RICHLAND - Opportunity knocked but the Sunnyside Grizzly boys basketball team couldn't answer in a 72-68 loss at Hanford last night.
Both teams were tied for second place in CBBN league play heading into Tuesday's contest. The even match-up was reflected in the first half as Sunnyside trailed just 41-38.
The Grizzlies appeared to turn things around in the third quarter with a 19-11 run to grab the lead. Israel Manzo led the charge with nine of his game-high 21 points coming in the third stanza.
Sunnyside looked to be in even better shape when just three minutes into the fourth period Hanford's post player, Joe Douglas, picked up his fourth foul. That sent Douglas to the bench for several minutes in the final stanza. With the paint open minus the Falcon big man, Sunnyside couldn't make use of the opportunity.
"We didn't take advantage inside with Douglas on the bench," said Sunnyside Assistant Coach Ruben Fernandez.
As a result, Hanford was able to build a lead, then ice the win when Douglas re-entered the game with about two minutes to play.
While praising the Falcons' defense, Fernandez said his team was too quick to settle for perimeter shots instead of driving inside.
That was reflected in free throw shooting, as the Grizzlies attempted just 11 free throws - canning eight - while Hanford was 20-of-27 from the charity stripe.
While the Grizzlies had a handle on Douglas, holding him to 13 points - "We did a fairly decent job on him, he's had some monster games," Fernandez said - Sunnyside struggled to stop Hanford's Jalen Watson. The Falcon soared for 19 points, including a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
On offense, Sunnyside received a boost from Cody Fernandez and Greg Spini with 10 points each. Trey Serl added nine for the Grizzlies.
Eric Amaro paced the Grizzlies in the paint with nine rebounds, while Manzo added seven boards and recorded two steals.
Sunnyside (3-2, 7-3) is home for a pair of games this coming Friday and Saturday, facing Pasco and Kamiakin, respectively.