SHORELINE - The Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team captured the Oak Leaf Classic at Shoreline Christian this past Friday with a 57-31 thumping of Rainier Christian High School in the tourney championship game.
Much as they did in the tourney opener against Northwest High School of Seattle last Thursday, the Knights stormed out to a huge lead and cruised to victory.
Against Rainier Christian, from Kent, Sunnyside Christian rolled to a 20-4 first quarter lead paced by 10 of Joel Koopmans' game-high 14 points. The Knights removed all doubt by upping the margin to 30-9 at the half and 45-15 after three quarters.
"They struggled to score against us," Coach Dean Wagenaar said of the Mustangs' woes against Sunnyside Christian's match-up zone defense. When the Knights had the ball, guard Danny Van Boven helped them shred Rainier Christian's trap defense. "Danny did a great job flying through their press," Wagenaar observed. "They trapped us, but we work against it every day in practice."
The Mustangs closed the gap in the fourth quarter ever so slightly, as Wagenaar liberally substituted players in and out of the lineup.
Koopmans closed out 2007 in fine fashion, putting together a solid outing against the Mustangs with six rebounds, five assists and three steals to go with his 14 tallies.
Jason Friend helped the Knights to a 38-20 rebounding advantage with a game-high 13 rebounds to go with eight points, while teammate Marc DeJong hauled down nine boards while tallying six points. Jesse Brouwer added 11 points for Sunnyside Christian. Doug Earley led the Mustangs with 13 points.
The win improved Sunnyside Christian's season mark to 3-2, with league play tipping off this Friday at home against Bickleton.
Wagenaar said the tourney title last week at Shoreline Christian will help boost his team's confidence and experience level heading into a brutal month of January in which the Knights will play 13 games and have 13 practices. "We get Sundays off. That's a good thing," Wagenaar said.
After Bickleton on Friday, Sunnyside Christian will host a non-league tilt Saturday against Riverside Christian, which is still undefeated on the season.
"We're going to get better and we still need to work on our three-point (shooting) consistency," Wagenaar said. "I still believe by mid-January we're going to be a pretty good 1B basketball team. We'll be right in the mix of things, but we have to take it one game at a time."
SCHS 20 10 15 12 - 57
RCHS 4 5 6 16 - 31
RBD-SCHS 38 (Friend 13), RCHS 20. TO-SCHS 18, RCHS 12.
Sunnyside Christian: J. Koopmans 14, J. Brouwer 11, J. Friend 8, D. Van Boven 6, S. Broersma 6, M. DeJong 6, M. Crabtree 4, J. Vogel 2, T. DeVries 0, R. Van Belle 0, C. Newhouse 0.
Rainier Christian: D. Earley 13.