Pirate shooters rain on Storm

The shots weren’t falling early, but when they did, it made all the difference.

Sam Flett drained a crucial three-pointer to open the overtime scoring and Krystal Tolliver hit four of Peninsula’s eight overtime free throws as the Pirates knocked off division frontrunner Seattle Saturday night 67-59.

It was the second win in as many games for Peninsula against teams they’re chasing in the North Division standings, following a two-point win against Skagit Valley Jan. 16.

“It’s just a comeback; those teams we’ve beaten were on the top of our league and we just had to get them at home,” said Pirate forward Bethany Holt, who had nine rebounds and three steals in the win against Seattle. “I think that this is going to be the start of a long winning streak, hopefully.”

It looked far from that with seven minutes remaining, however, as the Pirates saw a 20-20 halftime tie dissolve into a 48-38 Seattle lead with less than seven minutes remaining. But the Pirates, keyed by a full-court press, a timely three-pointer from Brianna Allen, a three-point shot-and-free throw from Tolliver and strong inside play from Brittany Bridges, pulled Peninsula to a 54-54 tie.

Bridges’ offensive rebound and pair of free throws gave the Pirates a 56-54 lead, but Seattle’s Chiaki Nakamura tied the game with 25 seconds to play. Neither team could get a decent shot off in regulation.

After Flett hit her three-pointer, Seattle simply went cold, missing a barrage of shots, sinking just one field goal and one free throw. Meanwhile Tolliver, a 5-foot-4 freshman guard from Lathrop, Calif., buried all four of her free throws and kept the Storm on their toes with her quick drives to the hoop.

“She’s been hurt,” Holt said of her teammate, noting Tolliver’s knee injury. “She’s got to get back (up) to the speed. She’s probably one of the quickest players on her team.”

Despite some poor shooting — 21-of-65 for the game, or 32-percent — the Pirates managed to force enough turnovers and get solid scoring (21 points) and rebounding (13 boards overall, five offensive) from Bridges to stay close.

And when it counted, Flett’s long-range bomb changed the game and the Pirates iced it with patience and free throws.

Kayla Bennett and Amber Hering had 19 points and 11 rebounds each to lead Seattle.

Tolliver finished with 11 points while Flett had nine. Seattle held top Peninsula scorer Kathleen Wilson to eight points.

“I think the younger girls are starting to mature a whole lot,” Holt said. “They’re starting to understand that the speed of the game is a lot different than high school. So we’re starting to come together.”

Peninsula is back in action at Everett Jan. 23 and to host Edmonds Jan. 26.

Holt layup gives P.C. women a win

In a game full of high drama, could it end any other way?

Holt hit a last-second layup with the clock winding down to help Peninsula beat Skagit Valley 63-61 in Port Angeles Jan. 16, giving the Pirates their second win in conference play.

Skagit Valley came into the game with an 11-4 mark and with six votes in the newest Horizon Air coaches’ poll.

“It was just a heck of a game for our girls,” Peninsula coach Tiffany Darling said. “They just came out and battled.”

Peninsula saw a 10-point first-half lead dissolve into a nine-point deficit with two minutes to go before mounting a dramatic comeback, culminating with Allen’s three-pointer with 12 seconds on the clock.

Skagit Valley had a chance to win the game but Peninsula’s Bridges collected an errant Cardinals’ shot and threw an outlet pass over the outstretched arms of a Skagit defender to Holt, who banked in the winner.

Holt finished with eight points and a team-high eight steals while Britney Yamane led the team with 14 points. Flett posted an overall solid contest with 13 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

Wilson added 10 points.

Jessica Takara led Skagit Valley with 14 points.

Coming off two poor shooting contests, the Pirates were moderately better from the field, hitting 24-of-63 (38 percent). Furthermore, Bridges — the Pirates’ top post player — struggled to the tune of four points, hitting two of nine field goal attempts.

But the Pirates hit their shots when it counted and got three-point shots from five different players, including Allen’s second long-range shot of the season.

“I’m so proud and happy for our kids,” Darling said. “We’ve endured a lot of injuries this season. (We’re) finding a way to win. It was a huge, monster upset for us.”

The Cardinals’ poor free-throw shooting (1-of-6 in the second half) didn’t help the visiting squad.

Peninsula vs. Whatcom, late

The Jan. 21 match-up between Peninsula’s men and women at Whatcom was too late for this section of the Sequim Gazette. See for game results and details.

NWAACC North Division standings (as of Jan 20)

Team Conf. Over.

Everett 5-1 12-6

Bellevue 4-1 9-8

Skagit Vly. 4-2 12-5

Peninsula 3-2 7-7

Seattle 3-2 10-6

Olympic 3-3 6-10

Whatcom 2-3 6-9

Edmonds 0-5 0-14

Shoreline 0-5 2-12

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