Peninsula’s fatigue and lack of mental focus were evident as they turned the ball over 18 times and failed to deliver a sustained effort that would have put the game away.
On the other hand, the Pirates’ athleticism and depth of talent was obvious as they out-rebounded Everett nearly two-to-one and overcame some inconsistent stretches of play.
Ultimately, Peninsula’s strengths overshadowed its shortcomings as the Pirate men persevered against a resilient Everett Trojans squad for a 75-68 victory on Feb. 21.
“When a team’s making a run, we get the whole team dialed in, collected together, and they’re going to execute the game plan, and they’ve done a good job of that,” Peninsula coach Lance Von Vogt said.
“That’s how we’ve weathered so many storms.”
Pirates struggle after opening surge
After scoring the first 10 points of the NWAACC North Division contest, the Pirates (12-3 in division, 17-7 overall) went into a slump.
Ricky Mason canned a 3-pointer to open the scoring for the Trojans (3-11 in division, 3-18 overall) with 16:55 to play in the first half. Mason’s bucket also marked the beginning of a 24-10 run by Everett over the next seven minutes, giving the visitors a 24-20 lead.
Peninsula, though, netted 16 of the final 22 points scored in the last six minutes of the opening period, including nine from Thad Vinson, and took a four-point lead, 41-37 into halftime.
Everett, however, took advantage of Peninsula’s 18 miscues, matching the Pirates point-for-point in the second half.
“Our mental acuity wasn’t dialed in tonight. We allowed Everett to stay in the game,” Von Vogt said. “Every time we got a 10-point lead, we put two or three mistakes in a row together that allowed Everett back in the game.”
Everett capitalizes on Peninsula miscues
The Trojans were never more in the game than when they trailed the No. 3 Pirates by just one tally, 69-68, with less than a minute remaining in the game after erasing a sizable Peninsula lead.
Punctuating a 13-5 Peninsula stretch, DeShaun Freeman gave the Pirates a ten-point advantage, 66-56, as he took a feed from Jerry Johnson, knifed through the lane, and delivered a one-handed dunk so powerful that it rocked the basket from its rest.
Freeman’s authoritative jam with seven minutes to play could have been the blow that knocked Everett out of the game, but the Trojans embarked on 12-3 tear that included nine unanswered scores over a two-minute frame.
Everett’s Aaron Matzen stepped in front of a Peninsula pass and ran the length of the court for a lay-up, bringing his squad to within one point.
That bucket would be the last time Everett scored as the Pirates drained the final six points of the game, all of them coming from Sammeon Waller.
Vinson led the Pirates with 23 points to go along with eight rebounds. Freeman added a double-double, netting 17 points and pulling down 15 rebounds.
Matzen was the Trojans leading scorer, draining 23 point and collecting six rebounds and five steals. Devin Andrews garnered 12 points and eight rebounds.
Peninsula will conclude the season in Shoreline against the Dolphins (6-8 in division, 13-11 overall) on Sunday, Feb. 27.