Pirates win 19 games, reach Elite 8

PORT ANGELES – The Pirates reached the playoffs for the third straight year, finishing the 2016-17 season with a 19-9 record, the most wins to date under fourth-year head coach Mitch Freeman.

The PC men placed second in the North Region, one game behind Shoreline, and then went two rounds into the 2017 Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championship Tournament, beating Portland 70-62 in the first round before bowing out to an athletic and talented Tacoma Titans team 75-64 in the Elite 8.

“This team came together quickly, with nine new players and four sophomores and one redshirt freshman,” head coach Mitch Freeman said. “With little playing experience together as a team, they were able to compile 19 Wins, a second-place finish in the Division, and a trip to the Elite 8 at the NWAC championships.”

The Pirates will graduate sophomores Alex Baham, Darrion Daniels, Alex Losee, and Omar Lo in June, but return a very strong core of players, who will be hungry to compete for an NWAC championship in 2017-18.

“We had great leadership in Darrion Daniels, Alex Losee, and Jalon McCullough to help lead their teammates through the challenges of a basketball season,” Freeman said. “We will miss all of our sophomores: Darrion Daniels, Alex Losee, Alex Baham, Omar Lo, and redshirt Freshman Jalon McCullough as all will be graduating this spring and summer and moving on to the four-year level.”

Freeman will have a talented and deep team back next year, ready to take the Pirates even further into the post season. Back will be freshmen Kevin Baker, Blake Cosgrove, Zach Day, Cole Rabedeaux, Sam Velez, and Trent Warren, as well as red-shirts Jarrod Felix, Colby Jackson, and Elijah Williams.

NWAC Tournament: PC 70, Portland 62
The Pirates trailed the Panthers 30-28 at halftime, but then outscored Portland 42-32 in the second half to win going away in their 2017 tournament opener at the Everett Community College gym.

Darrion Daniels had a big night with 20 points and four steals to lead the Pirates, Alex Baham scored 14, and Jalon McCullough finished with 11.

Andre McCowan led the Panthers with 19 points.

NWAC Tournament: Tacoma 75, PC 64
The Pirates came out on fire against Tacoma in the second round of the tournament, but then cooled off a bit in the second half as their 36-29 halftime lead evaporated. Peninsula shot 41 percent from the floor in the first half and only 25 percent in the second half.

Jalon McCullough, a red-shirt freshman who was named NWAC North Region Freshman Player of the Year, scored 16 points in what might have been his final game as a Pirate. He will earn his AA Degree this year and is expecting to transfer.

Omar Lo hit for 15 points and nine rebounds and Trent Warren had 11 points and 12 boards.

Khalil Thompson led all scorers for TCC with 20 points.