YAKIMA - Bouncing back from a stinging loss last Thursday, the Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team cruised to a 68-37 win over the Curlew Cougars on Friday to set up a trophy round contest on Saturday against the Tulalip Heritage Hawks.
But against the Hawks the Knights failed to hold onto a first half lead and lost, 56-52, to settle for seventh place at the 1B State Basketball Tournament.
Friday's game against the Cougars started out as a tight contest but the Knights opened things up in the second and third quarters.
"After we watched them play we felt that if we kept the game up-tempo for 32 minutes then we would have an advantage with our guards," Sunnyside Coach Dean Wagenaar said.
The other goal was to keep the ball away from Curlew's big guy, Jordon Wakefield.
SCHS was able to do just that with a stifling trapping defense. The Knights built a 15-10 first quarter lead and then exploded in the second for 21 points and a 36-19 halftime lead.
The Knights started the quarter with a 10-0 run.
"Our trapping was extremely successful," Wagenaar added.
The third quarter was even more lopsided in the Knights' favor as the onslaught continued. SCHS started the period with a 16-0 run and would outscore the Cougars 23-5 in the period.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around the Knights had emptied its bench and just cruised to the finish.
Sunnyside Christian's defense gave the Cougars fits all game. Curlew turned the ball over 18 times in the first half and 34 times for the game. The smothering defense made it hard for Curlew's shooters to find the basket, which resulted in 33 percent shooting from the floor.
The Knights, however, shot 44 percent for the game and recorded 20 steals in the contest.
This allowed SCHS 14 more shot opportunities from the field.
Steven Broersma led the Knights with 14 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Steven Bosma followed that with 12 points. Tim DeVries had 10 points for the Knights and freshman Trevor Wagenaar added eight points.
The Cougars were led by Tanner Somday with 12 points and Wakefield with eight points. Wakefield also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
On Saturday the Knights played for fourth place honors but settled for seventh when they lost to the Tulalip Heritage Hawks, 56-52.
"We played a great first half," Wagenaar said. "Right before halftime (Lesjar) McKinney hit a three-point shot with us all over him and that kind of changed the momentum of the game."
SCHS spotted the Hawks a 6-0 lead before going on an 11-0 run starting with a Bosma three-point shot. The Knights would finish the first quarter with an 11-9 lead.
The second quarter was more of a see-saw type battle with both teams keeping pace with the other. Late in the period Sunnyside Christian built an eight-point lead at 31-23 before McKinney cut the lead to five points before the half.
In the second half the Knights' offense slowed down, due in part to turnovers. SCHS committed eight in the third quarter as the Hawks mounted their comeback. Tulalip cut the lead to 31-30 before the Knights went back up by five points, 35-30. Before the end of the quarter the Hawks would whittle down the Knights' lead to just one point, 39-38.
Tulalip took the lead for the first time since the first quarter on another McKinney three-point shot early at the start of the fourth period. Sunnyside never regained the lead after that.
"We had too many turnovers in the second half," Wagenaar said. "We were trying to force the ball into the posts too much.
"Give them (Tulalip) credit though," he added. "They shot well from the free throw line."
The Hawks used those free throws to keep SCHS at bay down the stretch.
Leading the Knights was Broersma with 16 points and eight rebounds. He was followed by Matt Crabtree with 11 points and seven rebounds. Teammates Wagenaar and Bosma finished with seven points.
The Hawks were led by McKinney with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Keith Davis scored 13 points for Tulalip Heritage and Shawn Comenote had four points.
The Knights finish the season with a record of 13-13.