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PORT ANGELES – The annual First Federal Pirate Classic brings five colleges to the Pirate gym for three days of basketball this weekend.

Peninsula Pirate fans will see their home teams each play a pair of games. The Peninsula women host Centralia at 7 p.m. Friday and Yakima at 1 p.m. Sunday, while the Pirate men entertain Green River at 7 p.m. Saturday and Tacoma at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The other games feature Yakima vs. Centralia in a women’s game at 3 p.m. Saturday, Skagit Valley vs. Tacoma in a men’s game at 5 p.m. Saturday, and Skagit Valley vs. Green River in a men’s game at 11 a.m. Sunday.

“Coach Freeman and Coach Crumb put together a great event,” said Rick Ross, Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Life. “Fans will get to see some outstanding college basketball all weekend, and special thanks to First Federal for coming through every year to make this happen. The five college basketball teams will be staying in our community, dining in local restaurants and shopping in our stores. It’s a fun weekend.”

PORT ANGELES – Head coach Mitch Freeman enters his fifth year with a Peninsula College men’s basketball team that has talent, shooters, height – and some local faces. The Pirates tip off their 2017-18 season at 4 p.m. Saturday at home against Mt. Hood.

“This team has a little bit of everything with size and strength inside, quality shooters at the guard and wing positions, and a point guard in Colby Jackson who knows how to bring everyone together,” Freeman said. “We should be a fun team to watch when we are able to put everything together.”

Peninsula went 19-9 last year and 9-5 in North Region play, good for second place behind Shoreline. The Pirates qualified for the 2017 NWAC Basketball Tournament where they beat Portland 70-62 in the first round and then bowed out in a 75-64 loss to Tacoma.

Mt. Hood went 16-12 and 9-7 last year, tying for third place in the South Region. The Saints also went two rounds, upsetting Shoreline 74-71 in the first round and then falling to Lower Columbia 85-78 in the quarterfinals.

In last year’s season opener at Gresham, Oregon, Peninsula outscored Mt. Hood 83-76, but both teams will look very different this year.

“We return five players from last year’s team, and of those five, two of them red-shirted,” Freeman said. “We recruited nine new players to this year’s team, including five freshmen and four transfers.”

Returning from last year’s team are Trent Warren, a 6-6 guard from Melbourne, Australia; Zach Day, a 6-4 wing from Las Vegas; and Blake Cosgrove, a 6-5 wing from Portland. All three saw playing time last year.

The Pirates also return red-shirts Colby Jackson, a 5-10 point guard from Las Vegas who transferred to Peninsula from the University of Alberta; and Elijah Williams, a 6-2 guard from Seattle.

Transferring to Peninsula this year are Cole Huish, a 6-3 wing from Salt Lake City, who played his freshman year at Western Wyoming Community College; Kaelin Crane, a 6-6 wing from Las Vegas who played for Green River last year; Cameron Burton, a 6-2 guard from Las Vegas who played at Central Washington University last year; and Emanuele Maneffa, a 6-1 guard from Milan, Italy, who red-shirted at Marshalltown College last year.

Joining the Pirates fresh out of high school are Marky Adams, a 6-10 post from Forks; Luke Angevine, a 6-4 wing from Port Angeles; Parker Browning, a 6-3 guard from Forks; Eli’sha Sheppard, a 6-5 wing from Kent; James Buckley, a 6-2 guard from Port Orchard; and Andrew Thomas a 5-6 guard from Dallas, Texas.

“This year’s roster has more local players than we’ve had in the last four years,” Freeman said. “We are very excited to have been able to have three quality individuals, and players, in Parker, Luke and Marky to be part of our PC Basketball family.”

Coach Freeman isn’t making predictions about how the Pirates will do.

Darrion Daniels

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.