WAPATO - It ain't over until the fat lady sings. Or in Sunnyside's case, until the Grizzlies decide to quit playing team ball.
In a District tourney loser-out affair last Friday, the Sunnyside High School boys basketball team kept alive its postseason aspirations by routing the Wapato Wolfpack, 61-35. The victory propels the Grizzlies to a first round Regional tournament loser-out game against the West Valley Rams, slated for this Tuesday night on the Rams' home court.
It will be Sunnyside's first appearance at the Regional tournament in a number of years.
The win over Wapato last Friday was the result of a strong team effort. Eight of the 11 Grizzlies who played scored, including senior Jake Thomas and junior Derrick Simmons, who had game highs of 12 and 11 points, respectively.
"The last two or three games we're starting to see the kids execute the game plan we've wanted them to follow all season long," said second year Sunnyside Coach Steve Urrutia.
"Friday night, it was just a good (team) effort, period," Urrutia said.
"We were very balanced. That was the biggest thing that stood out," he added.
"Also, we started out fast," said Urrutia, explaining how his Grizzlies forged a 13-6 first quarter lead on Wapato on the Wolfpack's home court.
Sunnyside outscored the Wolves by an 11-7 margin in the second period, as well, which put the Grizzlies up by 11 at the half.
The 6'6" Thomas then threw down 6 of his game high 12 points in the third quarter to help Sunnyside extend its lead to 39-20. The Grizzlies socked the game away with a 22-15 showing in the final stanza, keyed by Reid Schilperoort scoring 6 of his 8 points in the fourth quarter and Luke Schilperoort and Efren Duran each chipping in 4 points down the stretch.
In holding Wapato to just 35 points, Urrutia said the Grizzlies (9-13) executed the team's 1-2-2 zone defense to near perfection. It also didn't hurt that Simmons came away with a club high six steals, or that Thomas was credited with three blocks in the contest.
In looking ahead to tomorrow night (Tuesday), Urrutia said the game plan at West Valley is to "...do what we do well.
"Cavanaugh and Swift are the players we need to be aware of," said Urrutia, but he explained it doesn't behoove the Grizzlies to design special defenses to shut those two down.
"Sometimes when you draw things up to shut one or two players down, you get away from doing what you do best," he said. "We have a game plan and we're going to do what we do well."
Sunnyside 13 11 15 22 -61
Wapato 6 7 7 15 -35
2-pt. FG-Sunnyside 16/33, Wapato 6/25. 3-pt. FG-Sunnyside 4/11 (Cantu, Simmons, Heckert, Duran), Wapato 6/19. FT-Sunnyside 17/22, Wapato 8/10. Rbd.-Sunnyside 29 (R. Schilperoort 9), Wapato 21. TO-Sunnyside 20, Wapato 23.
Sunnyside-Cantu 6, Van de Graaf 0, Simmons 11, Heckert 8, L. Schilperoort 4, Crimp 0, R. Schilperoort 8, Thomas 12, Montelongo 2, Duran 7, Engel 0.
Wapato-Herrera 2, Smiscon 11, Juarez 4, Clements 2, Brown 12, Vivette 4.