SPOKANE - The Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team is bringing home a trophy from the State 'B' basketball tournament in Spokane. The only question is what sort of trophy the Knights are packing home.
The Knights moved into the semifinals and qualified for the trophy round with a humbling defeat of DeSales in the late game held Thursday night at the Spokane Arena. The Knights just devoured the Irish, winning 54-31.
It was hard to believe watching the game that the Irish squad that took the floor against the Knights Thursday night was the same team that had shamed the defending State champions, Republic, on the opening night of the State tournament.
The Knights will now play King's West at 8 p.m. tonight in the semifinals. The winner of this game will play in the championship game on Saturday.
The Irish were coming off an incredible game against Republic, scoring 23 points in the opening quarter, behind a flurry of 3-pointers.
Thursday night, DeSales was lucky to post 23 points for the game. In all honesty, the Irish probably wouldn't have broke the 23-point mark if Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar hadn't gone to his bench in the fourth quarter.
"We got a trophy," said an excited Wagenaar. "We will see how the kids play tonight. I was just real excited for them."
The Irish came out with the intent of containing the red hot Jordan Haak, but that didn't last too long because DeSales forgot about the firepower of Chad Den Boer.
Den Boer nailed a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the game. Den Boer and Haak would go a tear that would leave the Irish dumbfounded.
After Den Boer's 3-pointer and a bucket from DeSales, Haak led a Knights' 6-0 run to end the first quarter.
Den Boer equaled his accomplishment in the first quarter, draining another 3-pointer in the opening 30 seconds of the second quarter. Haak then went to work for the Knights, scoring the next six points for Sunnyside Christian, powering his way inside the paint. Den Boer ended the onslaught for the Knights in the first half adding a bucket with about 90 seconds to go.
The Irish seemed content trying to shoot the ball from the outside or taking long range jumpers inside the key. The Irish were a dismal 2-for-14 from the field in the first half and missed all seven of their 3-pointers in the first half.
Haak had 12 points in the first half and Den Boer added the other 8 for Sunnyside Christian. Combined, the two Knight all-stars were 9-for-13 from the field in the first half and 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Sunnyside Christian hustled on the glass, outrebounding the Irish 15 to 6 in the opening half. Sunnyside Christian had 10 defensive rebounds and six assists in the opening two quarters.
The Irish went on a bit of a run in the third quarter, doing a better job of penetrating and attacking the basket.
Den Boer opened the second half with another 3-pointer in the first nine seconds, but that would be hit for a while, as the Irish went on a 9-3 run before the Knights got things back under control.
Andrew Schutt had a phenomenal second half, making his way to the free throw line 16 times, hitting 14. Schutt was seriously in contention to challenge the State 'B' free throw scoring record held by former Sunnyside Christian standout Lance Den Boer, who nailed 19-of-22.
The Knights cruised along to finish out the game, as the second half before a free throw frenzy for Sunnyside Christian. The Knights were 27-of-32 from the free throw line with Sunnyside Christian scoring all of those in the second half.
The Irish had a nice run in the fourth quarter against Sunnyside Christian's bench, hitting a couple of 3-pointers. The Knights' bench outscored the Irish 20-16 in the fourth quarter.
Wagenaar said the Irish came out with the idea of playing straight man defense. Wagenaar said he wanted to be able to contain the outside shooters of the Irish because DeSales had a hard time penetrating in the post.
Wagenaar said it was key to get both Haak and Den Boer going in the game because it created that inside-outside threat for the Knights that DeSales had to respect.
"You have to guard that," said Wagenaar.
Wagenaar said he was rather impressed with the patience and discipline of his team, as the Knights nearly duplicated their performance from Wednesday night against Tacoma Baptist.
The Knights are going to have their work cut out tonight against King's West, which just barely got by Lind-Ritzville last night.
The key player for the Warriors is 6'8" Erik Bright.
"This is a legitimate team," said Wagenaar. "We are going to really have to identify their shooters."
1 2 3 4 T
DeSales 2 2 11 16 31
SCHS 9 11 14 20 54
Scoring: SCHS-Jordan Haak 19, Andrew Schutt 14, Chad Den Boer 11, Derek Van de Graaf 6, Sean Tudor 2, Aaron Van de Graaf 2.
DeSales-Nick Conley 7.
Rebounds: Jordan Haak 11.
Assists: Jordan Haak 2.
Steals: Jordan Haak 3.