Game Recap: Wasatch Academy (Hoophall Classic)
By: Steven Pham
Photos by: Kobi Russom
Wichita, KS. - No. 1 Sunrise Christian Academy escapes another nail-biting game with a 63-62 win over No. 25 Wasatch Academy. Sunrise will be 2-0 against Wasatch this season and move to 14-1. Wasatch will fall to 11-8 on the season.
The first five for Sunrise were Dillon Hunter, Layden Blocker, Gradey Dick, Mark Mitchell, and Cam Corhen. For Wasatch; Willie Lightfoot, Roddy Gayle Jr., Matus Hronsky, Chris Bunch, and Keba Keita.
Sunrise dominated the first quarter and took advantage of Wasatch's early shooting woes. Sunrise was all over the glass offensively and got easy second-chance points. All five starters for Sunrise scored in the first and were locked in defensively. Sunrise went on a 13-0 run towards the end of the quarter and led 19-6 after one.
Lightfoot hit a three to start the quarter and found some rhythm during the game. He led Wasatch with 8 points in the first half. Wasatch settled in the game and started to hit their shots. Mitchell led the way for Sunrise in the first half with 13 points (9 in the quarter) and 8 rebounds (4 offensive). Sunrise dominated the paint 22-8 and maintained the lead at halftime 34-24.
Mitchell and Dick went on a 12-5 run to start the quarter for Sunrise. Dick was on fire in the third with 10 points in the quarter. Bunch and Lightfoot kept Wasatch in the game. Bunch who was scoreless in the first half, hit 4 threes to give him 12 points in the quarter. Lightfoot had 5 points in the quarter to continue his outstanding game. Sunrise went into the fourth with a 52-43 lead.
Mitchell was unstoppable the whole game and went on a 6-0 run by himself to start the quarter for Sunrise. Scotty Middleton would hit a three to push the lead to a game-high 18 points. Sunrise led 61-43 after the 9-0 run from Mitchell and Middleton early in the fourth and would go scoreless until the final two minutes of the game.
Wasatch fought back in the game and went on a 14-0 run to cut the lead to four. Mitchell would go to the free-throw line and hit both free throws to give Sunrise a six-point cushion. Sunrise would hang on defensively and hold off a late comeback surge from Wasatch.
Sunrise shot 48% from the field, 23% from three, and went 7-9 (77%) from FT. Sunrise had 35 total rebounds, 11 offensive and 24 defensive. Sunrise had 15 assists on 26 made FGs, 3 blocks, and 4 steals. Sunrise had a 34-20 advantage in points in the paint and a 14-2 advantage on second-chance points. Being physical and winning on the inside was the formula to success for Sunrise in this game.
Mitchell had a game-high 27 points on 11-16 shooting (5-5 from FT), 12 rebounds (5 offensive), and 2 assists. Dick had 17 points on 6-14 shooting (3-10 from three), 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 4 assists, and 1 steal. Middleton had 7 points on 3-6 shooting (1-1 from three), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Corhen had 6 points on 3-6 shooting and 5 rebounds.
Sunrise will most likely hold onto the No. 1 spot in the nation and stay in first place in the NIBC standings. Sunrise will come home to a four-game home stretch to end the month of January.