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Game Recap: Air Capitol Hoopfest

By: Steven Pham 

Photos: Carter Lange

Wichita, KS. - #8 Sunrise Christian Academy left the Air Capitol Hoopfest 3-0 on the weekend and moved to 5-2 on the season (2-1 in the NIBC). The Sunrise players are starting to gel and putting it all together as a team. Getting back to their winning ways and building a winning streak.

Day 1: vs. Oak Hill

Sunrise hands Oak Hill their first loss of the season with a 54-52 win. Sunrise snaps a two-game losing streak and moves to 3-2 on the season (1-1 in the NIBC). 

Sunrise rolled out the usual starting lineup with Layden Blocker, Scotty Middleton, Miro Little, Matas Buzelis, and John Bol. Oak Hill started with Josh Holloway, Zion Pipkin, AJ Swinton, Micah Robinson, and Bronson Schmidt-Uili. 

1st half 

Sunrise came out aggressive and attacked the rim early and often. Blocker started the game off with 10 of Sunrise’s 16 points in the first quarter. He led the way and got whatever he wanted at the rim in the first half. 

Bol played a big role with his presence in the paint. Oak Hill struggled to score in the paint and was forced to settle for perimeter shots. Sunrise did well containing their best player Pipkin but Holloway kept them afloat in the first half with 7 points. 

Sunrise dominated the first half and had a commanding 35-22 lead. The second half was a different story and Oak Hill did not back down. 

2nd half 

Sunrise came out of halftime and extended their lead to 17 (the largest lead of the game). After the 6-minute mark in the third quarter, Oak Hill ramped up their defense and came roaring back. Sunrise went scoreless until the final minute of the third quarter. 

Oak Hill went on a 12-2 run to end the quarter and cuts Sunrise’s lead to 7 points. The run was sparked by Oak Hill’s defense and Holloway’s 6 points in the third. Sunrise could not buy a basket in the third quarter. Oak Hill closed off the paint and forced Sunrise into tough outside shots. 

Sunrise started the fourth quarter in a zone defense and it led to Oak Hill offensive rebounds and open looks from three. Donte Russo-Nance came off the bench and was firing from three. He had 3 threes in the quarter to continue Oak Hill’s second-half run. They were on a 25-3 run since the 6-minute mark of the third quarter. 

Sunrise ended their field goal drought as Middleton hit a big three and scored a tough layup that tied the game. Sunrise regained momentum after Middleton’s big shots and Mikel Brown taking a charge. Sunrise ended the game with a 10-0 run to give them the edge over Oak Hill. Clutch and-1 from Blocker and a crucial three from Little secured a 54-52 win for Sunrise. 

Game Stats

Sunrise shot 23-51 (45%) from the field, 5-15 (33%) from three, and went 3-6 (50%) from the line. They had 30 total rebounds, 9 offensive and 21 defensive rebounds. They had 14 assists on 23 made shots. They had 8 blocks and 7 steals. 

Player Stats

Blocker led the way with 18 points on 9-12 (75%), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. Middleton had 12 points on 5-13 shooting (38%), 2-4 (50%) from three, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, a block, and a steal. Buzelis had 10 points on 3-10 (30%) shooting, 3-4 (75%) from the FT line, 6 rebounds, a block, and a steal. Bol had 6 points on 3-4 (75%) shooting, 5 rebounds, an assist, and 6 blocks. 

Day 2: vs. Legacy School of Sports Science

Sunrise handed Legacy a 79-47 beating and cruised through the whole 32 minutes. Sunrise moves to 4-2 on the season and was looking ahead towards the Bishop Walsh game. 

This was a non-conference game and Sunrise was able to put them away early and allowed their second unit to get minutes. Sunrise had a balanced attack with 9 different players scoring. 

Day 3: vs. Bishop Walsh 

Sunrise stays hot this weekend and takes down Bishop Walsh 79-47. Sunrise moves to 5-2 on the year (2-1 in the NIBC), while Bishop Walsh falls to 0-3 in the NIBC. Sunrise is currently 4th in the standings behind #9 Wasatch Academy, #2 AZ Compass, and #3 Montverde Academy. 

Game Summary 

Buzelis started the game off on fire and never looked back. He had 9 quick points in the first quarter and played his best game in a Sunrise uniform. Mike Williams III gave Sunrise problems early as he had a quick 7 points in the first to match Buzelis’s hot start. It was a back-and-forth match as Bishop Walsh kept themselves in the first half. They were down 9 points at halftime. 

Bol owned the second half with his presence in the paint. He had 8 of his 10 points in the second half and effected every shot. They got him involved on the offensive end every game and he played his best games of the young season. Sunrise played as a cohesive unit and displayed their talent. Sunrise cruised to victory and are building momentum going into the tough stretch of the season. 

Game Stats 

Sunrise shot 24-44 (54%) from the field, 5-20 (25%) from three, and 17-22 (77%) from the FT line. They had 36 total rebounds, 9 offensive and 27 defensive. They had 17 assists on 24 made shots. The team had 4 blocks and 6 steals. 

Player Stats

Buzelis led the way with an efficient 20 points. He shot 6-7 (85%) from the field, 2-2 (100%) from three, and 6-6 (100%) from the FT line. He also had 6 rebounds, an assist, and 2 steals. Middleton had 11 points on 4-6 (66%) shooting and 1-2 (50%) from three. He also had 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal. Bol had a perfect game with 10 pts on 5-5 (100%) shooting, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. 

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