As of Tuesday, March 8, 2016
SPOKANE The Sunnyside Christian boys basketball team defeated Yakama Tribal, 49-40, Saturday to secure the third-place trophy this weekend at the 2016 1B Hardwood Classic.
In Friday’s semifinals the Sunnyside Christian boys were dealt a tough loss, 61-58 to Neah Bay. Despite trailing for most of the game, the Knights were given an opportunity to take the lead with a minute to go but turned over the ball as the Red Devils made a jumper to seal the win.
“It was difficult to take the loss after coming so close,” coach Dean Wagenaar said. “We had a sense of what could’ve happened if we did this differently but we had a game to focus on next.”
This would be the sixth time the two teams faced each other this season, with both the Knights and Yakama Tribal being from the same league, the 1B Greater Columbia Gorge. The Knights won four of the previous five, with the last win coming on a last-second shot to win 62-61 in the district tournament final.
In the first quarter, Luke Wagenaar of Sunnyside Christian opened up the scoring as Knights went on an 8-0 run to begin the game. But Yakama Tribal would get close as it went on an 11-4 run after that finishing with Isiah Strom’s three to cut the lead to only one point.
As the second quarter started the Eagles were quick to tie the game midway through, but Chance Marsh made one from downtown to restore the Knights lead. Both teams would exchange points as the half would end with Sunnyside Christian up 22-19.
With a 3-point lead and only another half left to play, the Knights scored a quick jumper to begin the third.
Yakama Tribal got as close as two points in the quarter after three minutes of play but Sunnyside Christian would pull away again, increasing the lead to six as the third ended.
In the final period of play, the Eagles score three points from the charity stripe to pull within 31-28. That would be the closest they’d get in the fourth as the Knights took advantage of the Eagles’ fouls, scoring 13 of their 18 points from the line during the last quarter to seal the win.
“We played well defensively as the game went back and forth, but we were able to get the lead early on and hold on to it,” Wagenaar said.
Lane Marsh led the way with 15 points for the Knights, while Luke Wagenaar added 11. Cade Bosma would grab eight boards.
The Eagles leading scorer was Christian Hanson, who had 11 points.
The Sunnyside Christian boys finished the season 23-6 and with the third-place trophy, they had the highest place among all boys’ basketball programs in the valley.
“We had a great season overall and we have a lot of ability in the ranks still,” Wagenaar said, knowing he has all but one player returning next year.
Wagenaar would go on to praise the lone senior, Connor Duim, as he will graduate this June after playing four years.
“He (Duim) was a part of this special group to make it to the final eight again and his leadership will be missed.
“Now it’s on to another season from here.”