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Men's Basketball News

Jalon McCullough

PORT ANGELES – The Pirates impressed home fans in their 2016-17 home debut over the weekend, sweeping Grays Harbor and Green River at the annual First Federal Pirate Classic.

The Peninsula men improved to 4-2 in non-conference play, rolling past Grays Harbor 92-76 on Sunday, on the heels of an 82-76 come-from-behind win over Green River Saturday night.

Next up for the Pirates is a trip to Edmonds this weekend where they’ll take on Wenatchee Valley at 4 p.m. Saturday and Blue Mountain at noon on Sunday.

The seven-game Pirate Classic, which featured men's and women's teams from Skagit Valley, Grays Harbor, Green River, Wenatchee Valley, Centralia and the host Pirate teams, was sponsored by First Federal.

Peninsula 92, Grays Harbor 76
A choker is a logging term – and also the nickname of Grays Harbor. In Sunday’s game, the Chokers could have used some logging techniques to cut down the taller Pirates, who outrebounded the visitors 50-32 and dominated play from the opening tip.

The Pirates, led by Darrion Daniels, bolted out to a 22-6 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the half – and kept it rolling for a 47-34 advantage at the break.

Omar Lo had a good day with 23 points, 10 rebounds and an electrifying dunk, Daniels finished with 22 points, six steals and six assists, Jalon McCullough had 10, Cole Rabedeaux had nine, and Trent Warren contributed eight points and seven boards.

Omar Lo

MT. VERNON – The Pirates, coming off a split at the Skagit Valley Turkey Tournament, make their home debut Saturday evening at the 2016 First Federal Pirate Classic.

PC fans will get their first look at this year’s team at 7 p.m. Saturday when the Pirates open the two-day “classic” against Green River. Peninsula will then take on Grays Harbor at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The defending North Region champions are 2-2 in non-conference play.

In Saturday’s 78-65 win over Portland, the Pirates bolted out to a 28-8 lead in the first half and rolled on to victory.

Trent Warren lead four players in double figures with 18 points, Cale Rabedeaux hit for 14, Omar Lo added 13 points and seven rebounds and Darrion Daniels chipped in 12 points and four assists. Sam Velez led PC rebounders with eight.

The Pirates opened their 2016-17 season on a road trip to Gresham, Oregon, and Longview, Washington over the weekend where they split a pair of non-conference games.

Peninsula outscored Mount Hood on the Saints’ floor 83-76 Saturday evening, before falling to the Lower Columbia Red Devils 71-70 in overtime on Sunday afternoon.

In Friday’s season opener, the Pirates overcame a 36-28 deficit at halftime, outscoring the Saints 55-40 in the second half to win going away.

Peninsula had five players in double figures, led by Cole Rabedeaux with 17, Omar Lo 14, Darrion Daniels 12, Jalon McCullough 11 and Trent Warren 10. Kevin Baker added nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Lo and McCullough dished out six assists and Rabedeaux added five.

PORT ANGELES - The defending Northwest Athletic Conference North Division champion Pirates are gearing up for their 2016-17 season opener later this month with their annual Pirate Tipoff event Friday, Nov. 4, followed by a scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 5 against the Seattle Mountaineers.

The Pirate Tipoff, set for a 6 p.m. start on Friday, will feature a men's Black and Gold scrimmage, a 3-point contest, and a dunk contest. Admission is free.

The Pirates will then tackle the Seattle Mountaineers, a Christian-based basketball program out of Monroe made up largely of former college players, at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free to that event as well.

The PC men are coming off their best year under Mitch Freeman, who is in his fourth year as head coach. The 2015-16 Pirates went 18-11 overall and 11-3 in conference play. They were ranked No. 2 in the NWAC going into the post season when they were upset by Chemeketa in the first round of the playoffs.

Jeremiah Hobbs

PORT ANGELES – The Northwest Athletic Conference defines success as character, competition and community. Peninsula College athletes aspire to be good students, good citizens and to win championships. By all of those measures, the 2015-16 Peninsula College men’s basketball players are champions.

The sophomore-dominated Pirates took awhile to find themselves this year, after finishing third in the NWAC in 2014-15, going 7-7 in non-conference play. Then, with no personnel changes, they simply turned up the heat, surprising the North Region by winning 11 games and dropping just three, to claim their first region title since 2008 and their fourth in the history of the program.

That gave Peninsula a No. 1 seed into the 2016 NWAC Men’s Basketball Tournament and a No. 2 ranking in the latest Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll.

Chemeketa, meanwhile, was making a run of its own, winning six of its final seven conference games, including a 15-point victory over South Region champion Clark to place fourth in the South with a 9-7 league record and a 19-11 overall mark.

When the two teams met in the first round of the tournament Saturday evening, a full house at the Peninsula College gym got to see a great college basketball game that came down to the final minute – and that 60 seconds simply went Chemeketa’s way. The Storm got stops and then hit clutch free throws down the stretch to escape with a 69-63 upset – ending the season for a Pirate team that played with heart and class from the opening weekend.

The sudden exit left the Pirates out of the eight-team NWAC Tournament, coming up March 11-13 in Everett – and it proved to be the final time eight sophomores, Dimitri Amos, Ryley Callaghan, Deonte Dixon, Jeremiah Hobbs, Malik Mayeux, Zach Nibler, Chris Reis, and CJ Wood, donned their black and gold-trimmed uniforms.

Freshman guard Darrion Daniels led the Pirates with 19 points off the bench, Callaghan hit for 16 and Dixon had 14. Amos contributed nine points and nine rebounds.

