Desert Dog Slim McGhee battles SunKing center Devonte Elliot for the tip-off of Friday’s matchup with Yakima. The SunKings won easily over the cold shooting Nevada team. A large crowd enjoyed the game despite the loss.
Photo by Lou Martin

The Yakima SunKings rolled into town for a two-game series against the Nevada Desert Dogs this past weekend. When the smoke cleared for the hot shooting Yakima (Washington) squad, they easily departed with two wins and a 3-1 NAPB record while the hometown Dogs fell to 0-4. The Sun Kings won 99-92 on Thursday and 104-86 on Friday.

The Desert Dogs were their own worst enemy as they committed numerous turnovers and shot poorly during the series.

The Dogs fell behind early Thursday night, Jan. 18, 20-9 but battled back prior to halftime to cut the SunKings lead to 52-55 at the break. The Desert Dogs were hampered during their rally with two of their big men stuck on the bench with four fouls each.

The Nevada squad raced to a 66-61 lead behind the play of Dominic Schuler.

The burst woke up the SunKings who went on a 12-0 run to retake the lead 73-66. Forced to use a three guard lineup, the Dogs stuck with Yakima as their little big men Larry “Ant” Strickland and Tyree Murray kept the Dogs close 74-76 with their hustle.

The small rotation with Jamal Peterson in the mix had all the points to give the Dogs an 86-84 advantage midway through the final period. The SunKings responded once again with another 12-0 run to retake the lead 96-86. The Dogs managed only 18 points in the period to lose 99-92.

Peterson and Schuler led the Dogs with 18 points each. Peterson total included five three-pointers. Strickland and Murray added 15 and 14 points respectively.

Raynaldo Major led the SunKings with 29 points followed by Tyree Thorton with 19 points. The SunKings went to the line forty times making 22, while the Dogs were 20-23 from the stripe.

The Desert Dogs hoped for a better outcome in Friday night’s rematch. But it was déjà vu for the Dogs as they shot poorly and had troubles defending the paint.

The SunKings big man (7-foot) Devonte Elliot scored the first 10 points in the period for the SunKings and Major followed with 9 points as they led 29-20 after one period.

The Desert Dogs stunk up the gym in the second period as they managed only 13 points in a 12 minute quarter. Meanwhile the SunKings continued to bang underneath using their height advantage to force Desert Dog fouls.

The SunKings took advantage of four technical fouls and went to the line 13 times making 10 free throws to the Dogs two points. The lapse in offense found the Desert Dogs down 54-33 at the break.

Center Slim McGhee led the Dogs with 8 points. The Desert Dogs began the second half turning the ball over three straight times while SunKing Kris Jenkins hit three shots from downtown to give the Yakima squad their biggest lead of the game 60-35.

The Sunkings added four more three-pointers in the period to lead 86-57 after three. The Dogs outscored the SunKings 19-18 in the final period but fell 104-86. Larry Johnson Jr. had 10 point in the quarter to lead the Sundogs. Little Jamal Peterson led the Dogs with 16 points for the game.

The Dogs go on the road for their next six games before returning on Feb. 16 to host the Rochester (New York) RazorSharks. The Rochester squad has dropped its first six games of the young season. After three weeks of NAPB play, the Kentucky Thoroughbreds lead the league with a 4-0 record.