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Pirates reign in New Year
Not a bad way to start 2013.
The Peninsula College Pirates captured their second tournament championship in the past 14 days, bookending the Christmas season with something to cheer about.
The Pirates (9-4) overcame a talented and feisty Centralia squad who used a 2-3 zone to slow the high-powered Peninsula team down. Eventually the Pirates figured out the zone en route to their second Clackamas Holiday Invitational championship in as many years, winning the final by a 71-65 score.
The tournament championship marks the fifth tournament championship the Pirates have won in the past six attempts — starting with the 2011 NWAACC Championship title run.
The Pirates extended their winning streak to six games and also remain the only undefeated school against NWAACC competition owning a 6-0 record and two tournament championships versus other NWAACC schools.
Salim Gloyd earned MVP honors with a 24-point, 15-rebound game that included a huge 3-pointer with 1:36 remaining in the contest that placed the Pirates ahead for good, 62-61.
"Salim played terrifically all tournament long and most definitely deserved the honor," Peninsula head coach Lance Von Vogt said. "Tonight we struggled against their zone, but as all champions do, we found a way to win the game. This group of guys refused to lose this game even though we were trailing for most of the contest."
Peninsula out-rebounded Centralia 46-36.
A night after shooting 50 percent field goals the Pirates were limited to 35-percent shooting in the championship win. Centralia shot 44-percent from the field in the loss.
"Anytime you get out shot by about 10 percent in field goals you usually lose the game, but tonight our ability to play on through mistakes and show uncommon tenacity pushed us to victory and the championship," Von Vogt said.
Djuan Smith scored 17 points with nine rebounds to earn a All-Tournament team honors to go along with his MVP from the crossover tournament.
Xavier Bazile earned all tournament honors averaging 18 points and five rebounds per game during the tournament.
Pirates top Tacoma
In a matchup of defending champs from 2011 and 2012, this one was all Peninsula.
The Pirates smothered the Tacoma offense and got big games from Smith and Gloyd in a 78-56 thrashing of the Titans in the tourney semifinal.
After a back and forth first five minutes of the contest Tacoma natives Donald Gaddy and Bazile converted back-to-back baskets turning a tight three-point lead into an eight-point bulge at 22-14.
Peninsula systematically applied the pressure throughout the remainder of the half settling in for a sizable 35-23 lead at intermission.
"I thought we played an extremely disciplined and composed game tonight," Von Vogt said. "I am extremely proud of our guys because they trusted the system fully and they now have proof of how good we can be when we do that. ÂOur defensive intensity throughout the contest, but especially in the first half, set the tone for our team and allowed us to play more comfortably on the offensive end."
In a balanced effort five Pirates scored in double figures led by Gloyd's 17 points and 11 rebounds. Smith chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds. Gaddy and Bazile both contributed 14 points while Arnold Anderson scored 10.
Pirates edge Yaks in OT
The Pirates opened up their Clackamas Holiday Invitational championship defense with a rugged and hard-fought 83-74 win over Yakima Valley.
The Pirates opened an early 20-8 lead only to see the Christmas break rust cost them as Yakima Valley clawed their way back into the game culminating with a spinning lay up knotting the score at 66-66 heading into overtime.
The Pirates owned overtime scoring the first four points of the extra period and consistently extending the lead until the final buzzer.
"We had one practice before heading down to the tournament and I knew we would be a little ragged," Von Vogt said. "ÂWe talked about winning with toughness and I believe that is what we did tonight."
Bazile led the Pirates with 30 points while Gloyd contributed 17 points and nine rebounds.
Anderson snatched 10 rebounds while Smith had a solid performance with nine points and six rebounds.