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Grizzly cage team rings up two jamboree victories

Last night's wins won't be tacked on to the Sunnyside High School boys basketball team's season record, nonetheless, the Grizzlies came away from their 2004-05 debut with a pair of victories.

Hosting its annual jamboree, which consisted of non-regulation mini-games featuring both JV and varsity players, Sunnyside hung on to defeat Grandview by three points and lambasted Sunnyside Christian, 48-19.

In knocking off the Sunnyside Christian Knights, the Grizzlies turned in a less than polished effort against the out-gunned and under-manned Greater Columbia 'B' League team.

"It ended up a pretty scrappy looking game," said second year Sunnyside Coach Steve Urrutia.

Part of the reason for the undisciplined style of play in the final two varsity quarters of action may have been the huge lead the Grizzly JV forged on Sunnyside Christian's junior varsity. Handed a 23-7 lead, the Sunnyside varsity seemed content on playing rag-tag basketball.

To the Grizzlies' credit, they turned up the defensive heat on Sunnyside Christian, limiting the Knights' varsity to just 12 points. Chad Den Boer, Sunnyside Christian's go-to guy on the offensive end of the floor, settled for a team high 6 points.

The top scorer for Sunnyside against the Knights proved to be senior Efren Duran, who played with the Grizzlies' 'B' unit last night. Duran threw in a game high 11 points.

Urrutia said Duran will be a new face to Grizzly fans this season, as he didn't turn out for the team his junior year and was ineligible to play as a sophomore.

In the two varsity quarters against Sunnyside Christian, senior Tony Cantu had the hot hand, burying 8 points. Junior Derrick Simmons and senior Jake Thomas added 5 and 4 points, respectively, for the winners.

Sunnyside's opening contest of the night was against 2A Grandview. Duran pumped in 8 points in the first two quarters to help stake the Grizzlies to a 17-13 halftime lead over the Greyhounds. Teammate Eric Crimp added 5 points for Sunnyside before halftime.

From there, senior Reid Schilperoort took over for Sunnyside. He dropped in all of his team high 10 points in the third quarter.

"Reid played very well," said Urrutia. "He got some good looks at the basket. For a while there it seemed like he couldn't miss."

Grandview cut the Grizzlies' lead to 29-26 on the opening play of the final quarter, when 6'1" senior Chris Mejia, who had 6 points in the contest, tipped in a loose ball.

Too close for comfort, Sunnyside put together one big charge that basically decided the outcome, going on a 10-2 run. Senior Cody Heckert started the push by canning a long range 3-pointer. After a bucket by Grandview's James Vela, Thomas hit a turn around jumper in the lane for Sunnyside to cap off his 4-point effort in the game. Senior Luke Schilperoort followed with a 2-point basket and on the ensuing possession was fouled, converting one of the free throws. Heckert closed out the run with two free throws of his own.

Grandview switched to a pressure defense down the stretch, and it nearly paid off for the 'Hounds. Forcing turnover after turnover, Grandview rallied back to score the final eight points of the contest. Vela heaved up a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer, but it was off the mark and Sunnyside came away with the 39-36 victory.

"It's almost a given that Grandview is going to put the pressure on," said Urrutia. "Our kids are going to have to get used to being in close games. There are a lot of teams in the Mid-Valley League that are going to pressure us the way Grandview did."

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