Girls teams steady, strong

Jessica Mendoza of the Grizzlies defends against West Valley’s Shannon Curtis before stealing the ball.

Photo by Jennie McGhan
Jessica Mendoza of the Grizzlies defends against West Valley’s Shannon Curtis before stealing the ball.

— Lower Yakima Valley girls basketball teams continue to prove their unmistakable prowess on the hardwood.

Four of five area teams won their games Friday — Sunnyside, Sunnyside Christian, Granger and Prosser.

Saturday, the Grizzlies, Knights, Mustangs and Mabton all prevailed.


The Grizzlies played one of their toughest opponents — West Valley — and it was down to the waning moments before the game was decided Friday.

Sunnyside beat the Rams, 67-64.

West Valley surged to an early first-quarter 16-5 lead.

“We had to grind our way back,” Grizzlies coach Rick Puente.

Hit team outscored West Valley, 19-13, in the second, but the Rams maintained a 29-24 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, the Grizzlies outscored their opponents, 12-11.

The final quarter was a battle both offensively and defensively, but Sunnyside came out on top, 21-14.

“Hats off to Coach Whitfield and the Lady Rams,” Puente said. “They had a great game plan and executed it.”

The key to Sunnyside’s victory was outscoring West Valley “… in chunks of time,” Puente said.

“It was a team effort — the girls stayed calm and kept their composure,” he said.

Saturday’s game against the Pirates was won more handily as the Grizzlies worked together. The final score was 69-34.

The team was led by Emilee Maldonado’s 22 points and 4 steals Friday, and 19 points and 8 assists Saturday.

West Valley’s Elly Teske and Nicole Rasmussen each scored 14 points; Imani Brown of the Pirates scored 10.

“Every girl contributed,” Puente said following the game at Davis.

“Everyone played with a sense of urgency and confidence,” he said.

Sunnyside Christian

The Knights won Friday’s affair at Lyle, 77-14, and Saturday’s against Bickleton, 72-15.

Scoring a game high 20 points Friday was Alyssa Martin. Teammate Kristen Broersma scored a game high 22 points the following night and got a double-double with 12 rebounds.

Friday’s other leaders included Sailor Liefke with 16, Broersma with 12 and Madi Candanoza with 9.

Against the Pirates, Liefke tallied 13 points and 4 assists, Martin scored 11 and provided 5 assists and Sophie Halma scored 9 points.

“The girls worked hard and played hard,” Knights assistant coach David Candanoza said.

He said every member of the team had time on the court both nights.

“I like to challenge these girls mentally and they met the challenge,” Candanoza said.


The Spartans defeated Cle Elum-Roslyn Friday, 52-39.

Leading the charge with 11 points was Lily Stewart.

The Warriors’ Anna Kelly also scored 11 points.

Granger opened the game with a 13-5 run in the first quarter. In the second stanza, the Spartans outscored their opponent, 15-6, for a 28-11 halftime score.

Granger slowed the game in the third, the Warriors outscoring the home team, 12-10.

The Spartans allowed Cle Elum-Roslyn to score 16 points, while tallying 14 in the final stanza. It wasn’t enough for the Warriors to take the lead.

Granger didn’t play Saturday.


The Mustangs defeated Toppenish, 53-42, on Friday and won, 57-50, Saturday against Ephrata.

Against the Tigers, Marissa Cortes hit a career mark of 500 points. She scored a game high 26 points against the Wildcats and 20 against Ephrata.

None of her teammates scored in double digits Friday. Saturday, Brooke Wheeler tallied 11 points and Ashley Magana tacked on 10. Wheeler also collected 13 boards against the Tigers and 16 against Toppenish.

Ali Cox contributed to the effort against the Wildcats, grabbing the ball from the glass 13 times.

Prosser (12-1, 13-2) is No. 2 in the Central Washington Athletic Conference after the weekend victories.


The Vikings prevailed 38-34 over Walla Walla Valley Academy Saturday.

They did not play Friday.

Scoring a game high 16 points was Mabton’s Britnee Guerrero. She also recorded 7 rebounds, as did teammate Noemi Galarza.

The leading scorer for Walla Walla Valley Academy was Willa King with 14 points.

Mabton commanded the game in the first stanza, outscoring its opponent by 10 points.

The halftime score was 19-13, as Walla Walla Valley Academy tried to work its way out of the deficit.

In the third quarter, the hosts outscored the Vikings, 11-5 tied the game at 24-24.

In the final, Mabton held off the offensive efforts of Walla Walla Valley Academy, outscoring the home team, 14-10, to clinch the win.


The Pirates lost both their Friday and Saturday games.

Friday, they suffered a 36-26 loss to Trout Lake.

Isabella Dean of Trout Lake scored a game high 13 points Friday.

Leading Bickleton with 10 points was Hali O’Banion. She scored 7 points against Sunnyside Christian on Saturday.

The Knights won that match-up, 72-15.


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