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Yakima SunKings guard Brent Schuck shoots during a March 18, 2018 game against Rochester in the SunDome. On Friday, May 4, 2018, Schuck shared team-high honors with 17 points to help Yakima beat Kansas City 106-78 in the opening game of the first-round North American Premier Basketball League playoff series in Kansas City, Mo. (AMANDA RAY/Yakima Herald-Republic file)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Paul Woolpert knew his team had a good week of practice in preparation for its playoff opener.

But even the Yakima SunKings coach was slightly stunned by his team’s performance Friday night.

Sparked by yet another tenacious defensive performance, the SunKings jumped ahead early and had a response for every Kansas City run, finally pulling away for a 106-78 victory in game one of the first-round North American Premier Basketball League series.

“That was a pretty impressive team win,” Woolpert said, citing Yakima’s defensive effort as the catalyst.

“Our defensive intensity was exactly where it needed to be,” he continued. “We made it difficult for them to score throughout the game.”

Yakima can wrap up the best-of-three series with a victory Sunday in the SunDome. Tipoff is set for 5:11 p.m. Should Kansas City prevail, the deciding game will be at 7:11 p.m. Monday in the SunDome. The series winner will meet Albany for the title.

Given Yakima’s dominating play Friday, the SunKings clearly have a leg up in that quest,

Yakima set the tone by limiting Kansas City to 15 first-quarter points, including six over the final eight minutes of the period as the SunKings went from trailing 9-5 to leading 26-15.

Maintaining nearly that same level of intensity the rest of the way, the SunKings held Kansas City to 32-percent shooting in the game (29 of 90) and 18 percent from 3-point range (5 of 28).

“We followed the game plan extremely well,” Woolpert said.

Reserves Robert Upshaw and Brent Schuck both played just 18 minutes each but they shared team-high honors with 17 points apiece, with Schuck a perfect 6 of 6 from the field, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range.

“Our depth is our biggest strength,” Woolpert said.

Upshaw’s production was particularly important.

Kansas City’s last meaningful push came late in the third quarter as it closed within eight with under three minutes left. But Upshaw had six points in a 10-3 closing burst to push Yakima’s lead out to 74-59.

“To be honest, they (Kansas City) didn’t have an answer for him,” Woolpert said of the 7-foot center. “He’s an immensely talented post player who is extremely tough to defend.”

Yakima then scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to make it 85-59 and behind Schuck’s 12 points and Tyler Thornton’s four-point play, the SunKings would build the lead to 104-71 before cruising home.

In addition to Upshaw and Schuck, four other SunKings reached double figures — Jackson Trapp (16), Tyler Thornton (14), Renaldo Major (11) and Cedric Jackson (11).

Jackson, a 6-foot-3 guard, also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, while Thornton dished out 10 assists.

Taveres Sledge had 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead Kansas City, while Charlton Jones (14 points) and Franklin Williams (10) also reached double digits, but the three were a combined 18 of 48 (37.5 percent) from the field, including 3 of 21 (14 percent) from long distance.

YAKIMA — Renaldo Major 5-7 1-1 11, Koshwal 2-6 1-2 5, Tyler Thornton 4-8 3-3 14, Cedric Jackson 4-10 3-4 11, Brent Schuck 6-6 2-2 17, Duncan 2-8 0-2 4, Farmer 1-4 0-2 2, Battle 2-7 0-0 5, Elliott 1-3 2-2 4, Robert Upshaw 8-15 1-2 17. Totals 41-86 14-23 106.

KANSAS CITY — Franklin Williams 4-12 2-2 10, Rambo 2-6 0-2 5, Taveres Sledge 8-18 4-4 22, Greenberg 2-10 2-4 6, Charlton Jones 6-18 1-1 14, Denson 2-9 0-0 4, French 2-6 4-6 8, Hall 1-3 0-0 2, Cole 2-8 2-4 7. Totals 29-90 15-23 78.

Yakima 26 25 23 32 — 106

Kansas City 15 22 22 19 — 78

3-Point goals—Yakima 10-26 (Schuck 3-3, Thornton 3-5, Trapp 3-7, Battle 1-3, Farmer 0-1, Upshaw 0-1, Major 0-1, Duncan 0-5), Kansas City 5-28 (Sledge 2-6, Rambo 1-1, Cole 1-4, Jones 1-9, Greenberg 0-1, French 0-1, Williams 0-6). Fouled out—Greenberg. Rebounds—Yakima 54 (Jackson 12), Kansas City 56 (Sledge 18). Assists—Yakima 26 (Thornton 10), Kansas City 19 (Jones 8). Turnovers—Yakima 17, Kansas City 17. Steals—Yakima 4 (Duncan 2), Kansas City 8 (Greenberg 3). Blocked shots—Yakima 8 (Upshaw 3), Kansas City 3. Technical fouls—Koshwal. Total fouls—Yakima 26, Kansas City 22.