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Unity Christian Wins 3A Championship With Big 4th Quarter

Des Moines, Iowa — Sisters Janie and Gracie Schoonhoven had one more act together and it was the most satisfying of all.

Janie forged her third double-double of the tournament with 17 points and 16 rebounds and Gracie added nine points and seven assists to lead Unity Christian to the Class 3A state championship with a 48-31 victory over West Lyon.

Unity used a 13-0 second half run and strong defense against West Lyon star Brooklyn Meyer to take control in the all-northwest Iowa matchup and claim its third state title. The Knights, who won 2A championships in 2015 and 2016, finished the season with 14 straight victories and a 25-2 record.

Janie Schoonhoven, a senior, had 54 points and 36 rebounds in her three games at state and was named captain of the all-tournament team. Gracie, a sophomore, finished with 53 points and 19 assists — many on passes to her sister — and also made the all tournament team.

Tyra Schuiteman, another all-tournament selection, scored 12 points for the Knights, who struggled with their shooting early and trailed 23-18 at halftime before finally starting to click.

A key in their victory was the defense against the 6-foot-2 Meyer, a junior who has committed to South Dakota State and already has more than 1,000 points in her career. Meyer scored 10 points in the first quarter, but Unity Christian’s constant doubleteaming eventually took its toll and she went 1-for-9 the rest of the way to finish with 12 points and four rebounds. She had had averaged 17.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in West Lyon’s first two games this week.

Hayley Knoblock added seven points for the Wildcats (24-2), who also finished as the state runners-up in 1998, and Kennedy Kramer scored five.

Unity Christian scored the first six points of the third quarter to erase its halftime deficit, then got rolling for good after Mallory Gramstad buried a 3-pointer from the left corner to put West Lyon up 29-26. The Wildcats would make only one more shot the rest of the way and the Knights charged ahead.

Schuiteman’s 3 — the Knights first make behind the arc after missing their first seven — tied the score at 29 entering the fourth quarter. Gracie Schoonhoven started the final quarter with a 3, Janie got two buckets inside and Tyra Hulstein followed with a 3 for her only points of the game.

Hulstein’s trey made it 39-29 and seemed to take the steam out of the Wildcats. Nine free throws later, Unity Christian had the victory and its championship.

Meyer and Knoblock also made the all-tournament team along with Cherokee’s JeMae Nichols.

Named to the 3A All Tournament Team:
Tyra Schuiteman – Unity Christian
Gracie Schoonhoven – Unity Christian
JaMae Nichols – Cherokee
Hayley Knoblock – West Lyon
Brooklyn Meyer – West Lyon
Janie Schoonhoven – Unity Christian (Captain)

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