WEST RICHLAND - It was right there for the Sunnyside High School girls basketball team and the Lady Grizzlies let it slip away.
After outplaying Hanford in the first half of last night's encounter, Sunnyside let the Lady Falcons back in the game to start the second half on their way to a 45-40 loss.
"I was pleased," said Sunnyside Coach Leo Gomez. "My girls knew they could beat them, but know they have to come down here."
Last night's game between Sunnyside and Hanford was rescheduled from Jan. 9 when the game was postponed because of the weather.
The Lady Grizzlies controlled the first half, leading 21-19 at the break. Sunnyside had a chance to build on its lead, but missed an opportunity right at the end of the first half.
The Lady Falcons climbed right back in the game at the start of the second half. Hanford outscored Sunnyside 21-8 in the period.
"They came out and controlled the tempo to start the second half," said Gomez. "They just came out and played better than we did."
Gomez said he saw the Hanford coach wasn't pleased with the effort his team gave in the first half.
In the third quarter, Sunnyside had its chances to score, but the Lady Grizzlies couldn't get the ball to fall, said Gomez.
Sunnyside controlled the fourth quarter, posting an 11-5 period, but couldn't make-up the 11-point difference the Lady Falcons built to start out the second half.
Gomez said his team also had chances to pull away with the game late, but couldn't convert.
Hilary Van de Graaf stepped up for the Lady Grizzlies last night. She had 14 points and nine rebounds. Gomez said it was nice to see his only senior have a solid game.
Vanessa Alvarez also had a huge night for Sunnyside with 9 points, all of which came in the first half. Gomez said Hanford shut down Alvarez in the second half.
Gomez also had high accolades for Daniella Rivera, who took over the point for an absent Andrea Phillips. Gomez said Rivera did a nice job running Sunnyside's offense and feels Rivera will learn from the mistakes she made in the second half.
Nikki DePeel was the lone Lady Falcon in double figures. The sophomore guard had 23 points.
"She is tough," said Gomez.
Sunnyside (2-4, 5-7) needs to come out with a stellar home stand this weekend against Prosser and Grandview. The game against Grandview on Saturday will start the second half of the league season. The Lady Grizzlies are currently in sixth place, a game-behind Prosser in the Mid-Valley League standings.
"We just have to step up this weekend," said Gomez.
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 2 3 4 T
Sunnyside 8 13 8 11 40
Hanford 7 12 21 5 45
Scoring: Sunnyside-Hilary Van de Graaf 14, Vanessa Alvarez 9, Eric Mendez 5, Melissa Caballero 4, Daniella Rivera 4, Bobi Haringa 2, Lanna Pangle 2.
Hanford: Nikki DePeel 23.
Rebounds: Hilary Van de Graaf 9, Eric Mendez 8.
Assists: Daniella Rivera 3.