By: Steven Pham
Videos by: Shane Zisk
Wichita, KS. - #8 Sunrise Christian Academy moves to 7-2 on the season (4-1 in the NIBC) after two wins at the Bob Kirk Invitational. They took down Legacy Early College 79-69 and won a nail-biter against #24 La Lumiere 58-56.
Game #1: vs. Legacy
Miro Little has been playing his best basketball in the NIBC and is improving every game. It took Little a couple of games to get used to this different style of basketball but he has been one of Sunrise’s most consistent players during their four-game winning streak.
He started the game off strong with 7 points in the first quarter and gave Sunrise a 7-point cushion in the first quarter. Coen Carr was a big emphasis for Sunrise on the defensive end and he got his game going early on with 5 points in the first.
It was a balanced attack for Sunrise in the first half and both teams were trading baskets. Sunrise tried pulling away early on but Legacy kept themselves in the game the whole 32 minutes. Sunrise had a 47-32 point lead at the beginning of the third quarter and Legacy’s Daniel Jacobsen started to take over the game.
Jacobsen had 5 quick points towards the end of the first half and kept it going with 8 points in the third quarter on 5-5 shooting. He gave Carr some much-needed help and gave Legacy a chance to come back. Legacy was never able to retake the lead but got within a point multiple times in the fourth quarter.
Jacobsen fouled out in the middle of the fourth quarter and Sunrise took advantage of Legacy’s lack of size and shooting. Scotty Middleton and Layden Blocker stepped up in the fourth quarter and hit big-time shots to keep Sunrise in front.
Blocker had a quiet game but stepped up when Sunrise needed a bucket. Sunrise finished the game on a 16-7 run, thanks to offensive rebounding and an occasional zone defense that forced Legacy to settle for low-percentage shots from the perimeter. Sunrise had 10 more offensive rebounds than Legacy and those extra possessions were the difference maker.
Sunrise shot 29-58 (50%) from the field, 6-18 (33%) from three, and 15-23 (65%) from the FT line. They had 36 total rebounds, 17 offensive and 19 defensive. They had 15 assists on 29 made shots.
Matas Buzelis finished with 18 points on 5-13 (38%) shooting and went 8-10 (80%) from the FT line. He also had 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. Little had 17 points on 7-13 (53%) shooting and went 3-5 (60%) from three. He had 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Middleton had 12 points on 5-12 (41%) shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal.
Game #2: vs. La Lumiere
Sunrise had their hands full with Kaleb Glenn all game long. He made an impact early on and dominated the paint. One of the keys to this game was whether Sunrise can take advantage of La Lumiere’s lack of depth. La Lumiere runs a six-man rotation and some of their players are forced to play all 32 minutes.
Sunrise struggled in the first half and trailed the majority of the game. Sunrise’s John Bol and La Lumiere’s big man Gus Yalden both got into early foul trouble and were sidelined for the majority of the first half. That opened up the driving lanes for both teams and Glenn took advantage with Bol on the bench. Buzelis got his game going in the second quarter as well with Yalden on the bench.
This was a game of runs in the first half. Buzelis went on a run to start the second, then Yalden checked in and went on a 7-0 run by himself, then Glenn had a run, and Middleton had one as well before halftime. Sunrise trailed 30-23 at halftime.
Bol made an impact in the second half with his rim protection and offensive rebounding ability. He helped Sunrise retake the lead in the third quarter with the help of Middleton and Blocker’s scoring. Sunrise finished the third quarter on. 6-0 run and had a lead to start the fourth.
It was a back-and-forth quarter and both teams were trading baskets. Both teams missed crucial free throws at the end that kept it a one-possession game. Sunrise was up 58-56 after Buzelis missed a one-and-one opportunity and gave La Lumiere life. It came down to the final play and Yalden missed a game-tying putback off a missed shot at the end. Sunrise escapes with a two-point win.
Sunrise shot 22-40 (55%) from the field, 6-15 (40%) from three, and went 8-15 (53%) from the FT line. They had 29 total rebounds, 7 offensive and 22 defensive. They had 14 assists on 22 made shots, 5 blocks, and 7 steals.
Blocker had 16 points on 5-10 (50%) shooting and went 2-4 (50%) from three. He had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Middleton had 15 points on 5-7 (71%) shooting and went 2-4 (50%) from three. He had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. Little had 10 points on 4-5 (80%) shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, a block, and a steal.