Close, but no Final Four.
Peninsula College’s men’s and women’s basketball squads suffered similar fates last week, winning their openers to move into the quarterfinals before getting knocked out just short of the NWAC Tournament Final Four at Everett Community College.
PC men, top Portland, fall to Tacoma
Like their counterparts in the women’s bracket, Peninsula’s men drew the early game on March 9 and responded with a victory over the Portland Panthers, thanks to key 3-point baskets by freshmen Trent Warren and Cole Rebedeaux that broke open a 58-58 tie.
Darrion Daniels led PC, the North Region No. 2 seed, with 20 points. Alex Baham had 14 points and Jason McCullough added 11 points and 6 assists.
Portland, the South Region’s No. 3 seed, was led by McCowan’s 19 points and 5 assists. Gabe Garrett contributed 14 points, and Cameron Retherford with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Panthers opened up an early 10-point lead in the first half only to see the Pirates close the half on an 8-0 run. At halftime, Portland led 30-28.
Picking up on their hot shooting at the end of the first half, the Pirates came out on a 10-3 run to start the second half to take their first lead of the game 38-33.
Portland regained the lead 52-51 at the 8:17 mark let by stellar second half offensive play of McCowan.
The teams battled back and forth down the stretch with the lead changing multiple times. Tied 58-58 with three minutes to go, Peninsula forced the Panthers into some critical turnovers and forced shots.
On March 10, Tacoma — fresh off an upset for top-ranked North Idaho — overcame a hot-shooting Pirate squad to eliminate PC, 75-64.
Khalil Thompson scored all of his 20 points in the second half to lead the Titans to the win. Kahliel Wyatt added 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Ravion Bell added 9 points and 14 rebounds.
Leading the Pirates was McCullough with 16 points. Omar Lo followed with 15 points and Trent Warren finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pirates looked to have Tacoma’s number early on, scoring the first 13 points of the game; the Titans did not score their first basket until the 14:49 mark of the first half.
Tacoma weathered the Pirate storm, however, and worked their way back from a double digit deficit to trail 36-29 at the half.
Tacoma tightened up their defense sparked by Ravion Bell’s four blocked shots and with better ball movement took their first lead of the game midway through the second half.
PC’s men finish the season 19-9.
PC women go 1-1
A big game from Taisha Thomas led Peninsula to a win in its NWAC tourney opener on March 11, as they topped Tacoma 69-61.
Thomas finished with 20 points — 14 in the first half — and 10 rebounds. Fellow soph Jenise McKnight chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds.
Peninsula, the North Region’s No. 2 seed, took advantage of a depleted Tacoma bench; the Titans suited up just seven players.
Tacoma, the No. 3 seed from the West Region, got 36 points — 20 in the first half — plus 14 rebounds from top scorer Bobbi Westendorf, but the Titans simply couldn’t keep pace.
A day later it was Peninsula having trouble keeping pace with top-ranked Umpqua, who powers past the Pirates 85-58 on March 12.
Riverhawk Dajanay Powell had 35 points and 14 rebounds, while 6-foot 4-inch freshman Jordan Stotler added 20 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. Bria Thames had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Pirates were led by Thomas’ 17 points and McKnight had 14 points.
Umpqua jumped out to a 23-8 first quarter lead and 49-17 after one half.
Peninsula finishes the 2016-2017 season with a 19-10 record.