Pirates win in Helpenstell's return

If that name on the back of No. 12 looks familiar, it should.

Brooke Helpenstell, Peninsula's top athlete on the 2006-2007 squad, is back from a one-year hiatus to give Peninsula College's women hoops squad a boost.

On Saturday night, she made her second impression count, helping the Pirates to a 77-57 win against visiting Shoreline.

Helpenstell scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds as Peninsula earned a win in their NWAACC conference opener.

Sam Flett, the Pirates' leading scorer since she took the court last season, led Peninsula with 21 points, five assists and just one of the team's 13 turnovers in 32 minutes of play as the Pirates dominated their visitors from Shoreline.

The Pirates jumped to a 49-26 halftime lead, giving coach Julie Stewart a chance to play all 13 roster players.

Brittany Bridges added 12 points and Britney Yamane had 11 points and four steals. Krystal Tolliver had six assists.

"Now these games count," Yamane said. "We can seriously start scouting (other teams). It all comes down to conference play."

Peninsula forced 23 Shoreline turnovers for 27 points.

Kylie Williams led Shoreline with 17 points.

Peninsula hits the court Jan. 10 at Bellevue. The Bulldogs (0-1, 7-6) lost in their conference opener 56-46 at Everett.

The Pirates host Olympic Jan. 14. Game time is 5 p.m. followed by the men's game at about

7 p.m.

Pirates tackle Titans

In their final preconference schedule game, Peninsula showed little wear and tear from a rugged preseason schedule in a dominating, 80-37 win against Tacoma Dec. 30.

Flett scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the first half as the Pirates built a 20-point advantage by halftime.

Tolliver and Tina Knight helped a balanced attack with 10 points each and forced the Titans into a dreadful 15-of-54 (28 percent) shooting from the field; Tacoma missed all eight three-point tries.

"Our defense is what keeps us in it," said Yamane, Peninsula's point guard. "It doesn't matter how our offense is going. We all trust each other."

Though the Pirates weren't sharp from the field either, hitting about 40 percent of their tries in the first half, they dominated the boards, out-rebounding Tacoma 60-36. Flett led the team with nine rebounds, one of six Pirates with at least five boards.

Up 34-14 after 20 minutes of play, the Tacoma squad - a team suiting up just seven players - managed to convert on a pair of offensive sets and give the visiting Titans hope of a comeback. But Tolliver, all 5-foot 3-inches of her, snagged five rebounds, two steals and three assists in the second half's first five minutes, shutting the door for good.

"The team has done well (early)," Peninsula coach Julie Stewart said. "This group is bonded; they care and they want to have success. They understand that the intensity on defense has to be all the time."

Peninsula converted 26 Tacoma turnovers into 27 points while the Titans managed just seven points off Pirate miscues.

Tolliver finished with seven rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Peninsula bench players accounted for 38 of the team's 80 points.

"We may be deeper than I thought," coach Stewart said.

Kalasa Taumaletia led Tacoma with 10 points.


Division standings

Team Conf. Over.

Everett 1-0 2-9

Olympic 1-0 3-6

Peninsula 1-0 6-6

Skagit Vly. 1-0 9-1

Seattle 0-0 1-9

Bellevue 0-1 7-6

Edmonds 0-1 0-8

Shoreline 0-1 6-6

Whatcom 0-1 4-5

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