ZILLAH - Sunnyside Christian shrugged off a sluggish second quarter to hold off Lyle-Wishram 45-40 in the District title game last Friday.
The Knights actually trailed 23-19 at the half after the Cougars went on a 14-4 surge in the second stanza.
Sunnyside Christian was plagued by five turnovers in the second quarter against Lyle's pressure defense, and Coach Brian Bosma said the Knights settled for long-range shot attempts.
Bosma and company righted the ship in the third quarter as big man Brandon Broersma scored four quick points to open the frame and help the Knights regain the lead.
Just as quickly, though, Broersma was whistled for his fourth foul and went to the pine. Broersma, who tallied just six points for the game, didn't return until midway through the fourth quarter, and then for only about 10 seconds before he fouled out.
Sunnyside Christian's primary sharpshooter, Alex Brouwer, was also hampered by Lyle's pressure and scored just two points on only four shot attempts for the game.
The Knights' offense had to come from somewhere, though, and the team showed its depth as Darren Broersma, Brandon's brother, patrolled the paint and scored six points, blocked two shots and hauled down four offensive rebounds all in the second half.
"Darren did a very nice job filling in for his brother," Bosma said of the sophomore. "He helped us big time."
From the perimeter, Sunnyside Christian's Joel Martin stepped up with a pair of treys to tally nine points. Brant Bosma led the Knights with 11 points.
Coach Bosma says the key for his team in turning around the game in the second half was execution.
"We started running our plays a lot better," he said. "We had to grind it out. It never looked pretty."
Sunnyside Christian will have to hold off on its District title celebrations. Its reward for gutting out a fourth tough win this season over Lyle is a four-hour drive to play Three Rivers Christian in Montesano this coming Saturday.
It's a loser-out affair in this Sub-Regional game, meaning a win and the Knights are through to the State tourney's Regional round and a loss would end the season.
It's a high-stakes scenario unfamiliar to Sunnyside Christian (21-2), which by now typically has its bags packed for State.
"Our District did not get a very good deal," Bosma said. It's a good deal for Lyle, which now has a shot at claiming a State berth after losing the District title game, but not so much for the District champs.
The coach says his team is already gearing up for Three Rivers to make the best of the situation. He's already started scouting the opponent and has tape for his team to watch.
Bosma figures Three Rivers will probably try to scout his team, too, but last weekend certainly demonstrated there's no sure way to stop the Knights.
"I think we're balanced enough that it's hard to say take away this player or that one," he said. "Lyle knows us better than anyone...we had our top two scorers taken away and we still won."