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Knights place 7th at State

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Matt Haak takes a shot against Neah Bay this past Saturday. The Knights lost to Neah Bay in hte fourth/seventh place game at the Spokane Arena.

SPOKANE - The Sunnyside Christian boys came home from the Spokane Arena with a trophy, but it wasn't exactly the trophy they wanted.

After falling to eventual State champion Northwest Christian last Thursday, the Knights played Lummi on Friday for a chance to play on Saturday for a trophy.

The Knights dominated the Blackhawks, out-rebounding and out-shooting Lummi to claim a 35-22 victory to move on to the trophy round.

"I thought the defensive effort was excellent," said SCHS Coach Dean Wagenaar. "That was a big game for us."

To reach the trophy round of the tourney was big for the Knights, a team that spent most of the season ranked in the state's top 10 poll.

In a low scoring game, both teams started out slow last Friday. It was close after one period, as the Knights held on to a slim 7-5 lead.

An 8-4 second quarter in favor of Sunnyside Christian pushed the lead up to six points as the teams went into the intermission.

After the break, it was more of the same as the Knights outscored the Blackhawks in both the third and fourth quarters.

The Knights opened up the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run and pushed the lead as high as 15 points.

Chad Den Boer led the way in scoring for the Knights. The senior, not wanting Friday's game to be his last, dropped in a game-high 17 points and was the only player on either team to be in double-figures for the game.

Shooting on both sides was poor, as Sunnyside Christian shot 38 percent from the field but still managed to shoot better than the Blackhawks, who hit just 18 percent of their field goal attempts.

Wagenaar said many of the teams were very evenly matched at this year's State tourney, and a redraw of the tournament brackets could have resulted in a different outcome.

"The line between winning and losing at State this year was pretty fine," Wagenaar said.

With the win over Lummi last Friday, the Knights moved on to play Neah Bay for a shot at fourth place, with the loser taking home the seventh place trophy.

Wagenaar said even though his team wasn't playing for the championship on Saturday, he wasn't disappointed vying for a fourth-place trophy.

"I was not unhappy playing on Saturday for fourth or seventh," he said.

Against Neah Bay, the Knights played another close game, but eventually fell 58-50 in overtime, and took home the seventh-place trophy.

In the first period, the Knights played even with Neah Bay, as Sunnyside Christian trailed by two points after the first eight minutes.

A 17-13 Sunnyside Christian second quarter had the Knights taking a 29-27 lead into the locker room at the intermission.

Neah Bay came back in the third period and outscored the Knights by two to send both teams into the final eight minutes of the game deadlocked at 38.

The teams again played even in the fourth quarter, as both scored 12 points to end regulation deadlocked again, this time at 50 apiece.

But it wasn't as easy as it sounded. Den Boer and Luke Meinenger both nailed big three-pointers in the closing seconds to get the Knights even with Neah Bay in regulation.

"We just couldn't knock them out," Wagenaar said.

As the teams went into the extra session, Wagenaar said his team was tired, and that likely played a role in the loss.

The Knights went scoreless in overtime as Neah Bay outscored them 8-0 to take the win and the fourth-place trophy.

Wagenaar said Darryl Svec stepped up for Neah Bay, while on the Knights side, Den Boer was again the only SCHS player in double-figures, dropping in 26 points.

Svec scored 13 and was the third Neah Bay player in double-digits in the scoring column.

"He stepped up for them," Wagenaar said of Svec.

The SCHS boys finished the season with a record of 22-6.

The loss marks Wagenaar's first loss at the State tournament on Saturday. Prior to the game against Neah Bay, Wagenaar's teams had won in all four previous attempts.

Wagenaar said leaving Spokane for the last tournament his team will play there, as the 2B classification will play in Yakima starting next year, is tough because there are so many memories there.

"When you walk out there, there's so many memories," he said of the Spokane Arena.

He said playing in the SunDome will be a new experience.

"That will be different," Wagenaar said.

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