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Sunnyside rolls to season opening wins

A fast start and strong finish combined to give the Sunnyside Grizzly boys basketball team back-to-back wins this past Friday and Saturday.

It also helped that Sunnyside guard Israel Manzo scored 46 points in the two games combined.

The Grizzlies opened with a 46-39 win over visiting Eisenhower, as Manzo scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter.

Sunnyside rolled to a 16-11 lead after one quarter and built a 28-19 advantage at the half.

The quick start served the Grizzlies well, as they went through a five-minute period without scoring from late in the third to early in the fourth quarter.

"They (Eisenhower) cut the lead to 36-34 in the fourth quarter," Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe said.

The Grizzlies snapped out of the scoring slump just in time to put the game away over the final minutes, led by 3-of-4 shooting at the free throw line by Andrew Daley.

"Our boys did a good job, they didn't panic and went on to take control in the last two minutes," Rowe said.

Besides Manzo's 19 points, Sunnyside was led by Daley's eight points and five rebounds. Greg Spini also collected five boards to help the Grizzlies to a 27-21 rebounding advantage.

The Cadets were led by Paul Phin with nine points.

On Saturday, the Grizzlies again started strong on the way to a 70-45 whipping of Prosser.

Sunnyside led the host Mustangs 21-12 after one quarter and never looked back.

Prosser hung around in the second quarter, though, and was still within single digits (down 35-26) at the half.

Sunnyside removed all doubt in the third quarter, however, using a 21-8 run to build a 56-34 advantage going into the final quarter.

"The defense did very well in holding them to eight points," Rowe said of the third quarter.

Manzo sparked the pivotal third quarter rally with 11 of his game-high 27 points. Eric Amaro also tallied 18 points for the Grizzlies, 12 of them in the first half, while Daley collected seven points.

Kennen Pilot scored 19 points to lead Prosser, followed by Danny Raap with 11 points.

Amaro recorded seven rebounds to lead the Grizzlies to a 37-22 rebounding advantage over the Mustangs. Daley climbed the ladder for five caroms.

Jessie Leija helped pace the Sunnyside offensive attack with a team-high five assists.

Of his team's play this past weekend, Rowe said he was pleased to see his team get out to fast starts in both contests.

"We've been playing well in spurts," he said of the 2-0 Grizzlies. "We just want to continue to get stronger each game. We have some real challenges this week."

Those challenges include tough home games against Grandview tomorrow, Tuesday, followed by Moses Lake this Friday.

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