Grizzlies fall in season opener

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL

MOXEE – The Sunnyside Grizzly boys basketball team played host East Valley close for three quarters before eventually losing last Friday’s season opener, 72-64.

The score was knotted at 17-17 after one quarter, and the 2A Red Devils clung to a 35-33 edge at the half over 3A Sunnyside.

But it was the third quarters that undid the Grizzlies, as East Valley used a 22-10 run to pull away.

Down 14 points, Sunnyside rallied in the fourth but came up short.

“We played well for three quarters, but the third quarter wasn’t what we needed,” said Coach Geoff LaBrant.

An issue for the Grizzlies Friday night was rebounding, with the Red Devils outboarding Sunnyside 34-22.

“They were getting a lot of second-chance shots,” LaBrant said of East Valley.

On offense, Sunnyside enjoyed a balanced attack with four players in double figures. They were led by Isaiah Fernandez with 20 points. The Grizzlies also got strong efforts from Angel Garza with 16 points, Joel Ortega with 12 and Estevan Salmeron with 10 points.

Salmeron paced Sunnyside in the paint with a team-high six rebounds.

LaBrant also praised the foursome for their free throw shooting, as they combined for 11-of-15 marksmanship behind the charity stripe.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s contest at 2A Grandview, the coach said the focus in practice will be to make sure the Grizzlies have their offense set up when they drive down the court and to seal off the boards to cut down on the number of second-chance shots for opponents.

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