Game Recap: NIBC at Legacy Early College
By: Steven Pham
Video by: Shane Zisk
Wichita, KS. - #16 Sunrise Christian Academy finished the regular season 21-7 and split the two games at Legacy Early College. Sunrise finished fifth in the NIBC with a 7-5 conference record.
Game #1: vs. Long Island Lutheran (LuHi)
Sunrise jumped off to a 10-2 start before LuHi settled into the game. Sunrise defended VJ Edgecombe well and limited his impact in the first half. The rest of LuHi was forced to step up and they elevated their game in the second quarter.
Matas Buzelis led the way for Sunrise in the first half with 10 points. LuHi received much-needed production from Jayden Reid, Jayden Ross, Amdy Ndiate, and Kayden Mingo. Ndiate and Ross sparked their second-quarter run and changed the momentum of the game.
LuHi got after the loose balls quicker and crashed the offensive glass all game long. They had 8 offensive rebounds for 8 points in the first half. Sunrise stayed in the game with their defense and never allowed LuHi to run away with the game.
LuHi extended their lead to double-digits at the start of the third quarter. Sunrise came firing back as Layden Blocker took over in the second half. He was more aggressive and attacked the rim for tough layups or a foul call.
It came down to the wire in the fourth quarter and Sunrise answered every basket made from LuHi. Sunrise got within one possession multiple times but was never able to pull ahead in the closing frame.
LuHi made winning plays in the end and kept a one-possession cushion the whole quarter. Sunrise would fall to LuHi 53-58.
Sunrise shot 17-42 (40%) from the field, 5-14 (35%) from three, and went 14-19 (73%) from the FT line. Sunrise had 27 total rebounds, 9 offensive and 18 defensive. They had 10 assists on 17 made FGs, 2 blocks, and 8 steals.
Blocker had 15 points on 5-11 (45%) shooting, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Buzelis had 15 points on 5-10 (50%) shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, a block, and 2 steals. Scotty Middleton had 9 points on 3-8 (37%), 2 assists, and a steal.
Game #2: vs. La Lumiere
Layden Blocker and Matas Buzelis led the way for Sunrise from start to finish. They accounted for 15 of Sunrise’s 18 first-quarter points. It was a high-scoring first quarter and both teams were trading baskets.
It was a low-scoring and defensive second quarter for both teams. Sunrise had only 8 points in the quarter and La Lumiere had only 9 points.
Sunrise had 10 turnovers in the first half that led to 10 points for La Lumiere. Sunrise was able to dominate the glass all game long and had a 15-5 rebounding advantage at the half. Buzelis had 7 of those 15 rebounds for Sunrise.
Sunrise was able to limit La Lumiere’s top two leading scorers Kaleb Glenn and Gus Yalden. Sunrise jumped out to a 9-point lead in the third quarter and kept the lead for the majority of the quarter.
La Lumiere was able to go on a late run in the quarter to tie the game up at 37 going into the fourth. They were able to retake the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth.
The low-scoring and defensive game continued in the fourth. Both teams struggled to knock down a shot and kept turning the ball over. Almar Atlason hit a huge three-pointer and a pair of free throws to give Sunrise the lead in the final two minutes.
They made winning plays down the stretch and were all over the offensive glass for extra possessions. Sunrise was able to finish the game on an 8-2 run to win 49-46.
Sunrise shot 16-35 (45%) from the field, 4-12 (33%) from three, and went 13-18 (72%) from the FT line. The team had 28 total rebounds, 8 offensive and 20 defensive. They had 5 assists on 16 made FGs, 1 block, and 5 steals.
Buzelis had a game-high 19 points on 8-16 (50%) shooting, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, and a steal. Blocker had 17 points on 5-11 (45%) shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and a steal. Almar Atlason had 10 points on 2-3 (66%) shooting, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and a block.