PORT ANGELES WRESTLES tonight for its first undisputed Olympic League boys title since the 2014-15 season when the Roughriders (5-0) take on the Olympic Trojans (4-1), winners of three-straight league crowns, at the Port Angeles High School gymnasium.
Port Angeles seniors will be honored during senior night ceremonies before wrestling begins at 6:30 p.m.
They are: Grant Abrams, Daniel Basden, Corey Danielson, Riley Gale, Trevor Shumway and Dominick Timperio on the boys team and Tatum-Mae Edmonson, Sarah Jonlet, Emily Light and Samantha Rueda-Mortensen on the girls team.
Riders head coach Rob Gale and the seniors also are inviting members of the first Port Angeles wrestling team coached by program founder Bud Dire to be honored at tonight’s dual meet.
Alumni wrestlers are asked to be at the gym by 6 p.m.
Losing Long hurts
Port Angeles girls basketball suffered multiple losses this past Friday. First, the Riders fell on the road to North Kitsap 69-63 in what Mark Krulish at our sister publication, Kitsap Daily News, called “a treat” and “the best game I’ve seen this year, boys or girls.”
The Riders lost their grip on sole control of first place and fell into a tie with the Vikings for the Olympic League 2A Division lead. And the defeat may lead to a second straight one-game tiebreaker between the two teams for the top seed to district play and a first-round bye.
But the biggest loss was the news that sophomore guard Millie Long, the reigning Olympic League and Peninsula Daily News All-Peninsula MVP, is out for the rest of the season with a broken finger.
Long walked into the PA gym this past Friday to cheer on her older brother Gabe and the Riders boys to a huge win over North Kitsap while wearing a soft cast on her hand after undergoing surgery.
She said she injured the finger late in a game at West Seattle on Jan. 12.
Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter said the Riders will have to collectively step up in Long’s absence, and most importantly value the basketball, something Long excels at.
“She’s averaging nine points a game offensively, but defensively we lose deflections and steals more than anything,” Poindexter said Saturday. “And she doesn’t turn the ball over a huge amount. We will place a team emphasis on not committing turnovers.”
Poindexter said Port Angeles turned the ball over 22 times against North Kitsap, as opposed to 12 turnovers when the teams played in December.
“North had 32 the first time we played them and 19 [Friday night].”
Poindexter said he wanted his team to take the message that “the basketball is a sacred object” to heart going forward.
“I’m willing to live with it if 20 percent of our possessions are turnovers,” Poindexter said. “And sometimes we get up to 25 or 30 percent. We were at 33 percent vs. NK and that’s too much to win against good teams.”
Good work Forks
The Forks High School basketball programs brought back Spartans great Ron Bagby last Friday for induction into the Spartan Basketball Hall of Fame.
Forks also has invited former athletic greats Kasey Ulin back for a hall of fame induction last season and inducted Ulin’s teammate on the great 1999-2000 Forks team, Kurt Olson, earlier this season.
Spartans boys basketball head coach Rick Gooding earned praise in a post on the Forks Facebook page.
“Huge shout out to coach Rick Gooding, not only are you a great coach and person, but the program of bringing back Spartans athletes is the best,” said Lesa Armas “Our future kids get to see how proud they are of our town, and community. This is awesome and a great idea, pat your self on the back.”
Gooding said this after Olson’s induction.
“I think its important to show our guys we have had some great people and great athletes play here and we have a strong Spartan tradition to uphold.”
Clark across the pond?
Fresh off scoring 10 of his 14 points and dominating inside defensively in a frenetic fourth quarter to beat North Kitsap for the first time in nearly five years, Port Angeles’ Liam Clark was asked about his college plans.
Clark, last season’s Peninsula Daily News All-Peninsula boys basketball MVP, said he has been hearing from multiple schools interested in the 6-foot-7 post.
The University of Victoria, an NAIA school, has Clark’s interest, he said, along with Evergreen State College in Olympia.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]