SPORTS: Sunnyside Christian beats Neah Bay for 1B boys basketball title
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SPOKANE — Neah Bay’s shooting touch went cold as the Red Devils lost a heartbreaker in the 1B boys basketball state championship game.
For the second time in three years, Sunnyside Christian (27-2) beat Neah Bay (20-3) for the state crown.
The Knights took a 22-10 lead at halftime and then held on for a 44-36 victory at Spokane Arena on Saturday night.
Sunnyside Christian beat Neah Bay 55-50 for the state crown in March 2011.
“We just need to get over the hump [of winning a state championship], and it will be downhill from there,” Neah Bay coach Gerrad Brooks said.
The Red Devils have been within striking distance of a state crown three years running and have shown they are one of the best 1B programs in the state under Brooks’ leadership.
Neah Bay captured third place last year and has placed in the top three for three consecutive years.
Saturday’s loss could have been the hardest of all, though, because the Red Devils were on a roll in their first two games, winning by an average of 20.5 points in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
“The kids are pretty bummed out,” Brooks said.
“We’ll be trying to correct that, and getting our first [state championship].”
No time is better than next year as the Red Devils return all but two players from this year’s team.
“We are young still but we have a lot of state experience,” Brooks said.
The only seniors on the team are Leyton Doherty and DeShawn Halttunen.
That means that a lot of key players are coming back such as Abraham Venske, Josiah Greene, Zeke Greene, Ryan Moss and Tyler McCaulley.
McCaulley broke the 1B tournament record of the number of 3-point baskets made in one game as he netted eight 3-pointers in the semifinals against LaCrosse-Washtucna-Kahlotus on Friday night.
The junior had a career-high 29 points in that game.
Even though Neah Bay didn’t bring home a state title, the Red Devils still had another outstanding season.
“I’m thankful we had another great season, and I thank God we had the opportunity we did,” Brooks said.
In Saturday’s state championship game, the Red Devils had another strong defensive game but their offense just never warmed up.
“We had another great defensive game, we held them in the 40s like we normally do, but our offense went cold,” Brooks said.
The Red Devils shot just 23.4 percent from the field for the game, making 11 of 47 shots.
“The kids just went cold, really,” Brooks said.
The Knights didn’t have a great shooting night themselves, making 14 of 34 shots for 41.2 percent, but still a lot higher than Neah Bay.
Sunnyside Christian also took 19 free throws (making 13) to Neah Bay’s seven (making five).
The first half was the killer for the Red Devils as they made just 10 points in the entire half, four in the first quarter.
“The first half did us in,” Brooks said. “It was not a good shooting night at all. A pretty tough night.”
And by halftime, down, 22-10, the Red Devils had too big of a hole to dig out of.
Neah Bay outscored the Knights 26-22 in the second half to make the game close.
The Knights led 15-4 early on, and increased the lead to 30-12 early in the third quarter.
But a 14-2 run by the Red Devils put them back into the game.
Venske had a team-high 10 points for the Red Devils, to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and three assists.
Josiah Greene and Zeke Greene grabbed six boards each.
Taking game-high scoring honors was Sunnyside Christian 6-foot-7 post Brandon Broersma, who scored 14 points on just 4 of 9 shooting from the floor.
“We played good defense on him, keeping him to just 14 points,” Brooks said.
But it was on defense that Broersma really hurt the smaller Red Devils, whose tallest player is 6-1 Josiah Greene.
Broersma ended up with a game-high 13 rebounds and a tournament-record 11 blocked shots.
Alex Brouwer scored 13 points for the Knights.
The Red Devils, though, plan to reload next year and put the 2014 1B state championship within their sights once again.
1B State Championship
Sunnyside Christian 44,
Neah Bay 36
Sunnyside 11 11 10 12— 44
Neah Bay 4 6 16 10— 36
B. Broersma 14, Brouwer 13, Bosma 7, Martin 1, D. Broersma 2, Puterbaugh 4, Scheenstra 3, Hoff.
Neah Bay (36)
Venske 10, J. Greene 9, Z. Greene 5, Moss 5, Doherty 3, McCaulley 2, Reamer 2, Halttunen.
Last modified: March 03. 2013 3:07PM