Knights advance to District title game

GOLDENDALE - In by far its biggest rout of the season, the Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team romped past Yakama Tribal 94-26 in the first round of Greater Columbia 'B' League District tourney play.

"They came out and pressed us the whole time," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar. "Our boys reacted pretty well to that. We went flying through it."

The Knights were flying high, indeed, leading 26-7 after one quarter yesterday and putting the game out of reach by halftime with a 48-12 advantage.

"We just got off to a good start, played smart defensively and identified their shooters," Wagenaar said of the first round contest played at Goldendale High School.

The transition game off of Yakama Tribal's press resulted in several shots close to the bucket. That was evident on the stat sheet, as the Knights shot better than 60 percent from the field.

About the only thing that didn't go the Knights' way was three-point shooting, as Sunnyside Christian connected on just three of 18 attempts. "We got open and put up shots," Wagenaar said. Most of the three-point attempts came when the game was well in hand and after the Knights had begun substituting midway through the third quarter.

Sunnyside Christian was led by Joel Koopmans and Jason Friend, who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively. Koopmans also recorded eight rebounds and eight assists, while teammate Marc De Jong climbed the ladder for a team-high nine boards to go with five steals.

The Knights' Danny Van Boven dished out seven assists to go with nine points, and teammate Steven Broersma cleaned the glass with eight caroms.

The 94 points is a season-high for the Knights, who now look ahead to the District title game this Friday against Klickitat. The contest will be held in the Zillah Middle School gym and begins at 7:30 p.m.

The winner automatically advances as District champion to the State 1B tourney in Yakima next week, while the losing team must play a loser-out District contest in Zillah this Saturday.

Wagenaar said his message to the Knights is the same as it has been throughout the postseason. "Find a way to advance to the next day. There will be time to celebrate after it's over but now we talk about advancing."

Advancing to State for Sunnyside Christian, 15-5, means taking care of business in the District title tilt. "We're focusing on Friday," Wagenaar said. "We want to be intense, play smart and get it done."


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