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Grizzly cage team over-powers Southridge

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Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe speaks to his team before taking the floor against the Southridge Suns this past Friday.

The Sunnyside boys basketball team continued its strong season this past weekend with a win against the Southridge Suns on Friday at home but fell to the Kennewick Lions Saturday night on the road in overtime.

The Grizzlies hosted the Suns and continued its dominance over the 4A school with a 75-63 win.

Sunnyside jumped out to a 16-10 lead in the first quarter behind the play of Jacob Bos and Alfredo De La Barrera, who combined for 10 points in the first quarter.

Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe said the Grizzlies would push the lead to anywhere from seven to eight points but couldn't quite put away the Suns, as Southridge would always come back. Southridge's Andrew Mendenhall made sure of that as he poured in 24 points in the game.

In the second quarter, Sunnyside's Israel Manzo put up seven points as the Grizzlies scored 14 and increased their lead to 28-24 at halftime.

James Sanchez made sure the game would go in Sunnyside's favor when he had a monster third quarter, scoring 18 of his team's 28 points in the period.

Rowe said the Suns were trying to collapse the inside to prevent Sunnyside from scoring easy shots. This left Sanchez wide open and he took advantage of the situation. Sanchez hit five three-point shots and connected on a three-point play when he was fouled after making a basket.

The huge output by the Sunnyside offense gave the Grizzlies a 16-point cushion to start the fourth quarter.

To keep Mendenhall from helping the Suns get back into the game, Sunnyside put the clamps on him midway through the fourth and kept him from scoring anymore. Sunnyside also shut down Southridge's Derrick Porter in the period.

Bos, De La Barrera and Chance Graff did the honors on Porter and kept him off the glass.

When the Suns began to foul late in the game the Grizzlies hit their free throws, going 7-for-8 from the line in the last two minutes. Sunnyside shot 86 percent (19-for-22) overall from the charity stripe. More importantly, the Sunnyside defense held the Suns to just three points in the last two minutes of the game.

Sanchez led all Sunnyside scorers with his 18 points in the third period. De La Barrera had 17 points in the game, including nine rebounds and five assists. Israel Manzo added 16 points for Sunnyside. Bos had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Esqueda finished with 8 points, four assists and two steals for Sunnyside. Matt Johnson closed out the scoring for the Grizzlies with four points.

"It was another good, overall team effort," Rowe said. "We moved the ball around and that gave us lots of opportunities for baskets.

"Our defense was consistent but we still need to be stronger on the boards," Rowe added.

On Saturday Sunnyside traveled to Kennewick, where the Grizzlies were tripped up by the Lions 60-51 in overtime.

The game was dead even throughout. The Grizzlies were up three points after one quarter but the Lions then outscored Sunnyside by three points in the second to tie the game at 20-20 at halftime.

Sunnyside came out and outscored the Lions by three points in the third quarter to take a 32-29 lead into the fourth. In this period Kennewick outscored the Grizzlies by three points to tie the game and send it into an extra period.

Rowe said the biggest margin throughout the contest was at the end of the game.

The game was even on just about everything. The Lions out rebounded the Grizzlies 31 to 29. Sunnyside scored more field goals then the Lions, 20 to 19. The Lions had one more three-point basket than the Grizzlies, four to three.

The only area where the game wasn't even was at the foul line. Kennewick had 15 more opportunities at the charity stripe than the Grizzlies. Sunnyside didn't even have a 1-and-1 situation until 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies were hit with 26 team fouls while the Lions were only flagged 14 times.

Near the end of the game Sunnyside was up by three points but Trent Brown of Kennewick hit a three-point shot to tie it all up and sent the game into overtime.

In the extra period Sunnyside had a hard time converting on its opportunities and the Lions outscored the Grizzlies 16-7 for the win.

Kennewick was led by Brown with 19 points. Reggie Clinton added 13 points for the Lions and Bryce Levitt had nine points.

Sunnyside was led by De La Barrera with 12 points and five rebounds. Esqueda added 11 points for Sunnyside and made three assists and had two steals. Manzo finished with nine points for Sunnyside. Bos finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Johnson had seven points and five rebounds. Bermudez contributed three points to the Grizzly cause and Sanchez finished with two points.

"We just didn't put things together," Rowe said of his team's effort in the overtime period. "We put ourselves in a tough spot."

Rowe said his team will work on being more consistent this week in practice.

"We're doing a good job of moving the ball around," he explained. "We just need to finish a little better."

The Grizzlies (7-3, 11-5) will host the Pasco Bulldogs this Friday, Feb. 5, for a 7:30 p.m. game.

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