For the second year in a row, Sunrise Christian Academy out of Wichita, Kan., is taking home the big gold trophy as champions of the Neosho Holiday Classic.
The championship game of the 58th annual Classic was never in doubt as Sunrise defeated the St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Academy Cougars 72-35.
The Buffalos’ Nathan Bain, the tournament MVP, led all scorers with 16 points, followed by Marvin Clark Jr., with 13 points and Travis Munnings with 12 points.
Javier Martinez scored 11 points for the Cougars, followed by Nathan Bethel and Rasheed Swanson with seven points each.
Sunrise moved to 15-0 on the season, while St. Louis Christian Academy falls to 9-2 with both of its losses this season coming at the hands of the Wichita team.
“Our kids work hard and they’re focused,” said Sunrise Head Coach Kyle Lindsted. “They understand what’s at stake when they get on the floor for a championship game. They’ve been on the losing side and they’ve been on the winning side and I just think they understand the passion and the desire that it takes. They work hard every day, it’s not something that happens today.”
Sunrise clamped on the defense and ran out to an 18-5 lead after the first period. The two teams played relatively even in the second quarter with Sunrise taking a 34-18 lead into the locker room.
Sunrise put the game out of reach, outscoring St. Louis 25-7 in the third quarter and starting the running clock at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 59-25 lead.
Lindsted said the Neosho Classic has become a big tournament for his players over the last couple of years.
“We lost our tournament in Florida and I know the stuff we were supposed to do in Florida was supposed to be big time,” Lindsted said. “Our kids couldn’t have had any more fun anywhere else.”