After practicing for the past two weeks the Sunnyside High School boys basketball team opened up preseason play with two wins last night at the Sunnyside Jamboree.
The Grizzlies beat the Grandview Greyhounds 43-33 and then went on to a 38-28 win against Sunnyside Christian High School in the second tilt.
"We did some things very well on defense," Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe said. "We did a good job with our team defense and we were able to make transitions when we created turnovers to get down the floor quickly."
Sunnyside began play against Grandview with its junior varsity squad for the first two five-minute periods, where the Grizzlies found themselves behind 9-6 after one quarter but came back to trail by just one point at halftime, 17-16.
"They did a good job of blending together," Rowe said.
Rowe said the jamboree gives Sunnyside a chance to judge where they are at this juncture of the season and gives them tools to see what needs to be improved on. For his JV squad, Rowe said team defense and moving the ball quicker are things the Grizzlies need to work on. But that, he said, will happen over the course of the season.
The varsity squads took the floor in the second half and Sunnyside's team defense allowed the Grizzlies to outscore the Greyhounds 11-7 and retake the lead.
Rowe said his defense did a good job of moving to help out whenever Grandview would try to penetrate. Sunnyside kept the pressure up in the final period, where the Grizzlies outscored Grandview 16-9.
Alfredo De La Barrera led Sunnyside with 10 points. He was followed by Trey Serl with eight points and Israel Manzo with five points. James Sanchez, Matt Johnson, Jacob Bos and J.C. Chavez each added four points for the Grizzlies.
Adrian Vela led Grandview with eight points. Carlos Garcia added six points for the Greyhounds and Brandon Curtis and Christian Schrank each contributed five points.
Sunnyside was 6-for-7 from the free throw line and Grandview was 5-for-7.
"Hopefully we can be consistent with our free throw shooting," Rowe said. "That does become an important factor."
De La Barrera led the Grizzlies with four rebounds.
In the second game of the night against Sunnyside Christian the Sunnyside JV got off to a fast start, outscoring the Knights 13-3 in the first period on its way to a 17-11 halftime lead.
Rowe said the quick start was a result of the Grizzlies forcing a few turnovers and then using their defense to keep Sunnyside Christian at bay.
The Grizzly varsity continued its strong play to start the third period, outscoring the Knights 12-4.
"Our defense was strong," Rowe said. "We got some good pressure and had good help when Sunnyside Christian worked to put the ball inside."
Offensively the Grizzlies moved the ball well and had a number of open looks both from the inside and the outside.
In the fourth quarter Sunnyside Christian's perimeter shooter, Trevor Wagenaar, got hot and hit two long field goals and a three-point shot. That allowed the Knights to outscore Sunnyside 13-9 in the final stanza but it wasn't enough to overcome the lead Sunnyside built up over the first three quarters.
Sanchez led the Grizzlies with 11 points in the game. De La Barrera and Chavez each contributed six points.
Wagenaar led the Knights with nine points. Steven Broersma, Kevin DeJong and Matt Moore each had four points in the game.
Sunnyside was 5-of-10 from the free throw line. The Knights were 5-of-7.
Miguel Barrios led the Grizzlies in rebounds with six.
Sunnyside will begin its regular season on Friday, Dec. 4, when the Grizzlies travel to Kennewick to take on the Kamiakin Braves at 7:30 p.m.