TOPPENISH - In what turned out to be a tune-up for the big game with LaSalle this coming weekend, the Sunnyside Christian girls basketball team last night crushed Yakama Tribal 78-23.
"We never pressed," SCHS Coach Al Smeenk said. "We played man-to-man the whole game. We pride ourselves on good man-to-man defense."
The Lady Knights defense was firing on all cylinders as they held the Eagles to five first quarter points while racking up 27 for themselves. At halftime the Knights had outscored the Eagles by 36 points and led 47-11.
"Every four minutes we send in five new girls," Smeenk said. "They come in fresh and they all get a chance to play."
To start the second half Smeenk told his team to run set plays and not to do any fastbreaks. That was a little difficult as the Lady Knights stole the ball 19 times.
When a Knight would steal the ball, they would let everyone pass them by and then run a set play.
The SCHS defense didn't let up in the third or fourth quarters, holding the Eagles to 4 points and 8 points, respectively.
"We throw a variety of defenses at them," Smeenk said. "We stress getting into the passing lanes, taking away what the offense wants to do. We want to dictate how the game goes."
Brittany Den Hoed led the Knights with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Jacqui Roberts followed that with 14 points. Emily Hernandez had 13 points and 8 steals, and Tori Van Wingerden had 10 points. A total of eight Lady Knights scored in this game.
The Knights even did well at the free throw line. "Free throws have been our nemesis this year," Smeenk said. "Several of our girls didn't miss any. I'm very happy. Everyone contributed."
The Lady Knights (6-0, 10-2) play Klickitat at home this Friday, Jan. 20, and host league rival LaSalle on Saturday, Jan. 21.