Peninsula College All-Region

PORT ANGELES – Peninsula College sophomore Ryley Callaghan was named North Region Most Valuable Player and was one of three Pirates to earn All-Region recognition, four Pirates were named to the NWAC All-Academic Team, and head coach Mitch Freeman was named North Region Coach of the Year, as announced by the Northwest Athletic Conference this week.

Callaghan, of Port Orchard, is Peninsula’s second-leading scorer this year, averaging 14.64 points per game from his point guard position, and leads the team in assists with 81.

Deonte Dixon, a sophomore guard from Bremerton, was named Second Team All-Region. He leads the Pirates in scoring at 15.36 points per game, and in steals with 30.

Daniels, a freshman from Las Vegas, was named to the All-Defensive Team.

Coach Freeman, in his third year as head coach at Peninsula, was named Coach of the Year. He guided the Pirates from a 7-7 non-conference record to an 11-3 record and a North Region championship, the first for the Pirate men since 2008.

SHORELINE – The stage is set for the first round of the Northwest Athletic Conference’s 2016 Basketball Championship Tournament – and for the Peninsula College men and women, it starts at home.

The Pirates host two first round playoff games Saturday.

The two-time defending North Region champion PC women (13-1, 22-5), ranked fifth in the latest Alaska Airlines NWAC Coaches Poll, take on the East Region’s fourth-place Treasure Valley (9-5, 18-10), an unranked team from Ontario, Oregon, at 3 p.m.

Following that game, the fifth-ranked Pirate men (11-3, 18-10), who captured their first North Region men’s basketball title since 2008, will host unranked Chemeketa (9-7, 18-11), the fourth-place team from the South Region out of Salem, Oregon, at 5 p.m.

The first round of the new format for the NWAC tournament is single elimination. The eight women’s and men’s winners then will advance to a modified double-elimination tournament that starts on March 10 for the women and March 11 for the men at Everett Community College. The trophy round is set for March 13 for women and men. Women’s bracket. Men’s bracket.

The NWAC established ticket prices for the playoffs as follows: $10 for adults; $7 for youth 7-17, for seniors (60-over) and for active military, and free admission to current college students and children 6-under. Peninsula College is not allowed to accept Pirate season passes. NWAC Tournament programs will be sold for $6.

MOUNT VERNON – For the first time in history, the four sports teams at Peninsula College all won region championships.

The Peninsula College women’s basketball team completed the sweep Wednesday night in a hard-fought 80-68 win at Skagit Valley, and by doing so clinched the No. 1 seed from the Northwest Athletic Conference’s North Region, a first-round home playoff game, and no less than a share of the region championship.

The Pirate men, who claimed the North Region championship on Saturday, also prevailed Wednesday, outscoring the Cardinals 78-73.

Following the Pirate soccer teams’ North Region titles in the fall, Peninsula College made it a sweep for the first time in the College’s 54-year sports history.

The NWAC First Round Playoff picture is now coming into focus with one game remaining on the regular season schedule. It will feature a women’s and men’s doubleheader on March 5 in the Pirate gym. The PC women will host the fourth-place finisher from the East Region, most likely Treasure Valley, at 3 p.m., followed by a second playoff game matching the Pirate men against the fourth-place finisher from the South Region, which appears to be Chemeketa, at 5 p.m.

Pirate mens basketball celebration

PORT ANGELES – Sophomore Night 2016 will long be remembered by Pirate basketball fans.

A standing-room-only crowd not only enjoyed the recognition ceremony for 16 sophomores for their outstanding contribution to Pirate basketball, but they got to see those same sophs contribute that very night to two thrilling wins over Bellevue – one of those resulting in a North Division championship.

The Pirate women overcame a 20-point deficit to edge the Bulldogs 62-60, while the men also went down to the wire, coming back in the final minutes to defeat Bellevue 68-64 and securing their first North Division championship since 2008.

With their eighth-straight win, the PC men improved to 10-2 in conference play and 17-9 overall, while Whatcom and Everett are tied for second at 7-5 with just two games remaining. The Pirates, who previously won division titles in 2007-08 and 1999-2000, will host a first-round Northwest Athletic Conference Regional Playoff at 5 p.m. on March 5 against the fourth-place team from the South Division, most likely Chemeketa or Umpqua.

The PC women, who extended their win streak to seven games

Darrion Daniels

PORT ANGELES – The Pirate men avenged one of only two North Division losses by beating Olympic 72-58 to push their win streak to seven games, while the PC women overcame a sloppy first half to stop the Rangers 81-59, pushing their win streak to six.

Both Peninsula teams have clinched playoff spots and both control their destiny on the path toward a conference championship.

The men are 9-2, 16-9 overall, and now three games ahead of Edmonds, Whatcom and Everett, all tied for second place in the North standings at 6-5. The Pirates host a red-hot Bellevue team (5-6, 14-12) at 6 p.m. Saturday for Peninsula’s “Sophomore Night.”

The women are 10-1 in conference and 19-5 overall and tied for first with Bellevue (10-1, 20-4). Saturday’s “Sophomore Night” showdown against Bellevue will have a lot to say about who might win the North. Skagit Valley is 9-2, 19-8, and currently in second place. The Pirates close out their regular season schedule at Skagit Valley next Wednesday and then at Shoreline on Feb. 27.

The “Sophomore Night” celebration for Peninsula’s women and men is scheduled to start following the women’s game at approximately 5:40 p.m. Saturday.