The Sideline

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 This Week's Paper
Stadium wins first district game since 2001

It had been a while since the Stadium Tigers had been to the district playoffs – 2006, to be exact, when they were defeated by Josh Smith and Kentwood High. And the Tigers hadn’t won a district contest since 2001. But that was then and this is now as the Tigers, behind the game-high 17 points from Eric Anderson-Connolly and 13 points from Jordan Powers, blew away the Jefferson Raiders last night at the Stadium Gym by a score of 67-40 last night.

“That was our best defensive game of the year, and we were pretty good on offense too,” said Stadium head coach and Narrows League 4A coach of the year Doug Cocke’, who will see his team advance to play Curtis on Friday night at 7:45 at Auburn High School.

The Tigers started fast in this game and never looked back behind patient play on the offensive end and a tenacious defense that held Jefferson to a mere 14-for-46 from the field.

“It all starts with Eric, and tonight we could not have played any better on either side of the court,” said Powers. Adding to the excitement of the game was both a packed house and bands from both schools, making the atmosphere befitting of a postseason basketball game.

“Basketball has not been here in a while but we are back now,” said Anderson-Connolly, who directed a near flawless Stadium effort on the night.

The mission on the night for Stadium was try to contain Raider leading scorer Daryon James, who would lead Jefferson in scoring with 15 points but had to work hard just to get off shots all night long.

“He is an absolute baller, and we did a pretty good job on him, all things considered,” said Anderson-Connolly.

With the Curtis Vikings looming in the wings on Friday, Cocke’ does not have much time to get his team ready, but that should not be a problem. “The momentum from this game alone should be enough to get us going, we will need a near, similar effort against a very good Curtis team,” Cocke’ said.

After squandering a 14-point lead with eight minutes to go, the shot that hurt Mount Tahoma the most against Mountain View came from the least likely spot. The Thunder’s Taylor Drey nailed a three-pointer with two seconds left to send Mountain View to a 68-67 win after they had shot just 1-for-18 from the three-point line to that point.

“They scratched away because we didn’t do what we needed to do,” said Mount Tahoma head coach Owen Chambers. “(Instead), we didn’t want to run clock. We were up 14 and we wanted to come down and shoot the three-pointer with three minutes to go. That’s what got them back in the game.”

The dramatic comeback spoiled an outstanding performance from Thunderbird senior Brian Neal, who scored a game-high 31 points for Mount Tahoma. Neal tried to add even more heroics when he heaved a last-second effort from midcourt, but it bounced off the backboard and the rim to end the Thunderbirds’ season.

Mount Tahoma controlled most of the first half, as Michael Rollins – who finished with 15 points – hit four of the Thunderbirds’ six three-pointers in the half and Neal scored 10 points in the second quarter. Neal’s jumper inside with just over a minute left gave Mount Tahoma a 38-27 lead at the break.

The Thunderbirds maintained a double-digit lead for much of the third quarter, as Haywood Irwin scored a couple of early baskets and Neal’s runner with just under five minutes gave them their largest lead to that point at 56-44.

After Neal’s jumper made it 57-43 at the start of the fourth, Mountain View came storming back behind Shane McCauley – who scored 20 of his team-high 24 points in the second half. McCauley’s layup with 4:46 left capped a 12-0 run to suddenly cut it to 57-55. Mount Tahoma kept inching back ahead, first with Devion Hammond’s jumper to make it 61-55 and then Neal’s three that made it 64-59 with 2:40 remaining. McCauley’s put-back a minute later gave the Thunder their first lead since the opening minutes, but Neal responded with a layup to make it 66-65. Rollins made it 67-65 in the final moments after converting just one of two free throws, leading to Drey’s dramatic final shot.

“It seemed like we went away from (Brian) toward the end of the game,” Chambers said. “Everybody else thought they could do their own thing. I think that’s what hurt us, we were being too selfish down the stretch.”

Andre Wiley added seven points and eight rebounds for Mount Tahoma, while Irwin had six points and eight rebounds. Drey tallied 18 points and Luke Duchesne had 14 points for Mountain View.

“I give them credit,” Chambers said of his players. “No one here played in a district game before…it gives the younger group of kids the experience to see the tears in the seniors eyes once the clock goes to triple zeroes. They don’t want that to happen to them. But they did great. They competed well.”

Boys district schedule for tonight

It’s the boys turn tonight to take the stage for the start of the district basketball playoffs. Check back here later tonight for updates on a couple of the games. Here’s a schedule for the local squads tonight.

Mount Tahoma vs. Mountain View @ Clover Park High School – 6 p.m.

Foss vs. Decatur @ Franklin Pierce High School – 6 p.m.

Kentwood @ Bellarmine Prep – 7 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson @ Stadium – 7 p.m.

Battle Ground @ Curtis – 7 p.m.

Tacoma Baptist @ Orcas Island – 7 p.m.

Late basket leads Lions to overtime win

Bellarmine Prep freshman Jayana Ervin went coast-to-coast for a layup with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to lead the Lions to a 41-39 win over Rogers last night in their 4A district playoff opener.

With the game tied 31-31 heading into overtime, Rogers got out of the gate fast, scoring the first five points for a 36-31 lead. The Lady Lions would come all the way back to tie it at 39-39 with under a minute left on Ionna Price’s layup. After a Rogers miss on the offensive end, Ervin would perform her heroics to propel the Lions to the win.

Both teams had trouble handling the rock in the first half, with Rogers clinging to a 20-15 lead at the break. But the second half took on a different look, with both teams having trouble finding the bottom of the net.

With the Lady Lions already struggling minus the ball-handling abilities of Jasmyne Holmes - who is injured - leading scorer Sydney Swofford could not find any offensive consistency, going 0-for-7 from the field.

But Price led the Lions with 14 points, while Ervin added eight points. The win set the Lions up to play top-ranked Mount Rainier in the district quarterfinals at Stadium High School on Feb. 15 at 7:45 p.m.

Mount Tahoma drove to the lane time after time late, consistently giving themselves a chance to get back into the game. But missed free throws cost the Thunderbirds dearly, as they fell 66-60 to Kennedy in the district playoffs tonight at Franklin Pierce High School.

Trailing by no more than six points to Kennedy for the final six minutes, the Thunderbirds went just 3-for-11 from the free-throw line in the final quarter – and 10-for-26 for the game. The Lancers’ Celestina Ramirez, meanwhile, took over scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to help Kennedy put the game away.

Mount Tahoma took a 17-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, as Ashley Keys and Tanisha Lopez - who tied with a team-high 16 points apiece - each hit two three-pointers in the period. Lopez added two more three-pointers in the second quarter, the second of which broke a 22-22 tie with five minutes left.

After Leah Brooks had given the Thunderbirds a 44-42 lead with 2:40 left in the third, Ramirez responded with a three-pointer and followed up with a jumper in the lane to regain the lead for the Lancers.

But Mount Tahoma’s Rejie Wright - who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds - came on strong in the final quarter, helping the Thunderbirds keep pace with an early three-point play and a driving layup that cut the deficit to 55-53 with 3:35 left. But that’s as close as Mount Tahoma would get.

Jea’Ohnna Lee added 9 points and five rebounds for Mount Tahoma, while Nikki Miller had 16 points for Kennedy and Kelsey Abrejera added 14 points.

Tacoma Arts Month University Dental