After losing two of their last (8) games of the high school season, which the state's 5A Division defending state champions are not accustomed to doing, Sunnyslope High School (21-5) got back to their winning ways on Tuesday evening - completing a big road win over a talented Apollo team 58-38.
The contest began as a low-scoring affair in the first half, as Sunnyslope comfortably held a nice lead in the contest. Apollo (13-11) has a very talented team, but they are young. As a result, the team has struggled to gain consistency this season.
Late in the first half, Apollo's skilled 6-foot-7 junior wing Emmanuel Taban would hit a three-pointer to narrow the Sunnyslope lead to 7 points, 22-15, with 1:39 remaining.
Immediately after, 6-foot-1 senior point guard Bryson MeWhinney (pictured) would collect a loose ball and finish a layup in transition in the open floor. Then the next trip down the floor, do-it-all 6-foot-4 senior forward Kyle Fischer would make a nice assist to teammate, 5-foot-11 senior guard Allan Abayev for a three-pointer from the wing, as the halftime buzzer sounded - giving the Vikings a 27-15 lead at the half.
The second half began with Sunnyslope looking to put Apollo away, as MeWhinney would score on a mid-range floater, just before a steal in the open floor by Kyle Fischer. Fischer would travel the length of the floor and throw down a strong two handed dunk on the break to give Sunnyslope a 31-15 lead. Fischer though would get called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, which would give Apollo two foul shots, which Emmanuel Taban would convert. The free-throws would give Apollo life.
Apollo's 6-foot-1 senior forward Martin Simon would grab an offensive rebound and finish the put-back with 2:47 left to play in the third period, which would pull Apollo to within 8 points of Slope, 31-23. But every time Apollo would make a run, the Sunnyslope team would rev up their offensive engine to keep pace with the Hawks.
Apollo would pull to within 7 points of Sunnyslope at the end of three quarters, after a buzzer-beating layup by 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Zeke Thompkins (son of Gary Thompkins). Thompkins impressive catch and finish in the air at the buzzer would make the score 37-30, Slope.
In the fourth period, with Apollo surging for a comeback, 6-foot-6 senior post Chris Orozco would score a basket inside to start the period, then finish a three-point play in transition to put his team ahead by 10 points, 42-32. After a floater in transition by Kyle Fischer, another transition layup by Allan Abayev, another strong basket in the paint by Fischer, which resulted in a three-point play, and consecutive offensive put-backs by Orozco late in the period, Sunnyslope would pull away, 56-34.
Sunnyslope would cruise to the big road win, 58-38 - getting back into winning form and preparing for their final regular season contest against Sierra Linda HS (2/6).