SHORELINE - It was over almost as soon as it began, as the 1B Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team rolled to a 74-32 romp last night over Northwest High School of Seattle, a 1A private school.
The win advances the Knights (2-2) into this afternoon's final of the Oak Leaf Classic against either host Shoreline Christian or Rainier Christian.
Sparked by nine points from Joel Koopmans and five steals by Jesse Brouwer, Sunnyside Christian jumped out to a 23-8 first quarter lead and never looked back.
The Knights upped the advantage to 41-12 at the half, and Coach Dean Wagenaar began sitting most of his starters in the third quarter.
Actually, Wagenaar and company began pulling back the reins in the second stanza, when the coach switched from a sweltering pressure defense to a more relaxed man-to-man approach.
"We just came out with a half-court trap and they really struggled," Wagenaar said of the 16 first quarter turnovers coaxed by his defense.
Northwest had a total of 38 miscues for the game, while Sunnyside Christian had 19, seven of those coming in the final quarter when Wagenaar was substituting liberally. All of the Knights saw action and 10 made it into the scoring column.
Sunnyside Christian was led by Koopmans' 20 points as the Knights found openings against what Wagenaar called Northwest's "helter skelter" defense. Koopmans also had nine assists to go with five rebounds and four steals. Marc DeJong and Jordan Vogel added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Knights.
Northwest High School was led by Robert Wakeley's 10 points.
Jason Friend paced Sunnyside Christian in the paint with eight rebounds to help lead the Knights to a 38 to 19 rebound advantage.
Though his squad found success by opening up with the half-court trap, a first this season, Wagenaar said he will have to be judicious in his use of the tactic.
"We're not extremely deep in experience so we have to be careful," he said.
Yesterday's comfortable win was a welcome sight for the young Knights, who have been involved in tight contests in something of a bumpy start to the season.
"It was a good game for all the kids to get in," Wagenaar said. "They enjoyed it and had a good time."