UNION GAP - There were no lightning strikes for LaSalle last night, as the 2B Lightning got upended in a big way by the 1B Sunnyside Christian Knights.
The Knights (2-1) jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead, then extended the advantage to 46-12 with just over a minute and a half to play in the third quarter before settling for a 57-33 non-league victory over LaSalle's boys basketball team.
Sunnyside Christian Coach Dean Wagenaar said the two clubs are similar, in that "...their strengths are our strengths.
"We just happen to do them better," he said.
LaSalle's game plan at Queen's Gym in Union Gap Tuesday evening was to feed the ball to the best athlete on the team, their big man, 6'3" Mike McGree. But with 6'6" Steven Broersma and 6'5" Kevin DeJong fronting him all night long, McGree never could get on track.
"He had a tough time shooting over our two big kids," said Wagenaar. "We always had a hand in his face."
McGree could only muster two points before Wagenaar emptied his bench. The Lightning post player did finish with a team-high eight points, but six of them came against Sunnyside Christian's reserves.
When it became evident that LaSalle wasn't going to light it up from inside the key, the Lightning elected to launch up bombs from 3-point land. The shots wouldn't fall, however, as LaSalle made just 2-of-15 from behind the 3-point arc.
Sunnyside Christian, on the other hand, had little trouble in finding the bottom of the net.
The 6'6" Broersma carried the scoring load early, dropping in all 10 of the Knights' first quarter points.
"We ran him off some cuts," said Wagenaar, detailing how his club exploited the 1-1-3 zone that LaSalle employed last night.
Broersma added another seven points through the final three quarters to finish with a game-high 17.
Also in double figures for the Knights were Tim DeVries and Trevor Wagenaar.
DeVries popped in 12 points to go along with his team-high 10 rebounds.
Wagenaar, who hit a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second quarter to spark an 18-4 second period run, also totaled 12 points. Ten of those came in the opening half. Wagenaar, too, tallied seven rebounds in the game.
For the game, Sunnyside Christian shot at a 42 percent clip from the field (22-for-52). LaSalle only made 18 percent of its field goal attempts.
"We shot pretty well when we needed to," said Wagenaar.
What pleased the Sunnyside Christian coach even more was the number of turnovers committed by his team last night. In the Knights' two previous games this season, they totaled more than 20 turnovers in each of those contests. Last night, Sunnyside Christian only coughed up the ball 14 times, just eight turnovers if you exclude the final six minutes of the game when the reserves were on the floor.
Sunnyside Christian continues its non-league schedule with a pair of games next Tuesday and Wednesday against Liberty Christian and DeSales. Both of those contests are on the road.