By: Steven Pham
Photos by: Kobi Russom
Wichita, KS. - Sunrise Christian Academy is going into the weekend with an enormous win against Legacy School of Sport Sciences, 88-48. Sunrise’s defense and balanced offense were the formula for success in this game.
The starters for Sunrise in this game were Dillon Hunter, Scotty Middleton, Gradey Dick, Mark Mitchell, and Eddy ‘Valentino’ Pinedo. For Legacy, it was Dionjahe Thomas, Frederick Payne, Jevon Hill, Ma’syn Howell, and Jaret Valencia.
Valentino got his first career start and balled out in front of his dad who traveled from Spain to watch him play! “I’m grateful to coach for giving me the opportunity to start today, I tried to do everything he wanted me to do and I am very grateful for that,” Valentino said. “My dad arrived the day before and it was his first game here and he was excited about it.” Valentino ended up with 11 points shooting 83% from the field.
Sunrise started the game off with stellar defense and held Legacy to two points in the first quarter. Dick sparked the Sunrise offense with eight points (2/2 from three) in the first quarter, as Sunrise led 17-2.
Legacy got into a rhythm offensively as Payne had 11 of his 21 points in the first half. Legacy switched to a zone defense in the second quarter but Sunrise dissected the zone defense to perfection and scored a season-high 29 points in the quarter.
“We mostly ran just putting someone in the middle, getting open, getting Gradey and other shooters open in the wing and corners,” Hunter said. “Main game plan was getting into the middle and making decisions from there.” The halftime score was 46-23 in favor of Sunrise.
Sunrise got everyone involved as the starters had 51 points and the bench had 37 points. This balanced attack showcased the depth of Sunrise moving forward. Hunter has been the primary ball-handler on the floor and is always looking to get his teammates involved first.
“Coach told me to get everyone involved, get everybody going, be the energy of the team, become a captain, lift everyone up, and make sure everyone is ready for games,” Hunter said. “That’s been the main thing offensively for me, running the show, making sure everyone gets their buckets and mine also, but just playing the game.”
Sunrise shot a season-high 58% from the field and had 13 steals defensively. Forced turnovers led to easy fast breaks and efficient scoring. The team had a season-high 26 assists on 34 total made baskets. Selfless play and attacking the rim led to open looks in the zone defense.
Mitchell was aggressive attacking the rim and controlled the paint all game long. “They were playing a hectic style so just taking my time in there, pump fake, get fouled, and be controlled when I went up,” Mitchell said on his success inside.
Mitchell was the second-leading scorer with 18 points (7/14 FG), eight rebounds, two steals, and a block, behind Dick’s 20 points (5/7 from three). Layden Blocker and Louie Tucker provided a scoring punch off the bench with 14 points for Blocker (4/4 from mid-range) and 11 points for Tucker (3/3 from three).
If you missed last night’s game you can watch it on our YouTube livestream. The next game will be against CBC St. Louis at 7 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee. Our next five games will be on the road in Memphis and Montverde, Florida.