By: Steven Pham
Photos by: Mikayla Lomas
Wichita, KS. - No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy wins a slugfest against No. 17 Wasatch Academy 64-50 to move to 11-1 on the season. The starting lineup for Sunrise was 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.
The first quarter was sloppy for both teams. Both sides turned the ball over and were forced into tough and contested shots. Lightfoot and Keita were the only sources of offense for Wasatch. They combined for 8 of Wasatch's 10 first quarter points.
Scotty Middleton came off the bench and provided a quick 5 points for Sunrise. Sunrise was able to hit 3 threes and would lead 11-10 in a sloppy first quarter.
The second quarter was not any better as both teams continued their shooting struggles and were both below 30% from the field. Lightfoot continued his scoring with 6 points in the quarter. He was the only consistent scorer for Wasatch the whole half with 10 of their 16 points.
Mitchell got it going offensively with 6 points in the quarter. After a quiet night against Montverde Academy, Mitchell looked more aggressive and looked for his shot all game long. It led to either a score for Mitchell or a trip to the FT line every time. Sunrise would maintain the lead 22-16 at the half.
Sunrise came out of the half with careless turnovers and low energy and Wasatch took advantage of that. Wasatch's supporting cast started to hit their shots and went on 11-2 run to start the quarter.
Sunrise was able to settle in, end their run, and build rhythm offensively. Blocker got it going offensively with a couple of scores and a couple of assists to get his teammates rolling. Despite Dick's shooting struggles in the game, he impacted the game defensively with 2 of his 4 steals in the quarter and gave his team easy transition looks. Sunrise ended the quarter with an 11-3 run to give them a 40-32 cushion going into the fourth.
Both teams shot the ball better in the second half and were trading baskets to start the quarter. Keita started to get hot in the quarter with 10 points but Mitchell and Dick responded and got it going as well. Mitchell and Dick both had 8 in the quarter and made winning plays down the stretch.
Sunrise slowly started to pull away as Wasatch received a couple of technical fouls that led to easy points at the FT line for Sunrise. Even with shooting struggles from the field and at the FT line, Sunrise came out with a win to stay on top of the NIBC standings.
Sunrise shot 37% from the field, 27% from three, and went 22-32 (68%) from FT. Sunrise had 32 total rebounds, 24 defensive and 8 offensive. Sunrise had 11 assists, 3 blocks, and 10 steals. One of the notable differences was that Sunrise went to the FT line 32 times compared to Wasatch's 10.
Mitchell had a game-high 21 points on 7-13 shooting (7-13 from FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. Dick had 16 points on 4-13 shooting (6-7 from FT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 4 steals. Middleton stepped up offensively again with 10 points on 3-6 shooting (2-4 from three), 4 rebounds, 2 assist, and 1 steal. Blocker was all over the court today with 9 points on 2-8 shooting (4-4 from FT), team-high 7 rebounds, team-high 4 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals.
Can Sunrise come home undefeated on the road trip and stay in first place in the NIBC standings?