The 1B Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights basketball team opened with a 15-2 run and never looked back in a 51-34 win over visiting 2B Waitsburg-Prescott last night, Wednesday.
"I was concerned about a letdown after beating a very good team (LaSalle) the night before," said Coach Al Smeenk. "But the girls were determined not to let down, we played well."
The visiting Cardinals had no answer for Sunnyside Christian's Stormee Van Belle, who pounded inside for 23 points and 10 rebounds and helped the Lady Knights to a 32-to-23 rebounding advantage.
"It was tough down the middle and they (the Cardinals) did a lot of banging," said Smeenk. "But the girls did not back down."
Van Belle, a sophomore, made the most of her trips through the paint, canning 11-of-15 attempts from the free throw line.
"Stormee came out fired up and this is what we expect from her on a daily basis," Smeenk said of Van Belle's double-double. "She can be a very good ballplayer. She's got a lot of God-given gifts."
Of course, Van Belle had plenty of help in holding off the Cardinals, who never got closer than 14 points after the Lady Knights built a 26-10 lead at the half.
Katie Long tallied 10 points for Sunnyside Christian and teammate Maddie Wavrin added five points. Marissa Broersma and Alyssa Haak chipped in four points each for the Lady Knights, while teammates Micki Williams and Kara Den Hoed scored two points each.
Dionna Baker scored eight points to lead Waitsburg-Prescott.
Smeenk praised his squad's man-to-man defensive effort, especially in the first quarter run that set the tone for the game. "The 30-second clock went off several times," he said of his team's ability to hold the Cardinals without a shot attempt before the 30-second shot clock expired.
Sunnyside Christian (7-0) is off until it opens league play at Klickitat on Jan. 6, 2012.
"We're going to work on handling pressure," Smeenk said of his team's focus during the break. "Sometimes we get going too fast and throw the ball away. We're going to see what we can do to cut down on the mistakes.