FULTON, Ill.—The Unity Christian boys never trailed in their conference matchup against Faith Christian at home on Tuesday, and won 64-46 in their first game back after the holidays.
“I wanted them to come out good after the holiday break,” Unity Head Coach Jeff VanderEide said following his team’s victory. “That’s what they did. They kept the pressure on and played hard.”
The Knights went on a 4-0 run to start the game and never let the lead go. By the end of the first quarter, they led the Falcons 22-8.
“Strong start is always good because it’s easier to play from ahead than play from behind,” VanderEide said. “We wanted to get the jump on them and take care of business.”
Faith Christian did their best to chip away at the lead in the second, and got back within single digits. They outscored the Knights 15-10 in the second quarter and went into halftime down 32-23.
“They outscored us and we put some subs in to try to get some people a rest,” VanderEide. “They stepped it up and played a lot better against us that second quarter. It’s the first game back. We’re just getting back into shape.”
Unity came back out of the half with a new energy. They scored 21 points in the third and led by 19 going into the final eight minutes.
“We told them we need to control the tempo and that it’s our court,” VanderEide said. “They did that and got back on track.”
A lot of the points that the Knights found came from second chances. VanderEide said he was happy with the offensive rebounding, especially from his two forwards Caleb Hirl and Dayne Holesinger.
“It’s been a big thing we worked on over break was being more offensive and getting to the ball when we need to,” VanderEide said. “Caleb is a good hard worked and he knows how to dominate the lane.”
Kyle Smith led the scoring with 14, while both Tyler Appel and Holesinger added 12 each. Hirl had 11 to make the fourth Knight to score in double digits. That was aided by a solid effort when it came to running plays.
“They executed our offense a lot better and we worked on that a lot over Christmas break,” VanderEide said. “We wanted to make better passes and run the plays.”
“We can still be more intense on our offense and make better choices.”
The Knights move on to a hectic week in their schedule. They play Friday at Monmouth United, and then again on Saturday at the Leland Shootout for their third consecutive game. They have Sunday off, but play again on Monday.
“I’m pleased with my boys and how they came out of the break, hopefully we can continue,” VanderEide said. “Hopefully we are prepared, but I’m sure they’ll be tired.”