By: Steven Pham
Videos by: Shane Zisk
Wichita, KS. - #6 Sunrise Christian Academy moves to 10-3 on the season after splitting the two games in La Porte. Sunrise falls short against #3 Montverde Academy 62-66 but bounced back with a 77-61 win over #8 IMG Academy.
Game #1: vs. Montverde Academy
The first quarter was the Scotty Middleton and Derik Queen show. Both players had the hot hand and could not miss. Middleton finished with 10 points in the opening quarter and Queen had 8 points. It was all tied up at 16 after the first quarter.
Montverde was able to attack the rim and got John Bol in early foul trouble. This opened up driving lanes and helped Queen dominate the paint. Sunrise typically handles the ball well but Montverde’s defense constantly forced turnovers.
Sunrise got Montverde’s premier talent Cooper Flagg into early foul trouble as well. Matas Buzelis came alive in the second quarter and scored 10 in the quarter. Queen continued his dominance in the paint by scoring, rebounding, and getting foul calls.
Sunrise limited Montverde’s elite perimeter shooting but gave up easy and open driving lanes. Sunrise led 38-30 at halftime by winning the turnover margin in the second quarter, taking care of the ball better, and controlling the rebounding battle without Bol.
Middleton got into foul trouble and lost his offensive rhythm after a dominant first quarter. Montverde started to take over the game with their defense and offensive rebounding. Queen could not be stopped this entire game and had a 14-point third quarter.
Montverde’s defense tightened up and won the turnover margin this quarter. Sunrise could not get any offensive rhythm going and allowed Montverde to crash the glass and get extra possessions. Montverde had 6 offensive rebounds in the third quarter alone but had only 1 in the entire first half. They led 50-48 going into the fourth quarter.
Queen took a breather on the bench to start the fourth and Sunrise came storming back with a 14-5 run to start the quarter. Bol came in and made some defensive stops and Montverde looked lost without Queen on the floor. Sunrise was up 62-55 after the run.
Montverde took control of the closing minutes of the game and did not allow Sunrise to score another point. Montverde went on an 11-0 run to close the game and capitalized off the Sunrise turnovers and mistakes. Queen finished with a 34-point and 11-rebound double-double and Montverde came out with a 66-62 victory over Sunrise.
Sunrise shot 21-49 (42%) from the field, 7-15 (46%) from three, and went 13-19 (68%) from the FT line. Sunrise had a season-low 8 assists on 21 made shots. They had 35 rebounds, 8 offensive and 27 defensive. They also had 9 blocks and 6 steals. Montverde dominated the paint with a 46-16 advantage and also had a 16-4 advantage in second-chance points.
Buzelis finished with a team-high 23 points on 9-16 (56%) shooting and 3-5 (60%) from three. He also had 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Middleton had 13 points on 6-10 (60%) shooting. He had 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and a block. Miro Little and 12 points on 3-7 (42%) and went 5-6 at the FT line. He had 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
Game #2: vs. IMG Academy
It was a defensive first quarter with a ton of tough shots and misses. Sunrise kept fouling IMG on drives and reach-ins. Bol came out more aggressive on both ends of the court and stayed out of foul trouble. He had 4 points and 2 blocks in the first. Blue Cain looked good in the opening quarter with 6 points. IMG took an early 17-14 lead after the first.
Bol continued his dominance on the defensive end with 2 more blocks to give him 4 in the first half. Buzelis constantly steps up in the second quarter as he scored 10 points in the quarter in back-to-back games. It was a back-and-forth game and Cain poured on another 6 points this quarter to give him 12 points at the half. Buzelis ended the quarter with a buzzer-beater three to give Sunrise a 36-30 lead at halftime.
Layden Blocker got his game going in the third quarter and helped Sunrise extend their lead. He was being more aggressive and attacked the rim and had 7 quick points in the quarter. Sunrise locked Cain up in the second half and forced someone else to beat them.
Khani Rooths stepped up in the third quarter with 7 points and finished with a team-high 17 points in the game. Sunrise went on a 15-2 run to extend their lead to 60-45 at the end of the third quarter. Buzelis led Sunrise during that run with 9 points and a buzzer-beater three to end the quarter.
Mikel Brown played well off the bench and gave Sunrise a much-needed boost for this game. He made all the right reads and finished with 13 points and 7 assists off the bench. Brown might be a sophomore but he plays with the confidence and composure of a senior. He helped extend Sunrise’s lead in the fourth with the help of Blocker and Middleton. Sunrise put together a 77-61 victory over IMG.
Sunrise shot 28-52 (53%) from the field, 7-23 (30%) from three, and went 14-19 (73%) from the FT line. Sunrise had 21 assists on 28 made FGs. They had 34 rebounds, 7 offensive and 27 defensive. They had 8 blocks and 3 steals. Sunrise moved the ball well and made the extra passes that led to high-percentage looks and 21 assists.
Buzelis had 19 points on 6-9 (66%) shooting and 3-5 (60%) from three. He had 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocks, and a steal. Middleton had 14 points on 6-11 (54%) shooting, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Brown had 13 points on 5-12 (41%) shooting, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and a steal.