RICHLAND - A win's a win, especially in the season opener. But, the Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights found out last Friday that they'll have to get into a bit better shape if they want to continue piling up victories.
"We started well, but we got fatigued," SCHS Coach Al Smeenk said of his club's 62-50 win over the host Liberty Christian Patriots. "I think what happened is that we got the lead and then got a little lazy.
"Especially on defense. We weren't aggressive enough to stop them from scoring," Smeenk continued, explaining his girls weren't shuffling well in covering their opponents and often times left a Patriot unguarded for a wide open look at the basket.
"You could say we're not in mid-season form," Smeenk added. "But we'll get there."
Smeenk also wasn't all that pleased with how his club protected the ball, noting the Lady Knights coughed up the ball 23 times.
"We pressed and forced 24 turnovers, but Liberty Christian didn't press and we had 23. Most of our turnovers were unforced," he said. "A lot of silly passes. It was just too many turnovers on our part.'
One area of the Lady Knights' game in which Smeenk came away happy was their play on the boards. Sunnyside Christian outrebounded the Patriots by a 45 to 29 margin, with 28 of them coming off the offensive glass.
"The girls were diving all over the floor trying to come up with a loose ball," he said. "We left some loose skin on the floor. Afterwards, they were comparing bumps and bruises."
The top rebounder for the Lady Knights was Andrea Schutt. She scraped down a game high 12 boards. The Van Wingerden sisters-Melanie, Tori and Jolene-also contributed mightily on the glass. The trio ended up with 26 rebounds.
Scoring-wise for Sunnyside Christian, the senior Tori Van Wingerden paved the way for the Lady Knights by popping in a game high 18 points. Aiding the cause were Schutt with 17 points and Emma Newhouse with 13.
Sunnyside Christian's two post players, Brittany denHoed and the sophomore Melanie Van Wingerden, were held to a combined five points on less than spectacular 2-of-17 shooting.
"We got outplayed in the post," Smeenk said, noting Liberty Christian's post players were much more efficient at dropping the ball through the hoop.
Sunnyside Christian will be seeking its second straight non-league win of the season at Kittitas tomorrow (Tuesday). Smeenk said the Coyotes traditionally apply a fullcourt, man press and like to run. "With a new coach this year I'm not quite sure what they'll do this season, but we're going in expecting them to run and press," he said.
S'side Christ. 22 18 15 7 -62
Liberty Christ. 9 15 16 10 -50
FG-S'side Christian 26/68. FT-S'side Christian 4/6, Liberty Christian 2/10. Rbds.-S'side Christian 45 (Schutt 12, M. Van Wingerden 9, T. Van Wingerden 9, J. Van Wingerden 8), Liberty Christian 29. TO-S'side Christian 23, Liberty Christian 24.
Sunnyside Christian: Roberts 8, T. Van Wingerden 18, denHoed 3, Bosma 0, J. Van Wingerden 1, M. Van Wingerden 2, Schutt 17, Newhouse 13.
Liberty Christian: L. Montgomery 11, A. Anderson 10, K. Peterson 11, R. Roberts 16.