The Peninsula College men fell in a deep hole early, but roared back with a huge second half to beat previously undefeated Skagit Valley 76-72.
The Pirates got down early 33-15, but shot a eye-opening 76 percent from the floor in the second half (19-for-25), including 85.7 percent from 3-point range (6-for-7) to outscore Skagit Valley 51-33 in the second half.
For the game, the Pirates shot 66.7 percent from 3-point range (8-for-12) and 94.1 percent (16-for-17) from the free-throw line.
The Pirates had struggled somewhat with their shooting leading into this game. Coach Donald Rollman said that in practices this week, he literally didn’t talk about shooting because he felt it had gotten into his players’ heads. “We lifted in the morning and recovered. We did no repetitive shooting. We stopped talking about it,” Rollman said.
Ty Artis led the Pirates with 17 points, shooting 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. He also had six assists and five steals. Isaiah Sampson had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Vince McFarland shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and scored 11 points. Keith Seldon and KeAndre Hunter-Holiday each had eight points, with Hunter-Holiday hitting a pair of critical 3-pointers down the stretch.
The Pirates were in trouble early, down by 18 points in the latter stages of the first half. They managed to claw back to make it 39-25 at the half.
Rollman said he didn’t really say all that much at the half. “I told them you have two choices. Either compete and play hard and give yourself a chance or get your butt kicked,” he said.
The Pirates started off hot at the beginning of the second half, going on a 14-4 run, punctuated by a Jaylin Reed dunk to make it 43-39 with 16:39 left. The Pirates took a lead 47-45 with 11:18 left in the game on an Artis bucket and then actually built up an 11-point lead at 57-46 with 8:24 left. In less than 12 minutes, the Pirates outscored the Cardinals 32-7.
The Pirates have had trouble holding second-half leads this season and the Cardinals rallied.
“Skagit, Everett, Bellevue … those teams are going to make a run. We know that was going to happen,” Rollman said.
However, this time Peninsula responded with some clutch shots. The Cardinals went on a 10-3 run to make it 60-56, but Hunter-Holiday stopped Skagit’s momentum by hitting a trey with 3:29 left to open the lead back up to seven points. With the Cardinals down just 67-64 with 48 seconds left, Hunter-Holiday hit another clutch 3-pointer to open the lead back up to six points.
“Then we executed. We executed to a ‘T,’ ” Rollman said.
Reed finished the game by making a steal and four straight free throws in the final 20 seconds to secure the win.
Former Port Angeles Roughrider Gary Johnson got in the game and scored four points in five minutes.
Peninsula (3-3) next plays at Everett (3-2) on Wednesday, April 21.
Peninsula 76, Skagit Valley 72
SV 39 33 — 72
PC 25 51 — 76
Skagit Valley (72) — Hall-Scriven 25, Harris 15, Howard 12, Iglesia 9, Santana 9, Miller 2.
Peninsula (76) — Artis 17, Sampson 14, McFarland 11, Seldon 8, Hunter-Holiday 8, Reed 6, Johnson 4, Welsh 2, I. Garcia 2, N. Garcia 2, Medlock 1, Rodgers 1.