Welcome back, Dean Wagenaar.
Following a four-year championship absence, Sunnyside Christian returned to the place it owns by winning its ninth State 1B boys basketball championship.
Wagenaar had retired five years before, but last year found himself back on the bench when the young team placed third. The team was cutting down nets Saturday evening following a 47-40 victory over Lummi Nation for the title.
“My son was a freshman and he talked me into doing it again,” the Knights coach said.
Luke Wagenaar, now a junior and the team’s go-to scorer, converted 13 points in the fourth quarter of its semifinal win over Pomeroy.
He was held in check in the finale, so it fell upon Lane Marsh and his twin Chase to come up big. The pair combined for 11 of Sunnyside Christian’s 14 fourth-quarter points to fend off the Blackhawks in the high-octane battle.
Chase’s points weren’t unexpected. He was a season-long double-figures scorer. But Lane’s scoring was a huge difference in the outcome.
“I’m not the guy who was called upon to score. I’m not the go-to guy.” Lane said. “I used my speed to my advantage.”
He was the fastest player on the floor and blew by defenders along the baseline for clutch layins. In addition, that speed helped him cut off Lummi fast breaks while making two baskets and hitting two free throws that secured the seven-point triumph. Chase hit a clutch 3-pointer midway through the final period to give the Knights a seven-point lead that ultimately stretched to 10.
Lummi rallied in the final minute, but Lane’s free throws sealed the deal.
The game was a stalemate in the first half with bodies banging and shots clanging to a 19-all tie at halftime. Lummi took a five-point lead, but Lane tied the score with a basket before intermission.
Lucas Dykstra had nearly half the points with eight and led the team with 13. Chad Bosma added 12 and the twins both scored 10.
The game was tied at 33 early in the fourth quarter before the Knights had a 12-2 run for a 45-35 lead with 2:11 left in the game. The game plan was to wear down the Blackhawks’ Trazil Lane, a 6-foot-3 dynamo, with a variety of defenses. He had scored a combined 45 points in two previous games. He scored 15 in the title contest.
“We pulled out a win,” Chance Marsh said.