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Men's Basketball News

ABERDEEN – The Pirates shook off some holiday dust at a non-conference game at Grays Harbor Sunday where a furious second-half comeback fell just short in an 81-80 loss to the Chokers.

The Peninsula men have one more non-conference game, Wednesday at Pierce, before opening North Division play Saturday at Edmonds. The Pirate women and men are then home for Pirate Pete’s Week, Jan. 12-16, with games on Jan. 13 against Whatcom and Jan. 16 against Everett. Pirate Pete’s Week is Peninsula’s annual “spirit week,” with events throughout the week.

In Sunday’s thriller at Grays Harbor, the Pirates found themselves in a deep hole at halftime, trailing 48-31, but outscored the Chokers 49-33 in the second half, falling just one point short.

Deonte Dixon led the way with 25 points and seven rebounds, Ryley Callaghan had 16, and Malik Mayeux contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. Grays Harbor was led by Bryce Demecillo with 18 and Kodi Leslie with 13.

EUGENE – The Pirates won two straight games at the NWAC South Region Crossover Tournament, after falling in the opener, to place fifth, improving to 7-5 in non-conference play.

The PC men lost to Lower Columbia 79-69 in Thursday’s tournament opener at Lane Community College, and then rolled to an easy 86-53 win over Treasure Valley Friday before closing out the tournament with a narrow 80-77 nod over Blue Mountain.

The Pirates wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule at Grays Harbor on Jan. 3 and then at Pierce College on Jan. 6.

VANCOUVER – The Pirates upset third-ranked Clark 80-77 in overtime Saturday, completing a two-game road trip with a pair of thrilling victories. Peninsula held off Centralia 80-78 on Friday.

The Pirates, now 5-4 in non-conference action, are preparing to travel to the NWAC South Region Crossover, set for Thursday through Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene. The PC men, who won the West Region Crossover last December, open at 2 p.m. Thursday against Lower Columbia.

Chris Reis

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula Pirates held off Tacoma 75-72 on Saturday, but have yet to win consecutive games this year, falling to South Puget Sound 86-72 Sunday at the First Federal Pirate Classic.

Peninsula slipped to 3-4 in non-conference play, with seven games remaining before opening North Division play at Edmonds on Jan. 9. Next up for the PC men is a road trip to face Centralia on Dec. 11 and then Clark, ranked No. 3 in the first Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll, on Dec. 12.

Fans who attended the annual First Federal Pirate Classic were treated to two very exciting games on the opening day, and then two one-sided games on Sunday.

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College men’s basketball team is still finding its way, but the Pirates hope to cash in on their talented roster at this weekend’s First Federal Pirate Classic.

The PC men, coming off a 1-2 showing at the Skagit Valley Turkey Tournament last weekend, will spend the week watching film and getting better, in preparation for home games on Saturday and Sunday.

The First Federal Pirate Classic opens on Saturday with Skagit Valley (3-0) playing South Puget Sound (2-1) at 5 p.m. and the Pirates (2-3) playing Tacoma (2-3) at 7 p.m. Sunday’s action has Tacoma vs. Skagit Valley at noon and South Puget Sound vs. Peninsula at 2 p.m.

Admission for each day is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, juniors and veterans, and free for children 12-under.

At the Turkey Tournament in Mount Vernon, the Pirates opened with a 95-81 win over Northwest Indian College on Friday, but then suffered back-to-back loses Saturday, 79-68 to Big Bend, and Sunday, 94-91 to Portland.

Milak Mayeux

PORT ANGELES – Pirate fans got a glimpse of what is possible for the 2015-16 Peninsula College men’s basketball team – namely a Northwest Athletic Conference championship – following a brilliant performance in its 95-86 season-opening victory over defending East Division champion Big Bend Friday night.

Those fans also witnessed the dark side – namely a low-scoring struggle against Highline on Saturday that resulted in a 60-55 setback for the Pirates.

However, the positive from Saturday’s loss was a team that overcame poor shooting, from the floor and the free throw line, and uncharacteristic turnovers, to come back and put themselves in a position to win against a very big and talented Highline team.

Next up for Peninsula is the Skagit Valley Turkey Tournament. The Pirates play Northwest Indian College in the tournament opener Friday at 2 p.m. Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. The tournament championship is set for 3 p.m. Sunday.

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College men’s basketball team opens its 2015-16 season with a pair of home games this weekend, while the Pirate women will begin the defense of their Northwest Athletic Conference title with a four-day, four-game road trip.

College basketball fans will get to see the Pirate men tip-off the new year at home against Big Bend at 7 p.m. Friday in a game that will have all the feel of the NWAC post season.

The Vikings went 23-9 last year to win the NWAC East Division, but were surprisingly two-and-out at the 2015 NWAC Basketball Championships. The Pirates, meanwhile, went 7-7 in conference play, narrowly qualifying for the tournament, but then surprised the field, winning three of four games to bring home a third-place NWAC trophy. They went 17-13 overall.

Coach Mitch Freeman

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College men’s basketball team was the surprise story of the Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championships last March, bringing home a third-place trophy, but don’t look for the Pirates to sneak up on anyone in this season.

Head coach Mitch Freeman and his staff have four starters back, they have eight sophomores with game experience, and they have an outstanding recruiting class – all looking to take the Pirates to the NWAC championship.

“We are excited about this year’s team and look to build off of how we finished last year,” Freeman said. “We return nine players and add six freshman, which gives the added depth to our team that we did not have last season. Our team was very excited with the way we finished last year but were also a little disappointed, which left them hungry and wanting more.”

The list of returners is headed up by Ryley Callaghan, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Port Orchard who led the Pirates in scoring with a 17.5 average, and assists at 2.7 last year.

Also putting up big numbers last year was Deonte Dixon, a 6-2 sophomore guard from Bremerton. He averaged an impressive 16.4 points per game.

Both Callaghan and Dixon were named to the North Division All-Conference Team in 2015.

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.”