Beginning Columbia Division play in the CBBN this past weekend, the Sunnyside High School boys basketball team split a pair of nail biters.
The Grizzlies lost a close one to the Davis Pirates on Friday, falling 59-56, but then bounced back on Saturday to edge the Moses Lake Chiefs, 52-49.
On Friday in the Pirates' gym Sunnyside used a strong defensive effort to hold Davis at bay and keep the game close. Most importantly, the Grizzlies held offensive stars Devon Lochett and David Tremble to one offensive rebound each. This allowed Sunnyside to stay close with the Pirates and kept Davis' shots to a minimum.
The Grizzlies led after one quarter 16-13 but slipped in the second quarter and allowed the Pirates to go into the locker room up 25-23.
Sunnyside cut the Pirates' lead to just one point heading into the fourth quarter behind the offensive play of Alfredo De La Barrera and James Sanchez.
Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe said the fourth quarter was like a see-saw battle. The Grizzlies would go up by one point and then Davis would storm back and take the lead, only to lose it back to Sunnyside.
With two minutes left to play in the game the Grizzlies found themselves down 55-52. A quick four-point spurt gave Sunnyside a 56-55 lead but Davis was able to hit four three throws down the stretch to seal the game.
"It was a good ball game, the kids played well," Rowe added.
He pointed out the play of Jordan Esqueda and Andrew Daley for their defensive efforts.
"Jordan did an excellent job on Tremble," Rowe said. "He kept him off balance and negated his ability to drive to the hole."
Rowe said Daley did a good job of coming off the bench and keeping Lochett from doing too much damage.
De La Barrera led Sunnyside with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Sanchez added 19 points for the Grizzlies. J.C. Chavez added four points for Sunnyside. Daley and Esqueda each had three points with Esqueda also recording four assists.
Israel Manzo, Jacob Bos and Chance Graff each contributed two points to the Sunnyside effort.
Davis, undefeated at 5-0, was led by Tremble with 19 points and Lochett added 14. Markus McClurkin had 10 points for the Pirates and Herman Mendoza finished with eight points.
Sunnyside grabbed more rebounds than Davis, 43 to 35, and had fewer turnovers than the Pirates, 10 compared with 15 for Davis.
Sunnyside, playing at home, bounced back on Saturday to beat Moses Lake by three points.
This game was again a see-saw battle for the Grizzlies. Sunnyside fell behind 9-7 after one quarter but then rode Manzo's 11 points in the second period to come back and lead the Chiefs 24-21 at halftime.
Rowe said that again the Sunnyside defense was an important factor in the game.
De La Barrera kept Sunnyside on pace in the third quarter by scoring half of the Grizzlies' 16 points in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter Moses Lake made a run at the Grizzlies after Sunnyside built a seven-point lead. This run tied the game until the Grizzlies were able to get back up by five points. Sunnyside used free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Manzo led the Grizzlies in this game with 16 points. De La Barrera added nine points and Sanchez had seven. Daley, Esqueda and Bos each had six points in the game. Graff added two.
Moses Lake was led by Matt Franz with 21 points. Tyler Ramon gave the Chiefs 13 points and Alex Todd added five. Both Gabe Porter and Bryce Perez scored four points for Moses Lake. Taylor LaGrace finished with two points.
Rowe was happy with his team's play after Friday night's loss, adding he was impressed with how the Grizzlies bounced back.
Sunnyside (1-1, 2-3) will make up a cancelled game with Prosser on Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Grizzly gym.