 run in the third quarter and a 19-7 onslaught in the final quarter.
Den Boer finished with 12 points, but Wagenaar said where the Knights junior made the difference was defensively.
"Chad did a good job defensively," said Wagenaar.
Another player that did well for Sunnyside Christian was Van de Graaf, who had 8 points.
"Derek did a good job inside," said Wagenaar.
The Knights were able to do a good job defensively, said Wagenaar.
"We identified their two shooters well," he added.
The Knights all but shutdown Tacoma Baptist player Nathan Yoder, who had hit seven 3-pointers in a game that got the Crusaders to State. Yoder had just 1 point last night.
Sunnyside Christian also did a good job of keeping it an outside game for the Crusaders. Tacoma Baptist was a pathetic 2-for-16 from 3-point land while only shooting 12-for-41 from the field.
The Knights turned nine steals they had into 21 points. The Knights also went 11-for-14 from the free throw line for the game.
Wagenaar said he is very pleased with how his team performed last night. Wagenaar said his players are excited about playing DeSales tonight.
"We are going to attack the basket," said Wagenaar. "We are going to be pumped."
1 2 3 4 T
Tacoma Baptist 8 8 8 7 31
SCHS 18 14 10 19 61
Scoring: SCHS-Jordan Haak 21, Chad Den Boer 12, Derek Van de Graaf 8, Sean Tudor 7, Andrew Schutt 6, Matt Haak 5, Jon Buescher 2.
Tacoma Baptist-Jeff Gudaitis 11.
Rebounds: Jordan Haak 5, Andrew Schutt 5, Derek Van de Graaf 4.
Assists: Jordan Haak 5.
Steals: Chad Den Boer 5.