MOXEE - The 3A Sunnyside Grizzly boys basketball team closed out its non-league schedule in fine fashion last night with a 68-37 whipping of host 2A East Valley.
Sunnyside took control from the outset Wednesday night, leading 16-5 after one quarter and 35-17 at the half.
"Our objective was to come out with a lot of intensity and create the tempo because we knew East Valley would want to slow the game down," said Assistant Coach Ruben Fernandez.
Brandon Daley posted five of his seven points for the game in the first quarter to help Sunnyside to the fast start.
The Grizzly offense fed off of a pressure defense that created 21 Red Devil turnovers.
"That set the tone for the night," said Fernandez. "We live and die with our press. The only way we know how to play is with all-out hustle."
Any hopes of a East Devil rally in the second half were quashed by an 18-7 Grizzly run in the third quarter.
For the game, Sunnyside shot 47 percent from the field. Fernandez said that was a pleasant surprise given the long lay-off his squad had for the winter break.
"The shots were falling for us," he said. "Our kids right now have a lot of confidence shooting the ball."
Israel Manzo led Sunnyside with 17 points in 17 minutes of play, and Greg Spini added nine points for the Grizzlies to go with a team-high six rebounds.
Oscar Medina tallied eight points for Sunnyside, while teammates Eric Amaro and Eduardo Salmeron each scored seven points.
Salmeron recorded two blocked shots for the Grizzlies, while Medina and Trey Serl each had three steals.
Jessie Leija dished out three assists for Sunnyside.
Fernandez said all of the Grizzlies got to see action during the one-sided contest. "Nine of our players had between 13 to 20 minutes," he said.
The result is that Sunnyside garnered 23 points from its bench.
Frankie Navarro and Hugo Lemus led East Valley with eight points each.
Sunnyside (2-0, 7-1) now has a week off before it returns to league play at West Valley on Friday, Jan. 6. The Grizzlies are home the next night, Jan. 7, against Eastmont, then play at Hanford the following Tuesday, Jan. 10.
That's three games in five days.
"Our focus in practice during the next week will be extra conditioning, getting our legs back," Fernandez said. "We'll keep working hard and get the guys ready for the tough league schedule.