Irish help Sunnyside Christian give early presents to coach Smeenk

Sunnyside Christian coach Al Smeenk picks up his 500th win at the school with the 55-34 victory over DeSales' girls Wednesday night.

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WALLA WALLA — Sunnyside Christian presented coach Al Smeenk with a couple of early Christmas presents Wednesday night in the DeSales gym during non-conference girls basketball action.

It placed four players in double figures and handed Smeenk his 500th win at the school — a 55-34 victory over DeSales.

Julie Long and Kelly Newhouse set the pace for the Knights with 11 points apiece. Hilari Bosma and Joleen Van Wingerden tallied 10 each.

"It’s a great school with a great bunch of kids," said Smeenk, now in his 28th season at the helm.

Both teams started slowly in the scoring department. DeSales had a 2-0 lead before the Knights got on the board at the 2:27 mark of the opening period on a pair of free throws by Van Wingerden.

The Irish claimed a 5-2 edge with 2:12 on the clock when Annie Higgins knocked down a 3-point shot.

But baskets by Van Wingerden and Newhouse gave Sunnyside Christian a 6-5 edge after one.

Analisa Van Oostrum picked up all seven of her points on the night during a second quarter in which the Knights increased their lead to 13, 22-9, heading into halftime. Sunnyside Christian shot 50 percent from the floor (7-of-14) and limited DeSales to one field goal in seven attempts.

At times, DeSales proved to be its own worst enemy. The Irish were guilty of 14 turnovers in the first half.

"We played hard, but we couldn’t knock shots down in the first half," DeSales coach Tim Duncan said. "We got good looks."

Each team came out blazing in the third quarter. Higgins drilled a straight-away 3 at the 7:39 mark that brought the Irish within 10, 22-12, and commenced an amazing period in which DeSales made seven of its eight shots from the field.

But the Knights were able to extend their lead to 19, 47-28, by the end of the frame with 10 makes on 15 tries from the floor.

Sunnyside Christian went the first 6:24 of the final quarter without a point, but the Irish were unable to capitalize.

"We know any time we come here, we’re going to face a hard-working and disciplined bunch of young ladies," Smeenk said. "They bring out the best in us. They’re well coached."

"They’re better than we are," Duncan said. "They are a senior-dominated team. They tend to play better early in the year than young teams do."

Higgins led DeSales with nine points and Roxana Acock added eight.

The Irish host the Blue Mountain Officials’ Association Shamrock Shootout next Tuesday and Wednesday on the Whitman College campus.

SUNNYSIDE CHRISTIAN (55) — Haak 0-1 2-2 2, Van Oostrum 3-11 0-1 7, Bosma 4-15 0-0 10, Long 4-8 0-0 11, Van Wingerden 4-6 2-2 10, Broersma 0-0 0-2 0, Newhouse 5-7 1-2 11, Dalrymple 1-3 0-0 2, DeGroot 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 22-53 5-10 55.

DESALES (34) — Konen 0-1 0-0 0, Higgins 3-9 0-0 9, Klicker 1-1 2-4 4, Acock 3-4 0-0 8, Duncan 1-6 4-9 6, Giusti 1-1 0-0 3, Blanc 0-0 0-0 0, Majerus 2-2 0-2 4, Hanson 0-0 0-0 0, Zander 0-1 0-0 0, Ferrel 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 11-28 6-15 34.

Sunnyside Ch. 6 16 25 8 — 55

DeSales 5 4 19 6 — 34

3-point goals — Sunnyside Christian 6-18 (Long 3-4, Bosma 2-9, Van Oostrum 1-3, Haak 0-1, Van Wingerden 0-1), DeSales 6-18 (Higgins 3-7, Acock 2-3, Giusti 1-1, Konen 0-1, Ferrel 0-2, Duncan 0-4). Total fouls—Sunnyside Christian 15, DeSales 9. Fouled out—none. Technical fouls—none. Rebounds—Sunnyside Christian 32 (Bosma 6, Dalrymple 6), DeSales 30 (Duncan 8). Turnovers—Sunnyside Christian 12, DeSales 23.

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