In a battle of teams ranked in the top 10, the Sunnyside Christian girls' basketball team prevailed at home over White Swan 63-54 last night, Tuesday.
The Lady Knights are ranked fifth in the 1B ranks, while the Cougars are ranked fourth a level up at 2B.
In a see-saw battle royal, Sunnyside Christian led the host Cougars 12-8 after one quarter, only to trail White Swan 24-22 at the half and 44-39 after three quarters.
The Lady Knights rallied for the victory by outscoring White Swan 24-10 in the fourth quarter.
Sunnyside Christian Coach Al Smeenk said the difference was that White Swan threw "every kind of press" at his team in the final quarter.
The Lady Knights, he said, responded by attacking the hoop. "I told the girls they cannot be passive, to make them (the Cougars) pay on the other end and go straight to the hoop."
The result is that Sunnyside Christian was a perfect 14-of-14 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, as White Swan fouled repeatedly when the Lady Knights broke the press.
Smeenk praised the play of Katie Long in driving to the hoop in the fourth quarter, making all six of her attempts from the charity line.
For the game, Janelle DeGroot scored 18 points and hauled down 12 rebounds to lead Sunnyside Christian. Teammate Marissa Broersma tallied 12 points and collected 10 rebounds. Long scored 13 points for the Lady Knights.
A key to the game, Smeenk noted, is Sunnyside Christian's ability to rebound, as the Lady Knights recorded a 39-18 advantage in the paint. "They only got one shot," he said of his team's ability to keep the Cougars away from the offensive glass.
Smeenk also gave credit to White Swan. "They are so quick, we had to change defenses a couple of times."
Over all, the coach noted, "It was nip and tuck the whole way, it was a great game. Had we lost it still would have been a beautiful game. The only problem is that someone had to lose."
Sunnyside Christian (11-3) plays at Yakama Tribal this Friday.
- John Fannin can be reached at 837-4500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org