TOPPENISH - All 11 Sunnyside Christian players found the bottom of the net last night in their dominating 72-19 victory over the Yakama Tribal Eagles.
The win sewed up the Columbia Gorge 1B League title for the Lady Knights, who are now 7-0 in conference play and 12-4 overall. Sunnyside Christian has just one league game remaining, that this coming Saturday night at home against Trout Lake.
Tuesday evening on Tribal's home court in Toppenish, the Lady Knights jumped out to a 21-4 first quarter lead, then socked the game away with a bruising 24-2 scoring burst in the second period.
Coach Al Smeenk's girls clamped down on the Eagles early, opening the game with a full-court defensive press. That led to Yakama Tribal eventually committing 37 turnovers.
"We hit 'em hard with our press," he said. "I like to get the blood flowing."
Midway through the first period Smeenk pulled his charges back into a half-court trap. It wasn't long after that he changed the coverage to simple man defense.
But even with the softer defensive alignment, the Eagles never really could get anything going. Behind identical six-point performances from Ashley Ike and Lorena Sweowat, Yakama Tribal scored only five points in the third quarter and eight in the final stanza.
Part of the problem for the Eagles is that the majority of their shots are put up from long range.
"They shoot a lot, but just about everything is from way out there," said Smeenk.
In tallying 72 points against Tribal, Sunnyside Christian got double-digit scoring from Melanie Van Wingerden, Kelly Newhouse and Hilari Bosma. The senior Van Wingerden lit up the scoreboard for 23 points, with Newhouse and Bosma adding efforts of 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Lady Knights shot at a 38 percent clip, but that included making only 1-of-8 from behind the three-point line. The lone bomb that went in was launched by junior Ashley Haak, from the half-court line area at the first quarter buzzer.
Sunnyside Christian, struggling from the free throw line all season up until last night, nailed 17-of-22 foul shots. The Eagles were only 5-for-14 from the charity stripe.
Besides the trio of Van Wingerden, Newhouse and Bosma combining for 46 points, Sunnyside Christian also got eight points from Joleen Van Wingerden, four from Renee Dalrymple, three apiece by Abby Bangs and Haak, and two points from Makaela Duim, Julie Long and Analisa Van Oostrum.
The Lady Knights more than doubled up Yakama Tribal in rebounds collected, pulling down 39 rebounds to the Eagles' 18 boards. Christian's rebounding leaders included Newhouse with seven caroms, and Dalrymple and the older Van Wingerden with six apiece.
Before taking on Trout Lake in the last league game of the season this coming Saturday, the Lady Knights will host a non-conference affair on Friday against the Wahluke Warriors.