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.
PORT ANGELES – Pirates Jenise McKnight, Alicia Dugan, and Tai Thomas received Northwest Athletic Conference All Region women’s honors, Darrion Daniels and Jalon McCullough earned All Region recognition for the men, and four Pirates, Dugan, Thomas, Cami Butler and Alex Baham, were named to the NWAC’s All-Academic Team, as announced Monday.
McKnight, a sophomore from Las Vegas, Nevada, who averaged 12.93 points and 8.04 rebounds per game, was named to the North Region’s First Team. Dugan, a sophomore from Renton who led the Pirates in scoring with 13.96 points per game and in steals with 2.33 per game, was named to the North Second Team. Tai Thomas, a sophomore from Honolulu, Hawaii, was named to the North Region All-Defensive Team.
Dugan, Thomas and Cami Butler, a sophomore from Sandy, Utah, all earned NWAC All-Academic honors.
“Jenise, Alicia, and Tai have worked hard all year and have been our team captains throughout the season as well,” Crumb said. “Alicia has really come alive offensively in the second half of the season and is such a motor player. She just goes, goes, goes, and eventually she will get something for us, whether it be a three, a steal and a lay-up, or a couple shots at the free throw line. “Jenise is probably the most versatile and athletic forward/post in the league. She moves well and can beat people from beyond the arc, in the paint, or in the open floor. She has a great jumper and a very quick first step. There have been very few teams that have a defender that can handle the workload of Jenise. Tai is our most consistent player. She takes shots when she is open, and is always a factor on the boards. She moves well defensively for her size, and is usually tasked with guarding the best player on the other team. She has been very stable for our team and we hope she continues to be that constant force at the NWAC tournament.”
Coach Crumb also praised their work in the classroom.
“Our team works hard in the classroom and Alicia, Tai, and Cami are a prime example of what a student first athlete should be,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where their academic futures take them.”
For the men, Jalon McCullough, a red-shirt freshman from Fairbanks, Alaska, was named NWAC North Region Freshman of the Year and also a spot on the First Team. He was the second leading scorer for the Pirates, averaging 11.85 points per game, and also second in assists with 3.69 per game.
Darrion Daniels, a sophomore from Las Vegas, was also named to the North Region First Team. He led Peninsula in scoring with 16.84 points per game, assists with 3.88 and was second in rebounds with 5.32.
“Both Darrion and Jalon are big reason that our team has been able win 18+ games for the past 2 years,” Freeman said. “They have bright futures at the next level and we are excited they have been a part of the PC Family.”
Freeman went on to say that Daniels made an immediate impact on the program.
EVERETT - The Pirates (9-5, 18-8), the No. 2 seed from the North, will open the 2017 NWAC Basketball Championship Tournament at 8 a.m. Thursday against Portland (9-7, 12-14), the No. 3 seed from the South.
The game will be live streamed by NWAC Sports Network and also shown live in the Pirate Union Building on the PC campus.
The winner of Thursday's game in the 16-team, single-elimination tournament will play the winner of the North Idaho vs. Tacoma game at 2 p.m. Friday.
The two teams met back on Nov. 26 at the Skagit Valley Turkey Tournament where the Pirates defeated the Panthers 78-65.
The Pirates are led by Darrion Daniels, who is averaging 17 points and four assists per game, as well as Jalon McCullough, a red-shirt freshman (12 ppg), Cole Rabedeaux (11 ppg) and Alex Baham (10 ppg).
Portland's key players include Andre McCowan, who is averaging 21 points a game, as well as Gabe Garrett (17 ppg), Katahdin Bosco (15 ppg, 9 rebounds), and Cameron Retherford (13 ppg).