RICHLAND - It took 18 games but the Sunnyside High School girls basketball team finally got off the snide with a 46-45 win last night against the Hanford Falcons in Richland.
"It's nice to get that monkey off our back," said SHS Coach Rick Puente.
Puente and the other Sunnyside coaches have been preaching all season about the importance of playing all four quarters of a game. Last night the Lady Grizzlies did just that.
"We were executing well," Puente said. "We did all the small things. We had great patience and we were aggressive, but we never forced the issue."
In the first half Sunnyside was able to get the shots it wanted, mid-range jumpers and close shots from the paint.
"We contested all of their shots and we hustled on rebounds, both offensively and defensively," Puente added.
The Lady Grizzlies led 11-8 after the first quarter and were up 25-21 at halftime. Sunnyside was able to get to the free throw line early and often. Sunnyside was 9-for-14 from the charity stripe in the first half.
At halftime Puente said his girls had a great attitude in the locker room and talked about finishing the game.
The Lady Grizzlies came out and played hard in the second half, despite missing some shots in the third quarter. Hanford played well, too, and slowly cut Sunnyside's lead until the Falcons led the game 35-34 to start the final period.
"We stuck with them through the fourth quarter," Puente said. "The girls dug deep and showed a lot of heart and character to get that victory.
"It was a total team effort, everyone contributed," he added. "We played four quarters, it's what we've been talking about all year."
The Lady Grizzlies outscored the Falcons 12-10 in the final period to come away with the win.
Sunnyside was led by Ruby Herrera with 11 points. Melissa Amaro had eight points. Monique Willingham finished with seven points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Vanessa Alvarez added six points. Both Kaylynn Jongsma and Priscilla Bermudez had four points. Marissa Correa finished with three points. Audi Sanchez had two points and Sammie Reyes added one point.
Hanford was led by Coco Gall with 14 points.
Sunnyside (1-11, 1-17) will finish the regular season this weekend when the Lady Grizzlies host Pasco on Friday and Kamiakin on Saturday. Both games start at 5:45 p.m.
"We're going to ride the momentum from this win into Friday and go out and try to get another victory," Puente said.