The Sunnyside High School boys basketball team built up a strong lead in the first half of play last night against Prosser and then held off a Mustang charge to pull away in the end and win 61-50 in the non-league matchup.
Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe said his team was able to push out a 10-point lead against the Mustangs twice in the first half but Prosser managed to come back each time. After outscoring Prosser 15-11 in the first quarter the Grizzlies held on in the second to hold a 27-21 lead at halftime.
Israel Manzo led the charge in the second quarter after Prosser had whittled down Sunnyside's lead. He scored 10 points in the quarter to help Sunnyside maintain its lead.
In the third quarter it was back and forth until the late minutes. Prosser outscored Sunnyside 7-2 in the final two minutes of the period to pull within one point, 40-39.
Prosser tied the game in the fourth quarter but was never able to get a lead. With four minutes left in the game Sunnyside was up by four points when things started turning for the Grizzlies.
"We stepped up our defensive pressure and was able to create confusion for Prosser's offense," Rowe said. "From that we were able to get a couple of baskets."
The defensive pressure caused Prosser to commit some turnovers, which Sunnyside took advantage of. In the last two minutes of the game Sunnyside broke it open by outscoring Prosser 8-1.
It was a total team effort, according to Rowe.
"We had some guys in foul trouble and our bench did a good job for us. We got 20-plus points from our bench. It's always great to see that kind of depth."
The Grizzlies out rebounded the Mustangs 36 to 27 in the game. Prosser fared slightly better in turnovers, committing only 12 to Sunnyside's 14. The Mustangs were 15-for-26 from the free throw line. Sunnyside shot 13-for-25.
The Grizzlies were led by Alfredo De La Barrera with 16 points. He was followed by Manzo, who poured in 15. Chance Graff had nine points for the Grizzlies, with four of those coming in the fourth quarter. Matt Johnson also had four points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with six points. James Sanchez added five points for the Grizzlies, J.C. Chavez and Jordan Esqueda each added three points, and Jacob Bos had two.
Prosser was led by Blake Milne with 14 points. Dominic Garza finished with 13 points. Kip Brown added 10 points. Bo Hazzard had four points and Kennen Pilot added three points. Chad Hancock, Anthony Dorsett and Craig Gustafson added two points each.
Sunnyside (1-1, 3-3) has won two straight games as they head to Yakima on Tuesday, Jan. 5, for a 7:30 p.m. game with West Valley.