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S'side rally falls short to Hanford

RICHLAND - The Sunnyside boys basketball team rallied from a 17-point deficit to make things interesting, before losing 66-58 at Hanford this past Saturday.

The game was tight early on, as the hosts could muster just a 15-14 lead after one quarter. The Falcons then outscored Sunnyside 20-13 in the second stanza to go up 35-27 heading into intermission.

Sunnyside Coach Steve Urrutia said his team trailed by as much as 17 points late in the third period before cutting the deficit to 52-40 entering the final quarter.

"Hanford did a good job defensively and made it really difficult to get a whole lot going inside the paint," said Urrutia.

Sunnyside stayed in contention though, whittling the Hanford lead into single digits before eventually losing.

Urrutia attributed the Sunnyside rally to a combination of pressure defense and timely shooting.

"We turned up the defensive pressure and the kids started hitting some threes," the coach said. Sunnyside only connected on three treys in the first half, for example, but then found the mark in the second half for seven three-point buckets.

Leading the Sunnyside surge was Nathan Cornelius with three three-point bombs in the second half. Teammates D.J. Palomarez and James Baysinger each knocked down two from long range.

"Those guys were pretty key in helping bring us back," said Urrutia.

Cornelius had 12 points to lead a balanced Sunnyside attack that saw four players tally in double figures. Jessie Montelongo scored 10 points to go with a game-high seven assists, and Baysinger scored 11 points. Justin Bos scored 10 for the Grizzlies and hauled down a team-high six rebounds. D.J. Palomarez had eight points and two rebounds. He and Montelongo also accounted for three steals each.

"We are so close," Urrutia said of his team's effort. "We're not getting blown out by anybody and people are bringing their best game against us."

Sunnyside (3-6, 4-13) travels to Southridge tomorrow (Feb. 6).

"We still have a chance to get into the postseason," Urrutia said of the need to pick up some late season wins. "And that's what it's all about."

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