Washington state's top ranked 1B team, the Sunnyside Christian Knights, scraped out a seven-point victory in hostile Queen's Gym last Friday night. The 63-56 win over LaSalle, coupled with Saturday night's 64-25 romp of Klickitat, elevated the Knights' overall record on the season to 14-0.
In besting 2B LaSalle last Friday in the conference match-up, the Knights had to battle the Lightning's big men for much of the game without the services of 6'4" Cole Van de Graaf. The Sunnyside Christian center picked up a questionable foul early in the game, and was soon relegated to the bench when he was quickly whistled for another. Van de Graaf, after re-entering the game, was nicked by the officials for another foul and ended up sitting most of the first half.
Compounding the problem was the off-night that Van de Graaf's cousin, Aaron Van de Graaf, had last Friday. The team's leading scorer, normally proficient at driving the paint through heavy traffic, was ineffective against LaSalle's defenders and ended up settling for just 12 points.
Charging to the rescue, however, were teammates Joel Koopmans and Jesse Brouwer. With the score knotted at 24-all at halftime, Koopmans and Brouwer tossed in 12 and 7 points, respectively, in the third quarter to power Sunnyside Christian to a 47-33 lead heading into the final period of play.
Koopmans went on to pump in five more points in the final stanza to give him a game high 24 points.
LaSalle resorted to fouling the Knights in the fourth quarter in an attempt to catch up, and got the deficit down to three points at the very end before Sunnyside Christian pulled away in the closing seconds at the free throw line.
Saturday at home against visiting Klickitat, the 6'1" Koopmans, a junior, again led the Knights in the scoring column. He threw in a game high 17 points and led all rebounders in the contest with nine boards. Teammate Andy Freepons, a 6'3" junior, also crashed the boards hard, scraping down seven rebounds.
Sunnyside Christian broke out to a 32-12 halftime lead on the Vandals before socking the game away with a 25-4 run in the third quarter. In the period, the Knights forced 11 turnovers playing tough, aggressive man-to-man defense.
The Knights are scheduled to host Bickleton tomorrow night (Tuesday).
S'side Christian 12 12 23 16 -63
LaSalle 9 15 9 23 -56
FG-S'side Christian 22/35, LaSalle 22/38. 3-pt.-S'side Christian 3/10, LaSalle 6/12. FT-S'side Christian 16/27, LaSalle 6/10. Rbds.-S'side Christian 13 (A. Van de Graaf 4), LaSalle 20. TO-S'side Christian 19, LaSalle 14.
S'side Christian: Koopmans 24, J. Brouwer 9, C. Van de Graaf 6, L. Brouwer 4, A. Van de Graaf 12, DeVries 6, Meininger 0, N. De Jong 2.
LaSalle: Jeremy Bouchey 14, Nick Kennedy 10, Lawrence Cachiotti 12, Scott Wall 10.
Klickitat 6 6 4 9 -25
S'side Christian 12 20 25 7 -64
FG-Klickitat 10/32, S'side Christian 24/61. 3-pt.-Klickitat 0/0, S'side Christian 6/19 (A. Van de Graaf 2). FT-Klickitat 5/9, S'side Christian 10/16. Rbds.-Klickitat 24, S'side Christian 39 (Koopmans 9, Freepons 7). TO-Klickitat 27, S'side Christian 13.
Klickitat: Levi Sanchey 12.
S'side Christian: Koopmans 17, Van Oostrum 5, C. Van de Graaf 7, Van Boven 0, J. Brouwer 0, M. De Jong 0, L. Brouwer 4, A. Van de Graaf 11, Friend 0, DeVries 9, Meininger 4, N. De Jong 5, Freepons 2.