YAKIMA - After 14 lead changes and four ties last night in the Yakima Sun Dome at the 1B State tournament, the Sunnyside Christian girls basketball team suffered a 59-57 loss to the Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors.
The Warriors opened the game with a field goal 12 seconds into the game, but the Lady Knights took control of the ball and Renee Dalrymple tossed it to Julie Long, who scored a trey a minute later.
Almira/Coulee-Hartline's defense stepped up and Madeline Isaak of the Lady Warriors changed the score again from within the paint.
The Lady Warriors made another basket before Joleen Van Wingerden of Sunnyside Christian scored two points, placing the game at 5-6.
A basket from outside the arc by Long gave the Lady Knights the lead again, and they held it as the team continued to pull away before ending the first quarter ahead 15-10.
Sunnyside Christian picked up the second quarter where they left off. They continued to ward off the Warriors, for the first 33 seconds of the quarter, but a personal foul was called on Alyssa Haak, giving Almira/Coulee-Hartline's Sarah Gloyn two shots from the free throw line.
She made each of her shots, and the Lady Knights took possession of the ball. Haak tossed it to Dalrymple, who scored a layup.
The Lady Knights didn't get a chance at the free throw line in the first half, but Almira/Coulee-Hartline was 9-for-12 from the charity line.
The Warriors broke for the half up 29-28 after nine lead changes at that point.
Sunnyside Christian Coach Al Smeenk said, "The game was awesome and we went into it knowing someone was going to win and someone was going to lose."
He said his team "put everything on the floor."
The Lady Knights opened the second half when Long sank a ball from outside the three-point arc. Sunnyside Christian took the lead 31-29.
With only 44 seconds having passed in the third quarter the Lady Warriors managed to tie the game at 31-31, after a field goal from Nikki Osborne.
Analisa Van Oostrum of the Lady Knights a little more than a minute later got the ball to Marisa Broersma for a layup, giving Sunnyside Christian the lead again.
The Lady Knights held the lead with the help of Broersma and Kelly Newhouse. Broersma assisted Newhouse for two more layups and four more points.
Sunnyside Christian's defense held the Lady Warriors off, but a personal foul was called on Broersma with 2:12 on the clock and Lady Warrior Osborne nibbled the deficit to within three points. She assisted teammate Kelsey Streeter for a three-point shot and Almira/Coulee-Hartline went up 43-42.
The Lady Warriors ended the third quarter ahead 46-42 after another three-point basket by Isaak.
The final quarter was just as exciting and Smeenk said his team had a tremendous desire for the win. "This was one of our best games all year," he shared.
Long was the first of the Lady Knights to score with a long ball assisted by Van Wingerden eight seconds into the quarter. That brought the Lady Knights within a point of the Lady Warriors, and Van Oostrum got the defensive rebound on the other end of the court, passing it to Long. Almira/Coulee-Hartline's Osborne stole the ball and Van Oostrum fouled Isaak, who sank two from the charity line.
It was back-and-forth throughout the quarter with two ties and four lead changes in the final quarter. With two minutes left in the game, the Lady Warriors tied it 57-57 and 1:05 was left on the clock when Isaak scored the final two points.
Sunnyside Christian's Julie Long was 6-for-13 from the field, was 5-for-10 from outside the three-point arc and scored an overall 17 points to lead the Lady Knights.
Teammates Joleen Van Wingerden provided six assists and snatched five balls from the glass; Kelly Newhouse scored 16 points and grabbed nine balls from the boards; and Renee Dalrymple scored four points and had six boards.
Ashley Haak got the lone steal for the Lady Knights.
"My girls worked hard and their reactions were each different to such a difficult loss," said Smeenk of the 59-57 loss. He said his staff hurt with the girls, but when he asked when the team would focus on today's consolation game against North Sound Christian, one senior girl replied, "As soon as we walk out of here."
The Lady Knights only committed eight turnovers, and Smeenk said they played extremely well. "We've gotta bounce back to play as well tonight," he shared.
Sunnyside Christian takes to the Sun Dome hardwood at 4 p.m. today.