RICHLAND - The Sunnyside Christian boys basketball team, behind junior Brandon Broersma and senior Trevor Wagenaar, broke open a fairly tight game with an 18-7 explosion in the third quarter last Friday.
The 1B Knights went on to notch a convincing 58-46 victory on the 2B Liberty Christian Patriots' home floor.
Friday's non-league win improves Sunnyside Christian's record to 4-3 on the season. The Knights continue the non-league portion of their schedule this week with a game against 1A LaSalle at West Valley on Tuesday and a home game on Wednesday against a highly touted team from Waitsburg and Prescott high schools.
Last Friday, Broersma and Wagenaar combined for 14 of the Knights' 18 third-quarter points to help increase Sunnyside Christian's 27-22 halftime cushion to a comfortable 16-point lead.
All told, Wagenaar came away with game-high scoring honors. He pumped in 24 points, which included knocking down 11 of the Knights' 13 points in the second period. Wagenaar was a solid 10-for-17 from the floor through the first three quarters, but four missed shots in the final period tarnished his shooting numbers a bit.
His father, SCHS Coach Dean Wagenaar, said the Patriots did a much better job of bottling up his son in the second half. He said he also noticed that the younger Wagenaar didn't have as much spring in his legs late in the game, "...which kind of explains why some of his shots were just reaching the front of the rim.
"He's getting a little fatigued with all the minutes he's playing," admitted the long-time coach.
The 6'7" Broersma, besides leading his club to a 32 to 31 rebounding advantage with a team-high nine caroms gathered in, drained 7-of-9 shots from the field enroute to chipping in 14 points against the Patriots. The lanky post player also rejected seven shot attempts by Liberty Christian.
SCHS point guard Alex Brouwer, a junior, enjoyed his third double-digit scoring performance of the season with his 13-point effort last Friday.
Liberty Christian was paced by the duo of Brandon Peterson and Mike Olsen with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Together, they drilled five of the Patriots' 10 three-pointers that found the bottom of the net.
It was the long range shooting of the Patriots that caused Sunnyside Christian a bit of a problem, as they hoisted it often from behind the 3-point arc, 24 times in all.
"It forced us to switch out of our match-up zone coverage to a 1-2-2 zone," said Coach Wagenaar. "It worked for awhile in stopping them from putting it up from out there, but eventually they extended it so far out that we had trouble in preventing them from taking the shots."
Five of those long range bombs ended up being on target in the final period, which allowed the Patriots to outscore Sunnyside Christian by a 17-13 margin down the stretch.
In assessing Friday's game, Coach Wagenaar said he was extremely pleased in the way his club broke the defensive press that the Patriots applied after halftime. "I believe they only got us to commit one turnover off their press," he said. "We took care of the ball really well."
The one area Wagenaar said he'd like his club to improve upon, however, is in valuing each possession.
"You only get x number of possessions each game, and you have to make the most of them. We need to do a little better job in that area."