By: Steven Pham
Video: Shane Zisk
Wichita, KS. - No. 4 Sunrise lost two close games at the 5 For The Fight Hoopfest. American Fork upset Sunrise in the final minutes with a 56-55 win on day one. Sunrise fell to AZ Compass 53-47 on day two. Sunrise could not overcome the self-inflicted errors against both opponents and will fall to 2-2 early in the season.
Scotty Middleton played in their first game against American Fork but sat out against Compass with a groin injury. Sophomore sensation Mikel Brown slid into the usual starting lineup; Layden Blocker, Brown, Miro Little, Matas Buzelis, and John Bol.
Compass Game Takeaways
This was a battle between two defensive heavyweights. Both of these defenses play at an elite level and feed off that energy from start to finish. Both offenses could not get into their set plays and get into a rhythm due to the physical off and on-ball defense both teams play. Every pass and catch was in tight windows.
Brown was a bright spot for Sunrise with his elite shooting and playmaking. He started the game off hot from downtown with 3 threes for 9 points in the opening quarter. Compass made some adjustments and Brown cooled off and finished with a team-high 12 points.
Compass’s depth and bench unit was the deciding factor. Compass played all 11 players in the first half and constantly rotated in fresh legs. Sunrise did the opposite and played only 7 players the whole game. Compass had 30 bench points (20 in the first half) and Sunrise only had 6 bench points. Compass’s bench unit gave them the edge in the first half and their starters finished the job in the second half.
Sunrise can compete with the best teams with this elite defense but need more production from their starters to prevail in these tight conference games. Sunrise has the talent and it will gel throughout the season.
This was opening week for the NIBC season and Compass jumps out with two wins in the conference, taking down the reigning national champions #1 Montverde, and NIBC conference champions Sunrise. The season is still young and Sunrise will have opportunities to string some wins together in the conference.
Visit Wichita and Sunrise is hosting the Air Capitol Hoopfest on December 1st-3rd at Charles Koch Arena. Sunrise will continue conference play against Oak Hill Academy on December 1st at 6:30 p.m., Legacy School of Sports Science on December 2nd at 8 p.m., and Bishop Walsh on December 3rd at 6 p.m. This is an opportunity for Sunrise to get back on track in the conference standings. For more information and how to get tickets to the Air Capitol Hoopfest, click here.