The Sunrise Christian Academy is one of the most highly recruited teams in high school basketball but a lot of people have not seen them play. The Buffaloes made their presence in Kansas known against Dodge City on Friday night but only after a tough battle with the Red Demons. The Demons took the lead early but could not hold on through the second half. The Buffaloes added to their win column 62-46.
It was evident that the Demons had adjusted the pace of their offense from the beginning. They were much quicker and precise. The speed was necessary just to keep up with the Buffaloes and the Demons sound defense was an added bonus.
Although Dodge started with the lead on the scoreboard Buffalo Janari Joesaar cashed in an alley-oop with a dunk to really get the game going.
The first half wasn’t all about size. Dodge senior Shaphan Gross drained a three-pointer to keep the score even at nine. He also led the Demons with 14 points.
Gross was the only Demon in double digits and the Buffaloes had four players in double digits. Sunrise guard Nathan Bain was one of them with 14 and he showed off his skills with a steal and LeBron James-style dunk to regain the lead.
The Sunrise Christian Buffaloes put themselves in a bind at the end of the first quarter. Three technicals quickly accumulated for hanging on the basket and arguing with the officials. Demon senior Matt Goedeken was sent to the line and drained five of the six free-throw shots. Sunrise Christian found itself down 20-17.
The Buffs clawed their way through the second quarter. As the seconds counted down to half time Demon Jace Larson was blocked he regained it and made the buzzer-beating jump shot to keep Dodge within one point 32-31.
Bret Michael stepped in as the temporary head coach for Sunrise Christian and told his boys to use the negative as an energy boost. They did and they emerged quicker and more aggressive.
"There were a couple of questionable calls against us and to us it was just an energy thing," Michael said. "It [the technical] gave our guys energy and fueled our guys a little bit and they just took it and ran with it."
Marvin Clark started the dunkfest and three dunks in a row off of steals and the Buffaloes pulled away. The Buffaloes dominated on offense and shut down the Demons' defense throughout the second half as they took home another win 62-46.
"Well, this being a Kansas team, we don't play too many Kansas teams," Michael said. "We like to have a good showing because people around the state don't really get to see what we can do because our schedule is so far out. Dodge City has always been a tough foe for us. They are always well-coached and they always do different things than the teams that we usually play. It is always a good match up for us."
The girls match up didn’t have the same slam dunk excitement but the Lady Demons still kept it interesting.
The battle was back and forth until Dodge senior Alexis Sanchez drove the lane and tied up the game at 20 with two minutes in the half. At halftime the Buffs still had the lead 30-21.
Senior post Leashja Grant was a dominating force for the Lady Buffaloes as well as their leading scorer. The Lady Demons were more efficient on defense but they could not stop Grant under the basket. She took the Sunrise Lady Buffs to victory 57-45.