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Dome away from home

TACOMA – The city of Sunnyside annexed the Tacoma Dome last week.

Or at least it sure seemed that way as hundreds of local residents flocked to the wooden wonder to cheer the Lady Grizzlies at last week’s 3A State girls basketball tourney.

SHS Athletic Director Bill Daley said Sunnyside brought the largest traveling group of fans. The Grizzly faithful numbered about 200 or 300 people for Thursday and Friday’s games, then swelled a bunch more for Saturday’s trophy round contest.

Despite a 200-mile distance – and playing teams from nearby Bellevue and even Tacoma - the Lady Grizzlies played what seemed home games last week based on crowd noise.

The 12th Griz rooted and partied and their presence was felt, said Coach Rick Puente.

“Make sure you mention how much we appreciate them,” a tearful Puente said after last Friday’s trophy-clinching win. “Their being here, their support with texts, the calls, the social media…it means so much to us.”

Julie Perez, mother of Lady Grizzly hoop player Tiana Perez, said most of the girls have been playing together since the third grade and reaching the biggest stage is what they’ve been working for all these years. “It’s pretty exciting,” she shouted over the crowd noise during a break in game action.

After the cheers and music, Daley said the girls and their fans did the school and city proud.

“Sunnysiders are Grizzlies!” he smiled.

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