A loss to division rival Bellevue? That normally doesn’t sit well with any Pirate.
But head coach Ali Crumb is looking at the positives.
By virtue of a tiebreaker, Peninsula is taking the fourth and final seed to the NWAACC tournament and will play the Lane Titans — a team Peninsula (17-9) lost to by just three points earlier this season.
“We play very similar to the way Lane plays; we match up well with them,” Crumb said.
By virtue of Saturday’s 56-48 loss on Sophomore Night to Bellevue, the Pirates head into their first appearance at the NWAACC Tournament in four years (and only their fifth playoff appearance in the college’s 15-year history) as an underdog.
But Crumb said her team will do fine against anyone if they play defense like they did Saturday against the Bulldogs.
Peninsula held the No. 7-ranked Bellevue squad to just 37-percent shooting, seven second-chance points and one 3-pointer all night.
Unfortunately for the Pirates and the throng of fans that packed the P.C. gym Saturday night, the shots simply didn’t fall, particularly in the second half. Peninsula shot six-of-30 — that’s 20 percent for non-math majors — and saw a four-point halftime lead vanish.
“We were even with them the whole game; it was those first three minutes (of the second half),” P.C. guard Jesse Ellis said.
Brittany Barrington led a patient, opportunistic Bulldog offense with eight points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and six steals.
Taylor Larson led the Pirates with 16 points, Jasmine Yarde added eight points and eight rebounds, and Ellis and Karli Brakes had five assists each.
The Pirates honored three sophomores — Ashley Manker, Callie Monfrey and Megan Smith — in their final home appearance with the Pirates.
“My sophomores are excellent leaders on and off the floor,” Crumb said. “It won’t be the same without them.”
Those sophomores are far from finished. The Pirates can now turn their attention to the NWAACC tournament, where they’ll be considered a long-shot to place high.
“We’re pretty close to where we want to be,” Crumb said. “I like going into the tournament as the underdog.”
Peninsula opens the tourney Saturday against Lane, the South Division champions, at 4 p.m.
Trying to pick up a game on rival Whatcom in the standings, Peninsula did just that with a 74-55 win against Olympic’s Rangers in Bremerton on Feb. 22.
Ellis scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds, Larson had a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Brakes added six assists in the win.
Peninsula had a 40-30 lead at halftime and watched it grow as they held Olympic to eight-of-27 shooting (29 percent) in the second half.
Abby Jones led the P.C. women with 15 points, Larson put together another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Yarde chipped in nine points and Ellis had another all-around solid contest with eight points, six rebounds, five steals and five assists.
The Pirate defense was once again in full shutdown mode, holding the Dolphins to 25-percent shooting from the field and allowing just one 3-pointer in 13 attempts. Peninsula also forced 24 turnovers that led to as many points.
Shoreline scored just 13 points in the second half.