WEST VALLEY - The Sunnyside High School boys basketball team turned in a carbon copy-type performance last night, mirroring the efforts from its previous five games this season.
As has been the case all season, the Grizzlies jumped out to a first half lead Thursday, only to watch as the West Valley Rams stormed back for a 79-60 win.
"We were up by as many as 11 in the first half," said Sunnyside Coach Steve Urrutia.
"It's kind of been the same story in all our games this year," he said, explaining how the rapid fire offense employed by the Grizzlies catches the opposing team off-guard.
Unfortunately for Sunnyside, and last night was no exception, the other team finds a way to rally after intermission.
To what does Urrutia attribute the second half collapses?
"It's a combination of things," he said. "One, is that we've played against some pretty good coaches this season, and they're making some good adjustments at halftime."
West Valley made similar adjustments last night, for the most part extending the 3-point arc out further from the basket, which is where the majority of Sunnyside's shots are launched. Urrutia said his club is working on countering the adjustments being made against his team, "...but it's a work in progress," he said.
Urrutia said the second half comebacks his team has suffered through this season can also partially be attributed to individual conditioning, as well as poor decision-making on the court.
Despite sustaining the 19-point loss last night, which came in the Mid-Valley League opener for both schools, Urrutia said his Grizzlies remain focused on turning the team's new offensive attack, a run-and-gun style of play that favors the 3-point shot, into a proven winner.
"We aren't getting the wins right now, but what is happening is that our kids aren't giving up," Urrutia said.
"Last night our kids played extremely well. The first half we had West Valley pretty shook up," he said.
"There hasn't been a game this season that we haven't been in.
"The other teams are starting to look in their rear view mirror at us, because they know Sunnyside is bringing something different.
"We really believe it's only a matter of time before we start seeing different (game score) results," said Urrutia.
Scoring-wise for the Grizzlies (0-1, 1-5) last night, seniors Derrick Simmons and Brandon Coleman hit the double-digit mark with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Junior James Baysinger and sophomore Jessie Montelongo added 8 points apiece for Sunnyside.
Leading West Valley in the scoring column were four players in double figures-Jordan Juarez with 14, Tim Wager and Spencer Douglas with 13 apiece and Kevin Walkenhauer with 11 points.
Sunnyside jumps back into non-league play this coming Saturday evening, as the Grizzlies are scheduled to host the Connell Eagles. Sunnyside will also host Quincy in a non-league game next Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Sunnyside 22 9 9 20 -60
West Valley 15 15 22 27 -79
Sunnyside: Coleman 12, Montelongo 8, Briones 0, Simmons 16, Espino 2, Palomarez 5, Engel 2, Jongsma 0, Cornelius 4, Burgueno 1, Baysinger 8, Bos 2.
West Valley: Walkenhauer 11, Cherry 5, Goodman 7, Borton 4, Jennings 4, Berndt 2, Hacker 1, Douglas 13, Juarez 14, Myra 3, Wager 13, Robinson 2.