As of Thursday, March 1, 2018
SPOKANE The Sunnyside Christian girls used their quarterfinals game as a tune-up for tougher teams awaiting them in the state 1B Hardwood Classic basketball tournament Thursday afternoon in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
The Knights dominated the Selkirk Rangers from the beginning until their 56-30 victory.
“We hadn’t playd for a while and we were ready to go,” Knights coach Al Smeenk said. “We were excited to play.”
The Knights put 11 points on the board and erased almost 10 minutes of the first quarter before Selkirk could get on the board.
The team would score 15 points in each of the first three quarters while holding the Rangers to single-digits.
The Knights only put up 11 points in the final quarter, but the coach was busy making sure everyone on his roster got some court time in.
“If we can get them in there, we want to,” he said.
But while the bench was getting its time in, a trainer was icing and wrapping the elbow of Knights stand-out Sailor Liefke.
“She had fallen earlier and got a huge bump on her elbow,” Smeenk said. “They’ve got it iced now and they’re giving her medicine for her swelling.”
The coach credited Liefke for her work ethic on the court each and every game.
“She gives it everything she’s got,” he said.
Liefke scored 18 points in the game, second only to senior teammate Emily Banks, who netted 20. Alyssa Martin added another 13 for the Knights.
Sophie Halma scored 4 points and Jenna Andringa 1.
Across the court, Selkirk was led by Ellen Huttle with 9 points.
Rangers Bree Dawson and Gabi Rick each added 7.
“Gabi Rick played really well against us last year,” Smeenk said, noting his girls “did a really good job” shutting her down.
Still, Rick managed a game-high 8 rebounds. Banks led the Knights with 6 rebounds.
After the game, the Knights girls were planning to take a seat in the arena to watch Almira/Coulee-Hartline take on perennial powerhouse Colton.
The winner will face Sunnyside Christian in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, in the arena. The winner of that game will head to the title game Saturday.
Smeenk said that no matter who wins, the game will be a more intense battle. But his money was on Colton.
“They didn’t win it last year, but prior to that, they won it the last six years in a row,” he said of the 1B girls state title. “Colton is dynamite.
“They are good, they are quick and they press,” he said. “They all shoot the 3s and they all play man-to-man defense.”
But don’t sell the Knights short.
“We’re here and we’re glad to be here,” he said. “We’ll give them our best shot.”