YAKIMA For the second night in a row, the Sunnyside girls basketball team proved they are strong, defeating formidable opponent.
The Grizzlies won their game against Lincoln at the Davis Pirate Challenge tournament in overtime, 50-47, Friday night.
Sunnyside is the second team to defeat the Tacoma-based Abes this season. Bellarmie Prep was the first to do so Dec. 22 by a score of 49-46.
“They (Lincoln) are a very tough team,” Grizzlies coach Rick Puente said. “They are very talented, big, physical and athletic.”
Sunnyside opened the game with a 13-12 first-quarter lead and held Lincoln to 4 points in the second quarter to lead 27-16 at halftime.
The Abes played a better second half, outscoring the Grizzlies 15-14 and 13-3 in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
“The (Sunnyside) girls had to keep their composure throughout the game,” Puente said.
“At the beginning of the game, we were down by 6, and the girls fought through it,” he said.
The rest of the game was back-and-forth, he said. The biggest lead was 10 points, but Sunnyside scrabbled and fought their way through each quarter.
“We knew it would be a great test,” Puente said.
Sunnyside struggled to get the ball in the basket and it appeared Lincoln was going to prevent the Grizzlies from scoring any points in the final quarter. It looked as if the team was going to lose by 3 points to the Abes.
Ashlee Maldonado, with just seconds on the clock, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 44-44 at the end of regulation, keeping her team alive.
In overtime, both teams were hungry. But, the Grizzlies outscored Lincoln 6-3 to notch the win.
“It was a character builder for us,” Puente said.
“It’s good for the team to be tested mid-season,” he said.
Maldonado scored 13 points, provided 2 assists and hauled in 4 boards.
Her older sister, Emilee, led the team with 18 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
“Stats-wise, it was a great night,” Puente said.
The Grizzlies were 9-for-18 from treyland, 31 percent from inside and hit 5-of-6 shots from the charity stripe.
Jessica Mendoza tallied 8 points, 3 assists, 2 boards and 3 steals; Chastitee Garza scored 6 points, provided 2 assists and got a rebound; Lexi Skyles added 5 points to the tally and hauled in 2 boards.
Scoring a game high 21 points was Lincoln’s Faith Brantley. Morticia McCall also scored in double digits with 14.
“I’m very proud of the girls, who fought through adversity,” Puente said.
Sunnyside leads the Big 9 conference with a league record of 3-0, 8-0 overall.
Tomorrow, the Grizzlies host Pendleton, Ore.