KENNEWICK -- After a lazy 17th birthday of watching TV and eating lasagna, Kennewick junior Angelique Whistocken celebrated in style Saturday on the basketball court.
Whistocken scored a career-high 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while leading the Lions to a 56-29 CBBN 3A rout of visiting Sunnyside.
Wearing her lucky 'Lions' sock on her right leg, Whistocken scored 19 of her points in the second half and 15 in the fourth quarter, after picking up three first-half fouls and having to sit the final 4 minutes, 24 seconds of the second quarter.
"The guards started looking inside more and driving in more," said Whistocken of her second-half explosion.
Never miss a local story.
The Lions (2-4 overall, 2-0 league) clung to a 24-20 halftime lead, before outscoring Sunnyside 32-9 in the second half.
"I challenged them at the half to play defense and show what great players they are," Kennewick coach Tarah Staton said. "We played great defense against Pasco (on Friday) and then came out and didn't play well at all in the first half. In the second half, though, they stepped up."
Whistocken, Ashley Kump and Janey Valerio led the charge in the third quarter.
Sunnyside pulled within 24-22 on a layup by Vanessa Alvarez with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter.
The Grizzlies didn't score again until 6:44 was left in the game.
Whistocken started the run with a putback, McKayla Sanders added a jumper, then Kump made four free throws to make it 32-22.
Valerio then sandwiched four free throws around a layup by Whistocken, who capped the 16-0 run with two free throws.
"We did better with our body positioning and moving our feet in the second half and the girls just performed," Staton said. "Offensively, we slowed down and the kids got good looks."
Whistocken really went to work in the fourth quarter, going 7-of-9 from the free-throw line and making three layups and hitting a jumper for a three-point play.
The Lions had a decisive height advantage and it showed in the second half after they struggled to get the ball inside in the first half.
"It took us awhile to get comfortable offensively," Staton said. "(In the second half) we were looking inside and letting our plays develop better."
The recipient of all of that was definitely Whistocken.
"We went out and wanted it so bad," she said. "We knew going in it could be a tough game. (Defensively) we had to close out better and force them to the baseline."
Which is exactly what the Lions did. The Grizzlies didn't help matters, shooting 11-of-26 from the free-throw line.
Ruby Herrera's 11 points and five rebounds led Sunnyside (0-6, 0-2).
Valerio finished with 11 points and six rebounds for Kennewick, while Panisesi Taimani added four points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds.
For Whistocken, though, her day was complete with the career-high in points.
"Janey Valerio gave me trailmix and Sweet Tarts," Whistocken said. "But the best part (of my birthday) was definitely the 23 points."
The 23 points and the birthday party she is expecting today.
SUNNYSIDE -- Adilene Palencia 1 1-2 3, Vanessa Alvarez 2 1-4 5, Melissa Amaro 0 3-8 3, Ruby Herrera 3 4-7 11, Audi Sanchez 1 1-2 3, Kaylynn Jongsma 0 0-1 0, Marissa Correa 1 0-0 3, Sydnee Hernandez 0 1-2 1, Sammie Reyes 0 0-0 0, Priscilla Bermudez 0 0-0 0, Daisy Rodriguez 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 11-26 29.
KENNEWICK -- Whitney Hicks 2 0-0 4, Angelique Whistocken 8 7-9 23, McKayla Sanders 1 1-2 3, Ashley Kump 1 4-6 6, Janey Valerio 2 6-6 11, Panisesi Taimani 2 0-0 4, Kim Sanders 2 0-0 4, Sam Lester 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 19-25 56.
Sunnyside 8 12 2 7 -- 29
Kennewick 15 9 14 18 -- 56
3-point goals -- Sunnyside 2 (Herrera, Correa), Kennewick 1 (Valerio). Total fouls -- Sunnyside 29, Kennewick 23. Fouled out -- Kennewick, Hicks, K. Sanders. Rebounds -- Sunnyside 23 (Herrera 5), Kennewick 46 (Whistocken, Taimani 10). Turnovers -- Sunnyside 31, Kennewick 26.