PORT ANGELES — Semipro basketball debuts on the North Olympic Peninsula on Saturday night when the Port Angeles Rams host their first-ever game against the Seattle Mountaineers at Peninsula College at 6 p.m.
Former Neah Bay hoops standouts such as Abraham Venske and Daryl Svec are on the roster, along with Port Angeles City League ballers such as Ben Lierly, Mike Janis, William Hatch Jr. of Forks and the brother pairing of Anthony and Kenny Meier.
The team is part of the American Basketball Association and will play a five-game home slate against teams from Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, Wash.
Head coach/general manager/co-owner Gerrad Brooks has been working toward Saturday night for months and is looking forward to the debut. He’s met with Port Angeles Lefties co-owner Matt Acker and received advice on in-game promotions and marketing the team to area basketball fans.
Create an atmosphere
“We want to provide a fun atmosphere for those that come out,” Brooks said. “There’s been so many people who have been helpful in getting behind us and supporting what we are doing and I want everybody to come together and enjoy a good game and enjoy the atmosphere.”
“We will have some contests, some giveaways and we will have team gear available later on in the season. Good stuff like hats, socks, shirts and hoodies.”
Saturday is Youth Night, with youth organizations such as Clallam County 4H, and North Olympic Youth Football on hand, along with area Boy Scouts presenting the colors during the National Anthem.
Donations of change will be collected for Rams’ partner agency United Way of Clallam County. The Rams’ second home game on Jan. 26 also will be United Way of Clallam County Night, with 10 percent of ticket sales going to the nonprofit organization.
Brooks, who coached Neah Bay to a state championship appearance in 2013 with Venske on the team, said the Rams have been practicing twice a week for two months at the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s gymnasium.
“Lower Elwha councilman Joaquin Robideau has been really helpful in supporting what we have been doing,” Brooks said.
“We played in the Lower Elwha Tournament and won that, so that has helped in getting us in gear.”
As for style of play, Brooks’ Neah Bay teams were characterized as high-scoring with intense defensive effort leading to easy transition baskets, so expect a similar mentality with the Rams.
“We are trying to be a little more methodical with what we do while getting up and down the floor,” Brooks said. “We are a little bit of a smaller team compared to others in the league, so we need to be solid in what we do defensively and we do have some excitement coming from the players on our roster. Fans will be entertained.”
Ticket prices are $8 online at tinyurl.com/PDN-RamsTickets, or $10 at the door with children 5 and younger admitted free.
A $2 discount will be provided to senior citizens, students and military members (with ID).
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]