The Sideline

An errant Mount Tahoma handball in the box put Decatur’s Marco Bravo in position to put his team ahead 1-0 just ten minutes into the April 1 Tuesday night non-league match and the senior punched it into the back of the net at Mt Tahoma Stadium.

For the next seventy minutes Mt Tahoma (1-3-1) controlled the ball, dictated the flow of the game and had several chances for an equalizer goal, let alone a handful more. Instead, the Thunderbirds were plagued by numerous offside calls, poorly struck kicks in front of the goal and a few headers that were almost good enough.

The Gators (2-1) played a strong game, especially freshman goalkeeper Jose Barbosa, who saw nothing but Mt Tahoma runs and corner kicks at the Decatur goal for most of the match.

“The last couple of years I maybe wouldn’t have wanted to even schedule a game against Decatur because I might be afraid of what might happen,” said MT coach Scott Nelson. “So now I think it shows the advancement of the program. I can take guys off the bench and they still contribute. It’s not like we’ve got seven or eight players and everybody else is kind of making up the numbers. I’ve got a real squad here.”

Thirty minutes into the match, Mt Tahoma’s Shina Arborowa punched a near-perfect left-footed crossing pass from outside of the box that Vitaliy Dimov headed just a foot over the crossbar.

“That header was a little too high. I tried to get it in there,” said Dimov. ““I think we controlled this game and our other two losses, but we just didn’t finish the game.”

Dimov and the Thunderbirds had numerous opportunities in the second half but were whistled for 3 offside penalties within the first five minutes that looked to be solid chances. Eleven minutes in Anthony Garibaldi saw an uncontested 10-yard kick sail just right of the goal.

It would be a trend for Mt Tahoma the remainder of the half. While constantly pressuring and on the attack, the results were offside, wide-right, over the crossbar or wide-left.

“If we play the same, control the game and just finish, we’ll start winning,” Dimov said. “We want to win league, but we’ve got to get some goals to get some wins.”

Coach Nelson felt confident following the game that his squad was getting very close to turning the corner on the season and becoming a threat in the 3A Narrows League race.

“You don’t get points for style or for the number of shots and possessions and things like that,” Nelson said. “You get points for goals in the net and that’s the part we’ve got to work on. I feel like we’ve got the personnel to win games and do well enough to make the playoffs and that’s our goal. Next up we’ve got Wilson and that game’s for real.”

Mt Tahoma hosts Wilson at 6:30 p.m. April 15.

Following possibly the roughest season in school history, Mount Tahoma High School has hired Ricky Daley to take over the Thunderbird football program.

Daley has been an assistant coach at the University of Puget Sound since 2007; most recently coaching tight ends. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, where he was an Academic All-Conference wide receiver, Daley is also an Investigator for Child Protective Services.

“I look forward to bringing some excitement and success to the Thunderbird program,” said Daley. “I want to get the numbers back up with our turnout, get those young student-athletes excited about playing football, and see them have fun doing it.”

Daley will have his work cut out for him. Mount Tahoma suffered through a winless 0-10 season in 2013, losing each game by an average of 48-3. Former head coach Kevin Hanis resigned from the program at the end of the season.

Many Tacomans still remember the back-to-back undefeated State AAA Championships the Thunderbirds rattled off in 1979 and 1980. Perhaps change is in the wind.

The cream of Tacoma’s rich basketball talent crop will be well-represented Friday night at the 7th annual Cloud 9 Boys All-Star Games at Auburn High School. There are four games on the schedule and tipping off at 7 p.m. the showdown of the night is easily the 3A Narrows all-star team against the 4A Narrows all-stars.

Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students with ASB card.

4:00 - Seamount All-Stars vs. Nisqually All-Stars

5:30 - 2A SPSL All-Stars vs. 3A SPSL All-Stars

7:00 - 3A Narrows All-Stars vs. 4A Narrows All-Stars

8:30 - 4A SPSL North All-Stars vs. 4A SPSL South All-Stars

Unlike the All-State all-star games, these Cloud 9 contests will feature players from all grades, not just outgoing seniors. The All-State games are scheduled for March 22 at Eastside Catholic High School.

The Seattle Mariners have promoted Roy Howell as the new manager of the Tacoma Rainiers. Howell was recently serving as the hitting coach of Mariners Double-A affiliate Jackson Generals of Tennessee.

Howell replaces Rich Donnelly who was named the new third base coach for the Mariners on March 7. Donnelly's stop in Tacoma was a quick one. He took over the Rainiers January 15 and leaves the team before managing a single game.

Prior to his stint at Jackson, Howell was the hitting coach for the Class-A High Desert Mavericks. During his two seasons of instruction the Mavericks set franchise batting records in average, hits, RBI and runs scored.

A former American League All-Star and 1978 team MVP of the Toronto Blue Jays, Howell spent parts of 11 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Texas Rangers, Toronto and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Things were quiet on the Wilson side of the Tacoma Dome as the Lady Rams struggled for three quarters and fell behind 26 points before the start of the fourth. It was a fabulous fourth quarter, but the Lady Rams ran out of time falling to a hot-shooting Bishop Blanchet squad 65-55 in the 3A State Semifinal Match-up.

Freshman Josie Matz scored 12 of her team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. Wilson(20-6) shot 8-for-12 for the quarter following three quarters under 30 percent. Meanwhile, the Braves (22-4) started hot, converting 60 percent of their shots, including five 3-pointers in the first half. Blanchet would cool off to finish at 51.2 percent for the game, but the damage had already been done.

Wilson junior Violet Morrow finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds, while sophomore Kiara Knox added 10 points and 9 rebounds. Blanchet was led by Jadyn Bush’s 22 points and 8 rebounds.

The young Wilson club will play Bellevue (22-7) at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome for the 3A Third-Place Trophy. Blanchet meets Cleveland (25-2) at 9 p.m. for the 3A Hardwood Classic Title.

SCORING TOTALS

WILSON: Josie Matz 22, Violet Morrow 14, Kiara Knox 10, Tyra Foster 4, Kiara McMillan 4, Paige Costello, Amanda Darden, Aujanique Doss, Desiree Ayler.

BISHOP BLANCHET: Jadyn Bush 22, Caitlyn Dixon 11, Micah Lussier 9, Bella Kemp 8, Lily DiPietro 6, Taylor Chambers 5, Julia Fleming 2, Lee Erickson 2.

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