SPOKANE, Wash. — Early in this season, Al Smeenk wasn’t sure his Sunnyside Christian team would even be able to make the trip to Spokane for the Class 1B girls state tournament.
Those doubts arose after the third game of the season when Emily Banks, one of the team’s top threats at both ends of the floor, went down with a serious injury essentially ended her season.
But behind the team’s two seniors, Ayden Harrington and Kristen Broersma, the Knights (23-5) not only qualified for state, they reached the semifinals before their run came to an end, ultimately on Saturday morning at the Spokane Arena with a 72-41 loss to Colton in the game for third and fifth place.
“We had a good year,” Smeenk said. “If you had told me we’d be in Spokane after we lost Emily, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“But they have a lot of drive and the girls really stepped up.”
Against Colton, who had it’s eight-year run as state champions ended with a semifinal loss to Almire-Coulee-Hartline, the Knights were just unable to keep pace, falling behind 17-2 after the first quarter. Dakota Patchen led Colton with 24 points, including seven 3-pointers, giving her a 1B tournament record 16 total.
Krista Den Hoed had 15 points and Sailor Liefke added 11 for the Knights, who shot just 25 percent (7 of 25).
COLTON — Moehrle 9, Druffel 6, Dakota Patchen 24, Devorak 4, Meyer 8, Emm. Schultheis 0, Thomas 1, Kinzer 1, Pluid 0, Kimberling 0, Emi.Schultheis 8, Abby Kelly 11.
SUNNYSIDE CHRISTIAN — Candanoza 0, Harrington 4, Martin 5, Sailor Liefke 11, Broersma 2, Bosma 2, Krista Den Hoed 15, Halma 0, Van Slageren 0, Banks 2, Bravo 0.
Colton 17 16 23 16 — 72
Sunnyside Christian 2 16 14 9 — 41
Highlights: Kristen Broersma (SC) 9 reb; Ayden Harrington (SC) 6 reb; Liefke (SC) 5 reb, Alyssa Martin (SC) 5 reb; Georgia Meyer (C) 12 reb; Jordyn Moehrle (C) 6 assts.