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Knights open league play with victory

KLICKITAT - The defending Greater Columbia 'B' League champion Sunnyside Christian Knights got off to a good start in search of their eighth conference title in the past nine years. Last night at Klickitat, the Knights shot past the Vandals, 81-39.

Sunnyside Christian (1-0, 5-0) won its league opener by turning in one of its better defensive efforts of the young season and shooting at nearly a 50 percent clip. From 2-point range last night, the Knights were 17-for-33 (52 percent). From behind the 3-point arc, Sunnyside Christian hit 10-of-22 shots (45 percent). Senior Aaron Van de Graaf and junior Jesse Brouwer combined for seven of the long range bombs.

SCHS Coach Dean Wagenaar said he was pleased with the way his team pushed the ball upcourt,. He explained that on many of the defensive rebounds his club scraped down off the glass, 19 in all, a quick outlet pass followed by a long pass downcourt resulted in an easy lay-up. The two primary recipients of those downcourt passes were Van de Graaf and junior Joel Koopmans, who together lit up the scoreboard for 43 points.

While Van de Graaf ended up as the Knights' top scorer with 24 points, it was plain to see that the 6'1" guard was looking to get the rest of his team involved in the offensive flow. His unselfish play resulted in a game high seven assists. Van de Graaf, too, wasn't afraid to crash the boards, as he came away with a club high six rebounds.

Sunnyside Christian's defensive efforts last night did not include the Knights' patented press and trap. Still, they forced Klickitat into 18 turnovers. The Vandals struggled in getting through Sunnyside Christian's match-up zone defense, enough so that none of the Klickitat players scored in double figures. The leading Vandal scorers proved to be Jeremie Mason and Richard McConville with 9 points apiece.

The Knights return to non-league play this coming Saturday at home against 1A Wahluke, and then will take on visiting LaSalle in another non-league game next Tuesday.

S'side Christian 18 27 10 26 -81

Klickitat 6 15 5 13 -39

FG-S'side Christian 27/55. 3-pt.-S'side Christian 10/22 (A. Van de Graaf 4, J. Brouwer 3). Rbds.-S'side Christian 33 (A. Van de Graaf 6, Koopmans 5, N. De Jong 4).

Sunnyside Christian: Koopmans 19, Van Oostrum 0, C. Van de Graaf 5, Van Boven 8, J. Brouwer 13, M. De Jong 9, L. Brouwer 0, A. Van de Graaf 24, Friend 0, DeVries 0, Meininger 2, N. De Jong 1, Freepons 0.

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