The Peninsula College men’s basketball team, like the women, were on their way to the Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball championships last March when the 2019-20 season was suspended.
A year later, with four players returning from that team, and a strong recruiting class, PC head coach Donald Rollman and his staff said they are looking to put a very exciting basketball team on the new Pirate floor.
The 2020-21 Pirates, who have been training since October, opened their delayed season March 31 at Skagit Valley, a 71-68 loss in overtime. They then made their home debut at 4 p.m. on April 3 — a 93-79 loss to Everett — with the college celebrating the grand opening of its new gym floor with a ribbon-cutting ceremony during halftime.
Peninsula rebounded with a 78-47 rout of Edmonds on the road on April 7.
“We couldn’t be more excited about our 2021 recruiting class,” Rollman said. “We have a strong mix of high quality transfers with experience and awesome incoming freshman who have done a great job of buying into our culture and committing to the process.”
Peninsula returns leading scorer Jaylin Reed (Lodi, Calif.), who averaged 15.6 points per game, as well as Ty Artis (Jackson, Tenn.), KeAndre Hunter-Holliday (Battle Ground), and Keith Seldon (Las Vegas, Nev.).
The Pirates will look to get a big boost from D-II transfer Isaiah Sampson (Camas) and fellow big man freshman Vince McFarland (Boise).
Mixing that with the hot shooting lefty Mikey Medlock (Las Vegas, Nev.) and coach Rollman said he loves the ability to play inside-out with great pace this season.
The rest of the roster includes Isaac Garcia (Fairbanks, Alaska), Neal Garcia (Las Vegas, Nev.), Rayshawn Harris (Seattle), Gary Johnson (Port Angeles), Jaiden Mosley (Bremerton), Marcus Rodgers (Denver, Colo.) and Lewis Welsh (Seattle).
The 2019-20 Pirates went 9-5 in conference play and 20-7 overall, tying for third place in the North.
And while there won’t be a playoff opportunity this spring with a schedule that is limited to North Region opponents, the PC men are playing to win on the court and to be good teammates, good students, and good citizens off the court.
“For us, this season means the same as any other season,” Rollman said. “We want to pursue being great every day. We’ve laid a strong foundation and we will continue to build off of that. Many people think this is a ‘free’ year at the college level because of the eligibility waivers.
If that is the case, I have never seen a group of teenagers work so hard for something that ‘doesn’t matter.’ The work that we are putting in, the relationships we continue to build, the love that we share for each other and the game, that doesn’t come for free, that comes from blood, sweat, tears, and whole lot of love for each other.”
Assisting coach Rollman again this year are Matthew Mayberg and Brian Shirley.
Peninsula will live stream all home games at NWACsportsnetwork.com, and also is selling fan cutouts to support the program, available at printedfans.com. It remains uncertain whether or not fans will be allowed at home games at any point of the season.
In the meantime, the Pirates have managed to overcome all of the obstacles associated with the global pandemic and are finally ready to lace up their kicks and play basketball.
“The reality of playing during a pandemic is quite difficult,” Rollman said. “It takes true discipline to understand that any risk of exposure, risks the entire operation. It is unbelievably challenging to understand as an 18-year-old to sit still in your dorm rooms any time that we are not participating in a workout, practice, or study hall.
“This has been a long journey that started way back in August and we’ve got a long ways to go. Thankfully, our guys have done a phenomenal job building relationships with each other. We truly enjoy being around each other and that has paid dividends on and off of the floor.”
Pirates at a glance
Head coach: Donald Rollman (second season)
2019-2020 record: 9-5 in conference (third in North Division)
Returners: Jaylin Reed, Ty Artis, KeAndre Hunter-Holliday, Keith Seldon
Necomers: Isaac Garcia, Neal Garcia, Rayshawn Harris, Gary Johnson, Vince McFarland, Mikey Medlock, Jaiden Mosley, Marcus Rodgers, Lewis Welsh
Pirates 1-2 in early season action
Peninsula College brought the fire in its first men’s basketball game in more than a year, but the focus was a bit off late in a 71-68 overtime loss at Skagit Valley on March 31
Peninsula rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit in the men’s game to take the lead in the second half.
“After the first half, it was all about getting the nerves out,” Pirates coach Donald Rollman said.
We shot the ball terribly in the first half and for the game, but we walked in the locker room and took three big deep breaths to get it out of our system.”
Rollman credited a boost in his team’s defensive intensity for an 18-2 run that gave Peninsula a 47-42 lead.
“Our defensive intensity picked up; we made things tougher on them,” he said. “It’s been so long since we played. You want to find the fine line where you are not overly excited and making mistakes, but you have the energy you want and are executing.”
The energy was there at the end, but what Rollman described as some “silly mistakes” hurt the Pirates late.
“We have worked really hard for six months (in practice) on the details, and that’s what hurt us late and in overtime,” Rollman said.
Peninsula had the ball with a chance to tie in the final 15 seconds but couldn’t find Garcia, who had an open look at a 3-pointer. Garcia tied with Jaylin Reed for the team high with 17 points off the bench, and Isaiah Sampson had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Rollman chalked up the late miscues to a lack of game experience, something that will only improve as the season wears on.
Peninsula dropped a 93-79 decision in their home opener to Everett, despite a near-perfect shooting night from Vince McFarland.
The freshman big man hit 10-of-11 from the field,including both 3-point tries, to lead PC with 24 points.
Reed had 16 points but struggled from the field, hitting 6-for-24. Sampson had 15 points and had a team-high six rebounds.
Jake Howe led Everett with 25 points.
PC got its first win of the season on the road, topping Edmonds 78-47.
Peninsula jumped to 39-23 lead by halftime.
Ty Artis led Peninsula with 16 points and added five rebounds and four steals and Sampson added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Yadel Hedego was the only Edmonds player in double figures with 11.
The Pirates host Bellevue April 10 and are at Whatcom on April 14.