Pirates win West Crossover championship

OLYMPIA – It was a good weekend for Peninsula College head men’s basketball coach Mitch Freeman and his two families.

Coach Freeman was at his wife Nicole’s side for the birth of their second child last week as baby Gavin was welcomed into the family - and then he bolted to Olympia where his basketball family won the Northwest Athletic Conference West Division Crossover Tournament, held at South Puget Sound Community College.

It was Peninsula College’s first Crossover Tournament win since the 2011 Pirate men won the South Division Crossover in Salem, Oregon.

The Pirates defeated Edmonds 66-56 in Sunday’s championship, following wins over Walla Walla and Grays Harbor to claim the first-place trophy.

Freshman Deonte Dixon put up good numbers in all three games to win a spot on the All-Tournament Team, but it was a team effort on both sides of the ball, and outstanding team rebounding, that lifted the Pirates to three straight victories.

Peninsula improved to 6-5 in non-conference play with one game remaining, at home against Pierce (4-7) at 5:00 on Dec. 30. The Pirates will then prepare for their conference opener, Jan. 10 at home against Edmonds.

Championship: Pirates 66, Edmonds 56

The Kitsap Connection of Ryley Callaghan and Dixon combined for 41 points to lead the Pirates to victory. Callaghan of Port Orchard and Dixon of Bremerton hit for 21 and 20 respectively. Malik Mayeux added 10 points and a season-high 16 rebounds and Jal Deng also had a good night with nine points and 11 boards.

The Pirates outrebounded the Tritons 52-45 in a game that saw both teams shoot poorly on tired legs in their third straight day of competition. Peninsula hit on only 32 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three-point range, while Edmonds was held to 30 percent from the field and no three pointers on 12 attempts.

Peninsula led 29-15 at halftime and held off their fellow North Division opponents to win by 10.

Semifinal: Pirates 74, Grays Harbor 72

Dixon came up big for Peninsula, with a college career high 34 points, but again his teammates dominated the glass, outrebounding the Chokers 53-31.

Deng added 13 points, Callaghan scored 11, Jeremiah Hobbs contributed eight points and 14 rebounds, and Mayeux had another big night with seven points and 10 boards.

Peninsula was 25/75 from the floor for 33 percent, but was 10/20 for 50 percent from three-point range and 14/18 from the line. Grays Harbor hit on 49 percent from the field and 52 percent from beyond the arc, but went to the line for only nine attempts and converted only four.

The Pirates again enjoyed a big lead at halftime, 45-30, and again held on, this time to win by two.

First Round: Pirates 91, Walla Walla 80

Callaghan poured in 30 points, Sixon hit for 22, Mayeux scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Deng had nine points and seven boards in his first game of 2014-15 and Jonah Cook had a good night with six points and 11 boards as the Pirates overwhelmed the Warriors.

Peninsula led 46-32 at halftime and fought off a couple of Walla Walla runs in the second half to win by 11.

The Pirates hit on 31/71 for 44 percent from the field, 5/16 for 31 percent from three-point range and 24/29 for 83 percent from the line. Walla Walla, a team that lives outside the three-point line, cast off 47 threes on the night, hitting 16 of those for 34 percent. The Warriors were 25/64 for 39 percent from the field and 14/20 from the line.