Good Times Roll for Zillah in 74-56 Win over Granger
Not only was Zillah vs Granger the place to be Tuesday night, it was the only place to be Tuesday night. As nearly every other team in the Yakima Valley was taking the night off.
This didn't seem to bother Zillah coach Mario Mengarelli at all.
"It's the mid-January grind. Practice is kinda boring, so I like the busy game schedule."
Zillah (first place) might have been playing the South Central Conference's number three team (Granger), but the talent difference was too great.
After Granger kept it close in the first quarter, Zillah went on a phenomenal 21-6 run behind Antonio Salinas and Cody Vance's four 3-pointers.
"We changed our defense to a full-court man press, that created the turnovers we executed on," said Coach Mengarelli on the run.
Antonio Salinas was playing slightly out of his mind in the first half with 19 points. He looked to be on his way to one of those nights.
But Granger head coach David Morris had an ace up his sleeve.
"We played a diamond and one on (Antonio) Salinas, that was our half-time adjustment, we couldn't let him do it again."
It worked, as Salinas was completely shut-out in the second half.
But Zillah is so stacked top to bottom, the momentum shift by Granger could only be temporary.
The closest Granger ever got was 56-44; before Zillah forward Cesar Diaz hit back-to-back three's to put the comeback on ice.
"I'll take my next four over anyone else's next four," said a confident Coach Mengarelli.
Zillah's schedule has been stacked with intriguing match-ups this season. Including Wapato, Selah, Mark Morris, and Kittitas.
But it's beginning to wind down. Amidst an 11-game win streak, Zilllah's next five opponent's combine for a .292 winning percentage.
As playoff season nears, don't expect anything to drastically change about Zillah's rotation.
Antonio Salinas said they're trying to get (the regular season) over with. This is the healthiest Zillah has been all year, and any confidence boost is all they can ask for.
No doubt Zillah has a plan locked in leading up to their eight straight playoffs appearance.