SPOKANE - The Sunnyside Christian High School boys basketball team stamped its name in the State history books by winning its second straight 1B State title this past Saturday in Spokane with a 55-50 win against the Neah Bay Red Devils.
Sunnyside Christian has now won four of the last five 1B State titles and owns six of the last 10. This is the second time the Knights have won back-to-back State titles, having done so in 2007 and 2008.
After beating the Lummi Blackhawks last Thursday, the Knights defeated Almira Coulee Hartline in a close game on Friday, 50-44. This put SCHS in the finals on Saturday against Neah Bay.
The ACH Warriors were ranked No. 1 in the state and the Knights owned the No. 2 ranking. SCHS put Almira Coulee Hartline out of the State tournament last year and the Warriors were no doubt looking for some payback.
The game was controlled by Sunnyside Christian throughout the first three quarters of play. The Knights maintained a lead of between five and seven points for most of the contest.
"They wanted to run and gun," SCHS Coach Dean Wagenaar said of the Warriors. "We were able to neutralize them and control the pace of the game.
"We didn't not allow them to get in their running game, which they wanted to do very badly."
The Knights led 16-11 after the first quarter, but Almira Coulee Hartline stayed close, matching SCHS point for point in the second quarter to trail by five points going into halftime, 36-31.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as both teams were held to under 10 points. The Knights outscored the Warriors 8-4 in the third stanza to increase their lead to nine points.
Sunnyside Christian increased its lead to 41-30 in the fourth period and Wagenaar said it looked like his team was in great shape.
But the Warriors are a very quick team and they turned that speed, combined with some turnovers by the Knights, into a rally that eventually saw the game tied at 44. The turn-around took about two minutes and left the Knights stunned.
SCHS managed to score a basket to go up 46-44 and then both teams got stops. Then, Almira Coulee Hartline's Derek Isaak brought the ball down and drove for a lay-up, which was disrupted by SCHS's Trevor Wagenaar, who read the move and stole the ball.
Wagenaar was immediately fouled and buried both free throws to give the Knights a 48-44 lead. The Warriors then got off another shot but Kevin DeJong grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He hit both of his shots for the final score.
Trevor Wagenaar led the Knights with 12 points, including 10 in the first half of play, and six rebounds. Ryker Van Belle scored 11 points. DeJong finished with 10 points and four rebounds and teammate Steven Bosma finished with 10 points and five assists. Steven Broersma added seven points, grabbed 14 rebounds and recorded four blocks for the Knights.
The Warriors were led by Derek Issak with 19 points. Teammate Thunder Wellhausen had eight points. Brandon Boutain finished with seven points and Cody Jess scored six points.
"As a team we did a great job of executing, except for those two minutes in the fourth quarter," Wagenaar added.
The win set up the championship game with Neah Bay, a team that showed a lot of fight in the contest.
"They jumped on us in the first quarter," Wagenaar said. "Their biggest lead was seven points."
Led by Drexler Doherty, the Red Devils outscored SCHS 18-14 in the first quarter, a feat that is very rare.
Doherty gave the Knights fits all night. He scored a game-high 31 points, nailed three 3-point shots and drained all six of his free throws.
"He played phenomenal," Wagenaar said of Doherty. "Neah Bay as a whole played good."
The Knights took the lead in the second quarter by outscoring the Red Devils 17-7 in that stanza. SCHS got its first lead at 24-22 and never trailed again. Neah Bay would make its runs. SCHS was up by seven points in the third quarter but Neah Bay cut the lead back to just one point.
In the fourth quarter Neah Bay closed to within three points, 53-50, but Van Belle was fouled with 11 seconds remaining and was sent to the line for a 1-and-1. He missed, but Steven Broersma got the rebound and was fouled immediately. He drained both shots to put the Knights up 55-50.
The Red Devils outgunned the Knights on the boards, scooping up 37 rebounds to the Knights' 29. SCHS did hold an edge in offensive rebounds, 13 to 10. The Knights committed 15 turnovers to just 10 for Neah Bay, but shot 18-of-24 from the charity stripe. Neah Bay was 7-for-10. Probably the most important stat was shooting percentage. SCHS shot 41 percent from the field, while the Red Devils managed just 34 percent.
The Knights were led by Steven Broersma, who scored 24 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Steven Bosma had eight points in the contest. Van Belle added seven points. Wagenaar and Alex Brouwer each scored five points. DeJong added four points and grabbed six rebounds. Brandon Broersma had two points and five rebounds.
Besides Doherty's 31 points, Neah Bay got six points from Jimmy Jimmicum. Izaak Manuel and Zeke Greene each scored four points for the Red Devils.
SCHS Coach Wagenaar said his team was so impressed with the play of Doherty, that the Knights presented the Red Devil with part of the game net.
"Neah Bay is a class act," Wagenaar added.
The Knights finish the season with a 25-2 record. In the past five years at the State 1B tournament, the Knights have compiled a record of 18-2.