Sunnyside Christian escapes with win at buzzer


Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar talks to his players during a timeout Wednesday night in Spokane.

SPOKANE - Chad Den Boer hit some big shots Wednesday night but none were bigger than the last shot he hit.

With 3.9 seconds left and Sunnyside Christian down by two, the Knights inbounded the ball, got it to Den Boer who hit a shot at the buzzer that the referees called a three as Sunnyside Christian escaped with a 54-53 win over St. John-Endicott Wednesday night in Spokane at the State 'B' Tournament.

The position of Den Boer's foot was something of a controversy as it was unclear whether he took the shot from behind the three-point line or on it.

"I don't think I've ever been a part of something like that," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar. "If I have, it escapes me."

Wagenaar admitted he thought Den Boer's foot was on the line, but said Den Boer was fouled on the shot attempt, so he should have been at the free throw line.

The game was back and fourth for the final three periods, but started out looking like a blowout as the Eagles scored the game's first 10 points before the Knights finally got on the scoreboard.

St. John-Endicott built the lead to as much as 11 points in the first quarter.

But Sunnyside Christian chipped away and eventually cut the lead to four when Den Boer hit a big three to put the score at 17-13.

Four was where the lead would stay as the first quarter drew to a close with the Eagles on top 19-15.

Sunnyside Christian finally tied the game at 22 in the second quarter when the Knights turned an Eagle turnover into points.

Both teams went into the locker room with 30s on the scoreboard.

In the second half it was more of the same as the teams went back and fourth.

"We couldn't put them away," said Wagenaar, who noted the Eagles hit clutch shots when they needed them to stay even with the Knights.

Sunnyside Christian outscored the Knights 13-10 in the third quarter and went into the game's final stanza looking to hold off the Eagles for eight more minutes.

Sunnyside Christian led by as many as five in the fourth quarter before St. John-Endicott fought back and regained the lead.

"We missed shots that we shouldn't have missed," Wagenaar said. "You've got to put those in the hole."

In the end though, Den Boer was the hero as the three at the buzzer gave him 22 points on the night, a game-high total.

Den Boer didn't shoot well, connecting on just 6-of-15 from the field, but was 2-of-2 from behind the arc. Both shots came at times when the Knights needed them most.

Sunnyside Christian had the chance to extend its lead in the fourth quarter, but missed the front end of several one-and-ones in the fourth quarter.

"We missed some big free throws," Wagenaar said.

The Knights hit just 10-of-17 free throw attempts, a very uncharacteristic performance for a team that's usually on from the charity stripe.

Joel Koopmans was the only other Knight player in double-figures in scoring, with 12 points on the evening.

The Knights also were careful with the ball Wednesday night, as they turned it over just eight times.

Wagenaar said he was pleased his team didn't turn the ball over much.

Second chance points were another reason the Knights stayed in the game. Sunnyside Christian grabbed 11 offensive rebounds that led to 13 points. Den Boer grabbed three of those offensive boards. He had eight total.

Sunnyside Christian now moves on to play Northwest Christian (24-3) tonight at 9 p.m. The Crusaders beat Willapa Valley to advance to the quarterfinals.

The game was moved from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. because the Sunnyside Christian girls advanced and will play at 7:30 p.m.


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