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Sunnyside Christian wins battle of unbeatens

YAKIMA - It was a tale of two halves, as the Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights basketball team rallied from 11 points down to defeat host LaSalle 40-33 last night, Tuesday.

Sunnyside Christian, a 1B school, used a 27-12 second half run to knock off the previously unbeaten 1A Lightning.

"We turned things around in the second half and handled their pressure much better," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Al Smeenk, whose team trailed by as much as 21-10 in the first half.

Smeenk said his team initially struggled against LaSalle's pressure defense. "It looked like one of those games where we were going to have to claw just to keep the score respectable," he said.

The Lady Knights did much more than that in the second half, and Smeenk praised the senior guard trio of Alyssa Haak, Katie Long and Kara Den Hoed for sparking the rally.

"There were no big speeches at halftime, it's a credit to the senior guards who had to withstand tremendous pressure all night," said Smeenk.

The coach said his team installed a press breaker strategy at the half, and also switched from a man-to-man defense to a modified zone for the second half.

Smeenk said it was more than strategy that rallied his team past the Lightning.

"We have to work harder and have more heart because we know there are teams better than us out there and we can't quit," he said. "We as coaches didn't do anything great last night, the players deserve the credit, not us."

Marissa Broersma and Den Hoed accounted for 15 of Sunnyside Christian's 27 second half points, with eight and seven points, respectively.

For the game, Broersma tallied 12 points and Den Hoed nine.

Den Hoed helped ice the game for Sunnyside Christian in the final minutes, as she was 6-for-7 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Haak scored all six of her points in the second half, and Stormee Van Belle added five points for the Lady Knights.

Broersma collected nine rebounds to lead Sunnyside Christian in the paint.

The Lady Knights (6-0) wrap up 2011 and the non-league schedule with a home game tonight, Wednesday, against 2B Waitsburg-Prescott.

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