GOLDENDALE - The Sunnyside Christian Knights continued their road trip last night in Goldendale - they were in the Olympia area just last Saturday - and prevailed to earn a second seed at the State 1B's Regional tourney.
Monday night the Knights (23-2) bested Columbia Adventist Academy from Battle Ground by a score of 57-44. Sunnyside Christian jumped out to a 21-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
The game was not a loser-out affair, as the Knights faced last Saturday, but rather all about seeding to determine who and where they will play next at Regionals.
Sunnyside Christian Coach Brian Bosma said it was an unusual contest in that neither team employed their full strategies as future opponents were in the stands scouting them.
In fact, after the Knights' fast start the Kodiaks began substituting players. By midway through the third, both teams were playing their reserves. All of Sunnyside Christian's players saw time on the court last night.
"Once we jumped out early I think they decided to let it go," Bosma said of the Kodiaks. "I think the key was jumping out early."
Sunnyside Christian, which led 31-22 at the half, received a big boost last night from Alex Brouwer and his game-high 22 points. Brouwer is the Knights' leading scorer, but in the past couple of games had been limited by opposing defenses.
That wasn't the case Monday night.
"We pressed early on and he got some of his points in transition," Bosma said of Brouwer. "He earned his points on drives to the basket and a couple of threes."
In addition to pressing on defense, the Knights benefitted from aggressive offensive rebounding. They were paced by Drew Scheenstra's 14 boards, six of them off the offensive glass. For the game, Sunnyside Christian collected 15 offensive caroms to just five for the Kodiaks.
After taking a nine-point lead into the halftime locker room, Sunnyside Christian sealed last night's win with a 14-6 run to open the third quarter.
Brandon Broersma added 10 points for the Knights in what was essentially three quarters of action after the Knights and Kodiaks began substituting.
Columbia Adventist was paced by David Irias' 14 points.
With the second seed in hand, Sunnyside Christian's road trip picks up again this coming Saturday back in the Olympia area, at Lacey's Timberline High School, where it will face Evergreen Lutheran from the Kent area.
Bosma said Evergreen Lutheran won their seeding game last night in something of an upset over Tulalip. "We had been scouting Tulalip, expecting to play them," he said.
Saturday's game is another loser-out contest, with the winner advancing to the State 1B elight eight in Spokane next Thursday and the loser ending their season.
The focus now, says Bosma, is learning as much as he can about Evergreen Lutheran. "We know they have a freshman point guard who can shoot 3's and a 6-5 junior post," he said. "We need to make sure we have them covered."