By: Steven Pham
Photos by: Kobi Russom
Wichita, KS. - No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy moves onto 6-0 as they hand No. 2 IMG Academy their first loss of the season. Sunrise pulled away towards the end and won a close one 68-62. The starting lineup for Sunrise was Dillon Hunter, Scotty Middleton, Gradey Dick, Mark Mitchell, and Cam Corhen.
Both teams were trading baskets to start the game but Sunrise began to turn steals and IMG turnovers into easy offense. Hunter was aggressive defensively and kept swiping at the ball throughout the game. He ended up with three steals and made it tough on the IMG guards to attack the rim. Dick exploded offensively with 3 threes and ended with 12 points in the quarter. Sunrise led 22-14 at the end of the first.
Sunrise continued to build momentum in the second quarter as Mitchell started to get it going offensively. Mitchell scored his first basket in the opening minutes of the quarter and ended with 11 in the quarter. Layden Blocker came in and provided a spark in the second quarter with five quick points. Jett Howard and Noah Batchelor kept IMG in the game with their three-point shooting. Howard had 10 points (2-3 from three) and Batchelor had 9 points (3-3 from three). Sunrise went into halftime with a 41-28 lead.
IMG started to cut into the lead with a 5-0 run. Both teams started to trade baskets again and the lead would stay between 6-10 points throughout the quarter. Howard continued to score at will for IMG and Mitchell and Dick continued their prolific scoring for Sunrise. Sunrise stayed in front 52-44 entering the fourth.
IMG locked in defensively in the fourth quarter and was able to go on a 14-7 run to cut the lead to within one. IMG was unable to take the lead and that would be the closest they got since leading 7-5 at the beginning of the game. Every time IMG got close to taking over the game, Sunrise would respond in a big way each time.
Middleton hit a three to give Sunrise a four-point cushion in the last few minutes. Hunter and Blocker both fouled out with two minutes remaining and Jaden Bradley capitalized by hitting two free throws to cut the lead back down to two. Bobi Klintman would answer with a clutch three pointer with 1:30 remaining to give Sunrise a five-point lead. "It felt good, I always stay ready for these moments and it felt good to show what I am capable of," Klintman said. Sunrise would hang on and close out the game.
Overall, Sunrise shot 50% from the field, 50% from three, and went 7-10 from the free-throw line. Sunrise had 28 total rebounds: 18 defensive rebounds and 10 offensive rebounds. Sunrise had 15 assists, six steals, and a block. Sunrise turned stellar defense into offense with 21 points off turnovers.
Mitchell went 9-17 from the field (1-2 from three) with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Dick went 7-12 from the field (5-9 from three) with 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist. Blocker went 2-3 from the field (1-2 from three) with 7 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist. Middleton went 2-3 from the field (2-2 from three) with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block. A total team effort helped boost Sunrise past IMG in the first game of NIBC play.
Sunrise will continue NIBC play today against No. 13 Oak Hill Academy at 6 p.m. EST on ESPN+. "If everyone is locked in and focused on defense and play like we really can play, I feel like we have a really good opportunity to win both of the remaining games,"Klintman said. To check out what to expect in today’s game, click here.