Barring a measles epidemic at Sunnyside Christian High School, the Knights are a lock to advance to the 1B State tournament for the fifth consecutive year.
The Sunnyside Christian boys basketball team completed the first half of its league schedule this past Friday, hosting Trout Lake/Glenwood, and came away with a dominating 72-37 victory.
The win gives the Knights a 4-0 record against their conference foes. Based on their average margin of victory of 39 points against the four teams in the Greater Columbia 1B League, there's little doubt Sunnyside Christian won't run the table on the second go-round of its league schedule enroute to putting up a perfect 8-0 record.
Last Friday, it quickly became evident that Trout Lake/Glenwood was no match for the Knights. Sunnyside Christian, getting balanced scoring, raced out to a 21-2 first quarter lead. SCHS Coach Dean Wagenaar began substituting players into the game early on in the second period, but even with clearing his bench his Knights still came away with a 14-12 scoring advantage in the second quarter.
Wagenaar re-inserted his starters after intermission, giving them a solid six minutes of playing time before emptying his bench. The result was a 28-11 third quarter thrashing administered by the Knights.
Trout Lake/Glenwood, trailing by a 63-25 count heading into the final stanza, did close the gap on the Knights by outscoring Sunnyside Christian's reserves by a 12-9 margin in the final period.
The offensive leaders for Sunnyside Christian included the trio of Steven Broersma, Kevin DeJong and Trevor Wagenaar, who canned 23, 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Tim DeVries also turned in a nifty performance for the Knights. He stopped and popped for eight points, and came away with a game-high 10 rebounds, six of the caroms from the offensive glass. Coupled with the nine rebounds collected by DeJong and the seven scooped up by Broersma, Sunnyside Christian outboarded the visitors by a 46 to 23 margin.
Trout Lake/Glenwood's Tygh Schuster, who nailed two long-range 3's in the third quarter, the only shots that fell from treyland for the Mustangs, finished with a team-high 19 points in the losing cause. Glenwood's top scorers this season, brothers Andy and Jacob Wells, were limited to a combined six points up until all of Sunnyside Christian's reserves were on the floor in the fourth quarter. Each of the brothers came through with an additional four points late in the game with Sunnyside Christian's subs on the court.
The Knights made a clean sweep of it this past weekend when they held off the 2B LaSalle Lightning for a 59-51 non-league win Saturday evening.
The first time Sunnyside Christian faced the Lightning this season, back on Dec. 15, the Knights won going away, 57-33.
"We knew it was going to be a tougher game against them the second time," said Wagenaar, explaining that LaSalle has notched wins against some good teams since that first meeting. "Every game they've played this season they're improving," said the Sunnyside Christian coach.
Last Saturday, the Knights took a slim 30-26 lead into intermission. But behind Broersma's game-high 27 points, which came on 11-of-14 field goal shooting, Sunnyside Christian pieced together a 19-8 third quarter run to seemingly take control of the game.
The Lightning, however, still had some snap, pop and crackle to throw at the Knights.
Sunnyside Christian aided LaSalle's come-from-behind, fourth quarter efforts by taking several shots that Wagenaar could only shake his head at and call "inappropriate.
"Needless to say, they didn't fall," said Wagenaar.
The Lightning then began fouling the Sunnyside Christian players. The ploy worked, as the Knights could only get 4-of-9 free throws to fall down the stretch, two of the misses being 1-and-1 opportunities.
A crazy 3-point shot from downtown found the net for LaSalle, and all of a sudden the Lightning was within 55-50 with just under a minute to play.
LaSalle stayed with its fouling tactics and proceeded to hack DeJong. The 6'5" junior went to the charity stripe for a 1-and-1 opportunity, but the ball clanged off the rim. Fortunately for the Knights, the ball rimmed hard and long away from the hoop, allowing the 6'6" Broersma to nab the rebound. He promptly laid it in, and was fouled in the process, converting the opportunity into a three-point play and a 58-50 lead.
Each team made a single free throw in the closing seconds to account for the final 59-51 score.
Besides Broersma's 27 points, the only other Knight to score in double figures was Wagenaar, who chipped in 12 points.
LaSalle was led by Mike McGree with 22 points. Lightning teammates Joe Sullivan and Dylan Sattler added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Sunnyside Christian (4-0, 9-3) is scheduled to play another non-league game this coming Tuesday, at home, against 2B Moses Lake Christian.