KENNEWICK – The Pirates went 3-1 to capture third place at the 2015 Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, Peninsula College’s third-best finish in school history.
The PC men, the fourth seed from the North Division, opened the tournament by upsetting top-seeded Clackamas, and proceeded to dispatch Highline in the second round before falling to tournament runner-up Edmonds, the NWAC’s No. 1-ranked team, in the semifinals.
Peninsula then rallied with a pair of free throws from sophomore Jal Deng with three seconds remaining to beat Green River in the game for third and fourth place on Tuesday afternoon.
“Words cannot express how proud I am of our players, managers, coaches and our athletic support staff for the commitment they have made to the countless hours of practice, video, scouting, and the community events that go into preparing to have success on the basketball court,” second-year head coach Mitch Freeman said. “That started in September and is just now coming to an end.”
“Our guys made a great run that started with thrilling victory over Skagit Valley to put us into the NWAC Tournament,” he said. “Once we got to the tourney we focused on that one game that was in front of us and nothing else. Coach Jon Ing and coach Brian Shirley were instrumental in all aspects of scouting that allowed our guys to prepared for all 4 games in the tourney.”
PORT ANGELES – It didn’t take long for head coach Mitch Freeman and his staff to reach the postseason.
In just his second year as the skipper of the Pirate ship, Freeman recruited a team that not only posted an unprecedented 3.5 team grade point average fall quarter, but a team that became the 11th since Peninsula College resurrected men’s basketball in 1996 to qualify for the Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championships.
“Our guys are very excited about the trip to Tri-Cities and we will be sure to embrace this experience,” Freeman said.
His Pirates (7-7, 14-12) placed fourth in the North Division and will tackle the No. 1 seed out of the South, Clackamas (11-3, 19-10) at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick in the first round of the 16-team men’s tournament.
“They are a well-coached team with depth and experience at almost every position,” Freeman said of the NWAC’s fifth-ranked Cougars. “They have post players who are strong and change shots near the basket. They have a dynamic backcourt with Jaylen Edwards, who knows how to run a team, and the south region MVP Brandon Halter, who is one of the best shooters we will have faced this year. I think we match up well against them, but we will have to know where Brandon Halter is at all times and attempt to keep their post players from getting easy looks inside.”
PORT ANGELES – Peninsula College’s Alison Crumb was named North Division Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, Madison Pilster was named Most Valuable Player and eight other Pirates were honored as All-Conference selections were announced Monday by the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Crumb, in her fifth year as head coach for Peninsula, was named North Division Coach of the Year following her teams’ first conference championship since Crumb was a Pirate herself in 2005.
“In just five years, Ali has established herself as one of the top women’s basketball coaches in the NWAC,” said Athletic Director Rick Ross. “She has worked very hard and she didn’t cut any corners. She is a tremendous coach, her players love and respect her, and we couldn’t be more proud of her achievement.”
The Port Angeles product admitted that the award is special to her.
“This award means a lot,” Crumb said, “because it shows growth in a program that I care a lot about.”
Following her graduation from Western Oregon University, she spent one year as an assistant coach and then was promoted to head coach in 2009.
“I had no idea what I was doing, and over the years, and with a lot of help, the program has become a championship contending program and that is important to me,” she said. “What is most important to me, however, is the ability to achieve this award with this group of women. We all care a lot for each other and they are as happy for me as I am for them.”