With less than a minute left and the Sunnyside High School girls basketball team down by one against Hanford, six-foot tall junior Talia Spini was likely feeling some pressure as she made her way to the foul line last night. But with a quick flick of the wrist, Spini sealed the fate of the Falcons and pushed the Lady Grizzlies to their first win over Hanford this season.
"Talia Spini made two in a row and put us up 53-52," said Sunnyside Coach Leo Gomez.
Neither team scored after that.
He noted that the winning baskets were made with 52 seconds left on the clock. Although that could have been enough time for the Falcons to put up some points, the Lady Grizzlies weren't having any of it.
Gomez said his team was able to hold off Hanford and notch another win in their belt.
"Everyone did a great job for us," he said.
He added that his team performed well under pressure on its home court.
"If they had just worried about that we would have lost," Gomez said of the pressure the team faced during the close match-up with Hanford.
He said something that added to the pressure was the loss of senior Andrea Phillips, who is out with an injury. He said without Phillips on the court, the team is working with a new starting line-up.
Gomez said one thing that would have helped give the team a little breathing room last night would have been to make more of its foul shots. He noted that Sunnyside was 11-for-28 at the line.
"If you make those foul shots then we could have won by 10 to 12 points," Gomez said.
He said despite not hitting their foul shots, the team looked good against the Falcons.
"We'd been thinking about how important this game was for us," Gomez said. "We played really well off the bat."
Sunnyside managed to keep pace with the Falcons throughout the game, going into halftime four points behind Hanford. The Lady Grizzlies battled back in the third quarter to lead by eight points. However, the entire game ended up coming down to those free-throw shots put up by Spini.
Spini had a good night against Hanford, scoring 13 points for the team, and grabbing 12 boards. Leading scorer for Sunnyside was senior Erica Mendez who had 16 points and eight rebounds against the Falcons.
Gomez said last night's win puts Sunnyside (3-5, 8-8) in a good place going into Friday nights game at Ellensburg.
"It gets that monkey off our back," Gomez said. "It was really nice to come out on top [against Hanford]."
Hanford 14 16 8 14 -52
Sunnyside 11 15 15 12 -53
Sunnyside- Sarmiento 11, Urrutia 10, Ruelas 3, Mendez 16, Alvarez 0, Caballero 0, Pangle 0, Spini 13.