The Sunnyside High School boys basketball team dug a hole for itself this past weekend, in terms of earning one of the six Mid-Valley League berths to the District tournament.
Playing on the road both Friday and Saturday nights, the Grizzlies were upended by Selah and Hanford. The twin losses dropped Sunnyside to 0-4 in the conference standings, 3-7 overall.
Friday at Selah, the Vikings outscored Sunnyside 47-27 in the middle two quarters enroute to posting a 71-60 victory. Saturday, Hanford jumped out to a 29-15 first half lead and just kept pulling away after intermission, eventually subduing the Grizzlies 76-46.
In assessing the unbeaten Falcons (3-0, 11-0), Sunnyside Coach Steve Urrutia is hard pressed to find any flaws with Hanford.
"I don't see anyone touching those guys, until at least Regionals," Urrutia said. "They're big, very athletic and they have a deep bench."
The Falcons didn't need their bench Saturday, as the starters performed above and beyond what anyone expected. Hanford's top threat this season, Admir Beribak, especially stood out. He tossed in a season high 28 points. Hanford also got double-digit scoring from 6'5" starter Wes Bird, who added a 16-point effort. Starters Tyler Cathey and Steve Severin added 9-point and 11-rebound efforts, respectively. Tom Begalka came in off the bench to score 13 points for Hanford.
Perhaps even more impressive than the offensive output of the Falcons was Hanford's stingy defense. Sunnyside was limited to 18-of-63 field goal shooting.
The lone Grizzly to score in double figures was senior Reid Schilperoort, who canned 11 points.
"Reid earned every one of those points," said Urrutia, explaining the much taller Falcons clogged the middle and made it tough for his club to penetrate the lane.
Schilperoort also led the Grizzlies in scoring Friday night with a 13-point effort. Also in double figures against Selah were Jake Thomas and Noe Zammaron with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Unfortunately for Sunnyside, Selah had four players in double figures in the scoring column, including Trevor Brink, who netted a game high 19 points.
The Grizzlies actually forged a 17-11 first quarter lead on Selah, only to watch as the Vikings rallied with a 27-14 showing in the second period. Tony Sanchez scored 9 of his 16 points in the second quarter for Selah.
The Vikes increased their 38-31 halftime lead to 58-44 in the third quarter and coasted from there.
The middle two stanzas, said Urrutia, were the difference in the game. "They got hot those middle two quarters and we broke down on defense.
"They kept beating us to the inside-either with a lay-in or they'd drive and pull up and hit a jumper," Urrutia explained.
In looking ahead, Sunnyside has another road game this Tuesday at Prosser (0-3, 3-6). This coming weekend, the Grizzlies host Wapato (1-3, 6-6) on Friday night and are at home again on Saturday for a non-league game against East Valley (4-4).
Sunnyside 17 14 13 16 -60
Selah 11 27 20 13 -71
Sunnyside-Cantu 5, Zammaron 10, Simmons 8, Heckert 6, L. Schilperoort 4, Crimp 1, R. Schilperoort 13, Thomas 11, Pacheco 0, Duran 2.
Selah-Brink 19, Zutenhaus 4, Peterson 12, Brown 1, Sanchez 16, Smeback 14, Answorth 5.
Sunnyside 9 6 14 17 -46
Hanford 14 15 19 28 -76
Sunnyside-Cantu 1, Zammaron 5, Simmons 6, Heckert 9, L. Schilperoort 2, Crimp 0, R. Schilperoort 11, Thomas 6, Pacheco 0, Duran 6.