ELLENSBURG - Not having played for nearly three weeks, the Sunnyside High School boys basketball team couldn't get into any kind of a rhythm last night.
And, it proved costly, as the Grizzlies were manhandled rather severely by Ellensburg. The Bulldogs romped at home against visiting Sunnyside, 63-42.
"I don't know if it was rust or what, but we didn't play well," said Sunnyside Coach Steve Urrutia.
Not only did the Grizzlies not hit many of their shots, Sunnyside was well below its season average in shots attempted. The Grizzlies' new run-and-gun offensive attack relies on the team putting up about 90 shots a game, with 50 or more attempts from behind the 3-point arc a common occurrence. Last night, Sunnyside attempted just 68 shots from the field, and of those only 36 were 3-point tries.
Ellensburg used its superior height advantage to subdue the Grizzlies, snaring 58 rebounds to Sunnyside's 24 boards. Two of the Bulldogs' big men, 6'3" Mike Gray and 6'6" Tyler Gordon, also used their height in the paint to score over the much shorter Grizzlies. Together, the two threw in 23 points to lead all scorers in the gmae.
Urrutia also credits Ellensburg's defensive play in stopping his club Tuesday evening.
"They played some good defense against us," he said, explaining that the Bulldogs extended the 3-point line to make Sunnyside shoot even further out than normal.
All told, Sunnyside made just 7-of-36 shots from behind the 3-point arc. And only three of those bombs found the net before the fourth quarter got underway.
"There weren't a lot of shots falling for us," said Urrutia.
Scoring-wise for Sunnyside, Derrick Simmons, D.J. Palomarez and James Baysinger led the way, popping in 9, 7 and 6 points, respectively.
The Grizzlies did make one push at Ellensburg late in the game, clawing to within 12 points in the fourth quarter. Sunnyside hit four treys that period, with Palomarez scoring a team high 5 points in the final stanza.
Tuesday night's loss dropped Sunnyside to 0-2 in the Mid-Valley League standings, 2-6 overall. Ellensburg improved to 3-0 in conference play. Sunnyside is scheduled to host Selah and Hanford this coming Friday and Saturday nights.