High school basketball: New Sunnyside coach aims for finals return

2012-12-27T00:00:00Z High school basketball: New Sunnyside coach aims for finals returnDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 27, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Sunnyside freshman Jacob Inclan scored a game-high 17 points to help the Blue Devils and first-year coach Rob Harrison to a 45-point win over Marana on the first day of the Northwest Desert Classic.

Harrison spent four years as the head coach of the Cienega girls squad before taking over the Sunnyside boys program this year and so far, he's off to a good start especially after Wednesday's win.

"These guys can score, they're fun to coach," Harrison said.

The Blue Devils (7-4) shook off a rusty start and scored 26 points in the second quarter on their way to an 80-35 victory at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, to help open pool play of the tournament which features 10 boys and eight girls teams from around the state.

Games are also played at Canyon del Oro. The tournament concludes on Saturday afternoon with the finals.

Harrison has coached in the same tournament before with Cienega and took the Bobcats to the championship game last year. Now he hopes to reach it again, this time with the Blue Devils.

Senior Pedro Muniz sank a three-pointer as time expired in the first quarter to give the Blue Devils a 17-8 lead and set the tone for the remainder of the game.

That started a 10-2 run for Sunnyside, which ended the second quarter on a 15-2 run. The Blue Devils led 43-15 at the break.

"We sped up the game, and we were aggressive on defense, which led to some easy scores, and on offense we were able to run some of our stuff and play fast," Harrison said.

"When we play fast, we can be really competitive with anybody."

Inclan also said Sunnyside's full-court press was a big help in the win.

Marana (1-12) couldn't rebound from the 28-point deficit, but sophomore Ryan Swan, the younger brother of former Marana star Jamee Swan, scored a team-high 14 points in the second half after getting shut out in the first.

Coach Jeffery Laos said his team had too many turnovers and struggled with execution. The Tigers were also without senior leading scorer Davon Roebuck.

"We have some young kids that have some heart," Laos said. "They're just a little bit tentative on their skill."

Harrison also said turnovers were a problem for Sunnyside early but liked how his team bounced back.

"We ran the floor hard, and we dictated on both ends of the floor with tempo," Harrison said.

Sunnyside plays CDO today at 8 p.m. and Friday against Pueblo and Desert Christian to conclude pool play.

Tourney schedule and Wednesday's box scores on Page B5

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