YAKIMA - When things are going smoothly, like they are for the Sunnyside Christian High School girls basketball team, sometimes you have to look hard to find something wrong.
"They out rebounded us, I was a little disappointed by that," said Al Smeenk, coach of the Lady Knights. Other than that it was business as usual as the Lady Knights notched their eighth league win by beating Riverside Christian 58-40 last Friday night.
The Knights started the game in their usual style, pressing and trapping. "They broke our press a few times," Smeenk recalled. "That surprised me."
SCHS raced ahead to a 15-6 lead in the first quarter and by halftime they led 30-16. Maddie Hahn and Sara Haak had all of Riverside's 16 points in the first half.
"They're good," Smeenk said of Hahn and Haak. "Haak did a good job and showed our girls how to rebound."
At halftime Smeenk told his team Riverside Christian was playing with more desire than his girls were. "That lit a fire underneath them and they came out fired up," Smeenk said.
Emma Newhouse poured in 12 points in the third quarter and Brittany Den Hoed smothered the boards as the Knights out scored Riverside 21-12 in the third quarter and put the game away.
SCHS only shot 50 percent (8-for-16) from the free throw line. "I want to improve on that," Smeenk said.
Each team turned the ball over 26 times and Smeenk was not happy about that.
"That's way too many," he said. "We will work on that this week. We need to take better care of the ball. Sometimes we rush things and just aren't patient enough."
Den Hoed led the Knights with 18 points and she pulled down 9 rebounds. Newhouse followed that by adding 14 points with 6 rebounds. Tori Van Wingerden had 9 points while Courtney Rice added 7 points.
"It was a good game," Smeenk said. "We haven't won there in the last two years. We played hard and we played well."
On Saturday, the Lady Knights traveled to Glenwood to take on Trout Lake/Glenwood from the Klickitat County Division. SCHS won easily, 52-16.
"Again we came out pressing and trapping," Smeenk said. "Emily Hernandez was out sick for us and that cause us some concern. She's our catalyst."
There was no need for concern as Jacqui Roberts stepped in and did a nice job at point guard.
"We were in control all the way," Smeenk said as he was explaining the Knights' 17-0 first quarter run. "We got lots of turnovers off our press and we got some fast breaks out of that. Five girls scored in that quarter."
In the second quarter the Lady Knights switched to a zone defense while playing some man-to-man. "When were up by 20 points were going to run set plays and try not to run the score up," Smeenk said.
At halftime, with the Knights up 27-4, Smeenk told his girls to just keep playing hard.
"In the third quarter our zone defense was really working effectively," Smeenk recalled. "Our defense was putting constant pressure on the ball and kept them from putting the ball into the basket."
Newhouse led the Knights with 12 points and 9 rebounds. "Emma had a really good weekend," Smeenk said. Den Hoed had 8 points and Van Wingerden put in 7 points.
SCHS out rebounded Trout Lake/Glenwood 29-16.
"We played well and did a lot of things right," Smeenk said. "Two league wins is good. I'm hoping Emily can get better. We need her back. She is vital to our game."
The Lady Knights (9-1, 14-3) next play Liberty Christian Friday, Feb. 3, in Richland.