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Knights clinch Greater Columbia title with spanking of Eagles

It's getting to be routine.

The Sunnyside Christian Knights secured the Greater Columbia 1B/2B League last Friday with a 108-36 whipping of the Yakama Tribal Eagles.

The win gave the Knights their ninth league championship in the past 11 years and their first undefeated season since 2001.

"We needed this win to wrap up the league title," Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar said.

He explained that a loss would have tied the Knights with Riverside Christian, who lost to Sunnyside earlier in the season.

Neither Wagenaar or the Knights had anything to worry about as Sunnyside Christian jumped to a huge lead after one quarter and had the game wrapped up by halftime.

"We just played hard," Wagenaar said. "There was no pressing or trapping."

The Knights led 33-10 after one quarter thanks in part to Aaron Van de Graaf and Brandon De Vries.

De Vries scored all 12 of his points in the first quarter, including a dunk, and Van de Graaf added 10 points in the quarter.

With the score 61-20 at halftime, the Knights emptied their bench and everybody got in on the fun.

Joel Koopmans led all SCHS scorers with 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Teammate Jason Friend knocked down 12 points. Lucas Brouwer had 11 points for the Knights, as did Nick De Jong.

Cole Van de Graaf and Danny Van Boven each contributed 10 points as well for Sunnyside Christian.

After wrapping up the league title, Sunnyside Christian traveled to Walla Walla on Saturday to play a non-league match-up with the DeSales Irish.

"We were rolling," Wagenaar said of his team's 57-31 win.

He said he rotated his top eight guys quite a bit in the first two quarters.

Wagenaar took what would work against the Irish. In the first quarter the Knights used their big man, Cole Van de Graaf. They kept pounding the ball inside to him and he finished with eight points in the first quarter. His cousin, Aaron Van de Graaf added five points in the stanza and the Knights were up 17-6 after one.

In the second quarter, the Irish closed down the lanes and the Knights went to the outside.

"We went on a three-point barrage," Wagenaar said.

Sunnyside nailed down six three-point shots in the quarter, with Aaron Van de Graaf sinking three, to pull ahead 39-22 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Irish tried to shut down the Van de Graaf cousins, but Koopmans stepped up and scored 12 points in the period. The 16-3 quarter put Sunnyside Christian up by 30 points.

Koopmans finished with 16 points on the evening. He also had four rebounds and three steals. Aaron Van de Graaf also had 16 points and six assists. Cole Van de Graaf contributed 10 points with four assists and four steals.

The win puts the Knights' record at 11-0 in league and 20-0 overall.

"It is a nice accomplishment for them," Wagenaar said.

Sunnyside Christian will travel to Goldendale this Friday, Feb. 9, for the District Tournament at 7:30 p.m.

Wagenaar said his team will have a good week of practice and then be ready to play on Friday.

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