The Yakima Sunkings are back and rolling like the good ole’ days.
Almost a decade removed from their last game played as a member of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and 5-time champion of that league, the Sunkings began their new journey as a member of the new North American Premier Basketball (NAPB) league Friday night.
Playing host to the Vancouver Knights – also playing their first game of the season – the Sunkings shook off some early cobwebs and used a key, second quarter run that gave them control en route to a routine, 97-84 win.
Yakima (1-0) was led by Melvin Johnson III (24 points, including three 3s), Tyler Thornton (18 points) and Renaldo Major (17 points, five rebounds) who made all 11 of his free throw attempts.
The Knights (0-1) were sparked by Devon Alexander (21 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Vance Cooksey (18 points).
Yakima’s key to victory was a 32-11 edge from the foul line while taking 44 attempts compared to the Knights’ 23.
“We got off to a slow start, but with the 15-0 run in the second quarter, got a little separation,” Yakima head coach and GM, Paul Woolpert said. “We hit some big shots when we needed them. I was happy to get back on the court and play against another NAPB team.”
Vancouver did outrebound Yakima, 52-39, but it wasn’t enough.
“We need to shoot the ball better from all around (floor, line and 3-point),” Vancouver head coach Jesse Carlin said. “I think that was the biggest game changer. As a coach, you don’t want 24 turnovers and to shoot less than 50 percent from the line. They shot the ball well and played well in the second half.”
-Alan Dale, Media Relations NAPB