In the Pirates’ first two games at the Mount Hood Crossover Tournament, the outcome was decided by a total of three points.
They left less to chance in their third game.
The Peninsula College men’s basketball team earned a fourth-place finish at the Gresham, Ore., tournament with an 83-68 triumph over the Lane Titans on Dec. 19.
The wide margin was welcome after a pair of games that turned fingernails into stubs and wore down the edges of the bleachers.
The Pirates (3-3) lost a closely contested game to the Columbia Basin Hawks, 62-61, on Dec. 17 but bounced back with a 58-56 win against the Centralia Trailblazers on Dec. 18.
Struggles at charity stripe doom P.C.
It came down to fundamentals.
One of the most elementary components of a successful basketball team is the ability to capitalize on free-throws. Peninsula’s battle with the Hawks demonstrated this oft-repeated lament of coaches.
Knotted at 29 at halftime, it was either team’s game for the taking. As back-and-forth basketball games usually are, this contest was largely determined by second-half free throws.
Although the Pirates earned 11 trips to the charity stripe in the second stanza, they netted only four of them. Meanwhile, Columbia Basin (3-6) was successful on five of six attempts from the free-throw line in the second half.
DeShaun Freeman paced Peninsula with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Anthony Williams dropped in eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Propelled by three double-digit scoring efforts and 81-percent success from the free-throw line, Peninsula held off Centralia’s persistent attack.
Mitrell Clark scored 16 points for the Pirates.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers, Williams collected 15 points and six rebounds, while Thad Vinson netted 14 and grabbed four boards.
By their final game of the tournament, the Pirates appeared to be comfortable in the gymnasium at Mount Hood Community College.
Peninsula exploded for 83 points against the Lane Titans (4-5), with a quartet of players using two numerals on the stat sheet to denote their points.
In addition to their 17 points from Lane turnovers, the Pirates capitalized on 16 scores from their bench players.
Capping an afternoon of prolific scoring, Freeman poured in 18 and gathered six rebounds.
Clark added 17 net-threaders of his own while Vinson scored 16 points, gleaned the glass for six rebounds, and dished out four assists.
Williams netted 12 and collected eight rebounds.
Reach Ryan Hueter at email@example.com.