TOUCHET - Sunnyside Christian Coach Al Smeenk is expecting big things down the road from freshman Stormee Van Belle. He and the rest of the Lady Knight basketball fans who trekked to Touchet yesterday got a glimpse of that future potential greatness.
The 5'11" underclassman scraped a game-high nine rebounds off the glass and dropped in eight points to help lead the Lady Knight hoop team to a dominating 48-26 victory over the Touchet Indians.
Wednesday's non-league win upped Sunnyside Christian's overall record on the season to 5-3. The Lady Knights will be out of action for two weeks, not returning to the court until Jan. 7, when they host the Klickitat Vandals in what will be the 1B league opener for both those clubs.
In knocking off the 1B Indians last night, who Smeenk described as an athletic bunch, Sunnyside Christian pieced together a 32-9 scoring burst in the middle two quarters to firmly take control. The Lady Knights went 8-for-12 from the field in the second period in outscoring Touchet by a 20-8 margin. In the third quarter, Sunnyside Christian was 6-for-13 in field goal shooting enroute to outscoring the Indians by a 12-1 margin in the period.
Those shooting numbers were in stark contrast to how Sunnyside Christian opened the game, as the team could put just three points on the scoreboard in the first quarter. The Lady Knights could get just 1-of-12 shots to drop in the opening period, "...and most of those attempts were from inside the paint. We had good looks, the ball just didn't drop," said Smeenk. "We'll be working on our shooting form quite a bit over the holiday break."
The saving grace for Sunnyside Christian in the opening period was its great defensive play, as the Lady Knights limited Touchet to just four points.
Scoring-wise overall, as has been the case most of this season, no one Lady Knight stood out from the pack. Analisa Van Oostrum, one of only two seniors on the team, managed to hit double-digits with her 10-point effort. Right on her heels were teammates Janelle DeGroot and Van Belle with eight apiece, Kara den Hoed with six points, Makayla Morrow and Marisa Broersma with five each, four points from Katie Long and two by Maddy Wavrin.
There is no true go-to girl on this year's club, admits Smeenk, but he said that can be an advantage in terms of the opposing teams not being able to design special defenses focused on shutting down one or two players who are used to carrying the scoring load.
In hitting the boards last night, both teams were pretty evenly matched. The Lady Knights enjoyed a slight advantage, coming away with 35 rebounds to the 30 caroms snagged by the Indians. Van Belle's nine boards led all rebounders.
Smeenk said each team totaled 16 offensive rebounds, "...which means we didn't block out very well."
Defensively, Sunnyside Christian forced the Indians into committing 21 turnovers. Fifteen of those cough-ups were the direct result of steals, with Van Oostrum leading the way with four swipes.
Touchet's leading scorer last night was its point guard, Frazier, who canned a game-best 12 points.