SPOKANE - The Rogers High School Pirates used a huge fourth quarter surge to erase a 12-point fourth quarter lead held by Sunnyside to edge the Grizzlies 62-59 in a loser-out Regional game this past Friday.
The loss ended Sunnyside's hopes of making it to this year's 3A State tournament.
The game was even pretty much the whole way through. Sunnyside held a slight advantage in free throws, hitting 17-of-25 compared with the Pirates hitting 13-of-20. Rogers High School held a slight advantage in field goals and three point shots made. The Pirates grabbed three more rebounds than the Grizzlies, 38 to 35, and committed one less turnover, 14 compared with Sunnyside's 15.
Yes, the game was evenly matched, but it took a fourth quarter surge by Rogers to come away with the win.
Sunnyside Coach Ron Rowe said the first quarter moved along at a quick-paced tempo. The Pirates held a slight lead after the first quarter, 9-6, but Sunnyside came back in the second period and only trailed by two points, 26-24, at halftime.
To start the second half the Grizzlies made a little spurt of their own, outscoring Rogers 19-5 in the period. Sunnyside was led by Israel Manzo with 10 points in the quarter and Alfredo De La Barrera with four points.
"We were able to push the lead out to 14 points but Rogers cut it to 12 at the end of the quarter," Rowe said.
With a 12-point lead heading into the final period Sunnyside seemed poised to advance to Saturday's loser-out game that would decide if the Grizzlies went to State. Instead, the lid closed on Sunnyside's basket as the Grizzlies shot just 2-of-12 from the field and were outscored 31-16 by the Pirates in the final period.
Devon Daniels, a 6'5" forward for the Pirates, scored 12 points in the quarter and Dillon Franklin, a 6'4" forward for the Pirates, dropped in nine points and Rogers cruised.
Sunnyside fell behind 59-56, but Manzo was fouled attempting a three-point shot and nailed all his free throws to tie the game at 59.
The Pirates then took a one-point lead on a free throw and the Grizzlies missed a shot at their end that would have given them a one-point lead. Rogers took the ball down the court and a Pirate player was fouled, which he converted into two free throws and a 62-59 lead.
The Grizzlies had one more shot at tying the game, but a three-point attempt missed as the game ended.
"It was a hard fought ball game for us," Rowe said. "We fought hard throughout the ball game. The kids gave a great effort, we just came up a little short."
Rowe said the support from Sunnyside in Spokane was amazing.
"The coaches and the team would like to thank all the students that made it up to the game," he said. "We really appreciated it. It was really great to see that support."
Manzo led the Grizzlies in scoring on Friday, putting up 26 points, grabbing four rebounds, dishing off two assists and recording two steals. De La Barrera had 15 points for Sunnyside, including seven rebounds and three assists. Jacob Bos had five points for the Grizzlies and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. Jordan Esqueda also dropped in five points and he dished off seven assists.
James Sanchez had three points for Sunnyside and also recorded two steals. Jesse Leija had two points and two steals. Andrew Daley gave Sunnyside two points and Matt Johnson scored one point for the Grizzles. Chance Graff had three rebounds.
Franklin led the Pirates with 23 points. Daniels had 21 points and seven rebounds. Teammates Derrick Foote and Therone Tillet scored five points for the Pirates. Myka Brown had four points and pulled down nine rebounds for Rogers. Chris Davis and Brandon Dole each scored two points apiece.
The season was a success for the Grizzlies. They finished second in the Columbia Basin-Big Nine Columbia Division, behind 4A Davis. Sunnyside won the 3A District Championship for the first time in many years and was just two wins short of earning a State berth.
Sunnyside finishes the season with a 15-8 record.