RICHLAND - The Sunnyside Lady Grizzly basketball team cranked up the intensity but came up short in a 67-55 loss at Hanford this past Tuesday.
"Our defensive intensity in the first half wasn't as aggressive, we weren't jumping to the ball as much," said Sunnyside Coach Rick Puente.
After taking a three-point lead in the first quarter, the host Falcons enjoyed a 19-10 run in the second stanza to build a 33-21 advantage at the half.
Hanford built its lead to as much as 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, when Sunnyside found the intensity it had been lacking.
"We were playing with our backs against the wall and the girls fought back," Puente said.
Sparked by eight fourth quarter points from Natalia Bazan, the Lady Grizzlies pulled to within eight points in the final stanza.
Puente credited increased defensive intensity for his team's rally in the fourth, but noted the Lady Grizzly offense wasn't always able to take advantage.
"We'd get a couple of steals, then turn the ball over," he said. "Our defense was creating some opportunities and we didn't capitalize."
Bazan paced Sunnyside with 22 points, while teammates Vanessa Alvarez and Jordan Rodriguez tallied 10 points apiece.
Savannah Steele led Hanford with 18 points.
Puente says Tuesday's loss is hopefully a lesson learned.
"We talked after the game that we're going to have to step up our play, our interior defense, for the remainder of the season to compete every night," he said. "We need to be aggressive, but playing fundamentally sound basketball."
Sunnyside (2-3, 5-6) hosts two key league games this coming Friday and Saturday against Pasco and Kamiakin, respectively.