A blast from the now

  • By Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2007 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – Ron Anderson came a short distance from his Everett home because he thinks the city should support any team that plays at the Everett Events Center.

Lindy Tiedemann of Marysville just wanted to “see some good basketball.”

As for Bill Pyle of Arlington, well, he was out for just a little bit more.

“I’m looking for some excitement,” the season-ticket holder said while dressed in a yellow Explosion jersey and matching hockey mask. “And some dunks.”

Those curious basketball fans who showed up at the Events Center for the birth of professional basketball in Everett got all that and more. The International Basketball League expansion team cruised to a 139-94 win over the Vancouver Volcanoes in the Explosion’s inaugural home opener.

“They got to see an Explosion team that’s really hungry,” coach Randy Redwine said of the fans attending Tuesday’s game. “We’ve still got a long ways to go, but we answered a lot of questions tonight.”

Playing in front of an announced crowd of 3,777, the Explosion overcame a slow start and some poor shooting to remain the only unbeaten team in the IBL’s West Division.

Everett (2-0) has outscored its first two opponents by a combined 73 points.

University of Washington product Donald Watts led the Explosion with 31 points, including back-to-back dunks in the final minute, and Rashaad Powell added 28 points. Intense defensive play led to 27 turnovers by the Volcanoes (0-5).

The Explosion did enough to make a first impression on the curious fans at the Events Center.

“Somehow, some way they need to get this out to the people more that this is here,” said fan Kevin Paylor of Everett, who bought a single-game ticket but plans to come back for more.

“… I’m originally from Seattle, and I’m so glad that Everett is finally having its own teams. There’s none of the salary problems and all that stuff that happens with the big sports. It shows that a small-town team can have its way.”

Included among the fans was Seattle super-fan Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky, who made the one-hour, 45-minute trip from his Burien home to attend the game.

Sandretzky, who has season tickets to Mariners, Sonics and Seahawks games, said Explosion owner Nathan Mumm approached him at a recent Sonics game with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Mumm offered free season tickets if Sandretzky would bring his typical enthusiasm to the games.

“I’m going to be loud and animated,” he said. “I mean, I love sports. To be able to see the guys up close and personal, that’s what I love to do.

“I live for sports. One of my trademarks is: where there’s sports, there’s Big Lo.”

After opening their season at a high school gym in Morton, the Explosion played to much more pageantry Tuesday night. The pre-game ceremony included fireworks, lights and the unveiling of two mascots. The players ran down through the stands during introductions.

The fans seem to enjoy the show, but their excitement quickly faded when the basketball began. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Vancouver’s Porter Troupe put the Explosion into an early 6-0 hole and caused head coach Randy Redwine to call an early timeout.

But the Explosion eventually got on track. Corby Schuh, who teaches middle school in the Marysville school district, came off the Everett bench and made three steals, and assist and a layup during a 14-0 run that gave the Explosion a 23-12 lead late in the first quarter.

After that, the Explosion were in control the rest of the way. Everett was ahead 55-41 at halftime and led by 30 or more points for most of the second half.

Along the way, the Explosion treated the fans to plenty of highlights. Marysville native Darrell Walker made a steal and acrobatic layup in the first quarter. Meadowdale High School product Brian Dennis swatted a shot into the third row during the second quarter. Walker added a couple nifty assists in the third quarter, first making a steal that led to a Powell dunk, then converting a behind-the-back pass for a Watts 3-pointer.

Powell and Watts added back-to-back dunks, each followed by several Explosion T-shirts being catapulted into the crowd.

In the end, it was enough to keep them coming back for more.

“It’s entertaining. It’s definitely worth the look,” said Sandretzky, who plans to return despite the distance from his Burien home.

“If someone’s skeptical about paying 20 or 30 bucks, they definitely have to come check it out.”

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