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Pirate men fall to Bellevue, slide to second place
The beauty of sports is that there is always a tomorrow — a tough loss can quickly be forgotten because another game is always on the horizon.
The Peninsula College men’s basketball team has never been more grateful for that guarantee.
The Pirates dropped a crucial road game to the Bellevue Bulldogs, 74-71, on Feb. 5.
With the loss, No. 3 Peninsula falls out of first place in the NWAACC North Division. The Pirates (8-2 in division, 13-6 overall) are tied for second place with the Bulldogs (8-2 in division, 13-6 overall), a game behind the Skagit Valley Cardinals, P.C.’s next opponent, in the standings.
“We are still on track and in control of our own destiny in the North Region,” Peninsula coach Lance Von Vogt said. “We continue to do what we do, and things will take care of themselves.”
Although Peninsula stayed with Bellevue for the entire game, the Pirates were plagued by poor shooting throughout.
Peninsula shot just 42 percent from the field over the course of the match-up and was successful on just seven of 15 free-throws.
The Pirates capitalized on 26 Bellevue turnovers for 25 points.
Sammeon Waller led Peninsula with 19 points. DeShaun Freeman scored 13 points and collected 10 rebounds.
Daniel Simon was the leading scorer for Bellevue, netting 17 points. Antonio Gonzalez added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
“I believe we will be able to find many areas that need improving to make sure that a road loss like this doesn't happen again,” Von Vogt said.The Pirates may have given up first place, but they will have an opportunity to regain the division lead when they host the Cardinals (9-1 in division, 11-8 overall) at 7 p.m. tonight, Feb. 9.
P.C. overcomes turnovers, get past pesky Rangers
Even though the Pirates had an off night, they walloped a division rival by nearly 30 points.
The Peninsula men’s basketball team led from the beginning, despite committing 18 turnovers, and cruised to a blowout victory, defeating the Olympic Rangers, 86-57, on Feb. 2.
The Pirates scored the first nine points of the contest, Freeman scoring the initial six.
Peninsula coach Lance Von Vogt said the Pirates were able to build such a comfortable lead because of their defense.
“We’ve been working on making sure our defensive effort in the second half equals our defensive effort in the first half,” Von Vogt said.
The Pirates, winners of six consecutive division games, are ranked No. 3 in the most recent NWAACC/ Horizon Air Poll (see box).
Although Peninsula surged to an early 12-point lead, 14-2, before five minutes had elapsed, the Rangers (0-9 in division, 1-15 overall) climbed back into the game because of Peninsula’s turnovers.
“We had a lack of concentration on the offensive end, a lack of patience,” Von Vogt said. “When we exhibit those traits, we turn the ball over. When we’re patient, we get exactly the shot we want.”
Peninsula’s 18 turnovers neared their season-high of 19, which they set on Nov. 27 against Southwest Oregon and again on Jan. 8 versus Bellevue.
Vinson sparks rally
The Rangers capitalized on the Pirates’ casual control of the ball and cut Peninsula’s lead to 25-22 with 6:51 remaining in the first half.
Draining a long three-point shot on the ensuing possession, Thad Vinson ignited the Pirates’ rally.
Peninsula found their stride and went on a 16-5 run, including nine points from Vinson, to close out the half with a 41-27 lead.
Four of those points came on nearly identical plays by Vinson on consecutive possessions.
Finding a gap in the Rangers’ 2-3 zone defense, Vinson drove into the lane and pulled up for a mid-range jumper on back-to-back offensive sets late in the first half.
The Pirates imposed their will on the Rangers for much of the game, dominating the boards and finding repeated shooting success from the field.
Peninsula out-rebounded Olympic, 40-26.
“We have to finish possessions. Rebounds are what finish a possession, so they’re critical,” Von Vogt said. “That’s been a big reason for our success.”
Anthony Williams collected 10 rebounds and Jerry Johnson garnered eight boards.
Shooting 55 percent from the field, the Pirates were able to pull away from Olympic. Freeman led Peninsula with 25 points. Vinson added 18 points.
Coltin Johnson was the leading scorer for the Rangers, netting 18 points. Josh Koets chipped in with 15.
Reach Ryan Hueter at email@example.com.