PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College women’s basketball program rose to superpower status with a Northwest Athletic Conference championship in 2015 and a second-place finish in 2016, but slipped to just being good in 2017 with a second-place finish in the North Region and top-eight finish in the NWAC.
The 2016-17 Pirates suffered some injuries down the stretch that may have cost them a third-straight North championship - and the opportunity to advance further into the NWAC Tournament.
The Pirates finished 19-10 overall and 10-4 in North Region play under head coach Alison Crumb, in her seventh year with the Pirates. It was the sixth straight trip to the post-season for the Port Angeles-born head coach, who now has 114 wins and 79 losses as a Pirate.
“We had a great season, with really great kids, who are going to do amazing things in the future,” Coach Crumb said. “Unfortunately, most seasons end in a loss, but that does not define the success that we have had on and off the floor. We ran into a really tough Umpqua team and just didn’t have enough to get past them, but that is how it goes sometimes. I’m proud of the players and their dedication to the program and the community. They will truly be missed."
The PC women were led by sophomores this year and will graduate their entire starting five, in Alicia Dugan, Jenise McKnight, Anaya Rodisha, Sephora Yayouss and Tai Thomas, as well as Cami Butler, Milan Barnes and red-shirt freshman Jackie Schaubel.
Waiting in the wings to get Peninsula back to the NWAC championship in 2017-18 are red-shirt sophomore Jamellia Clark, and freshmen Kayla Alvarez, Hannah Geberyesus, Yamilei Rodriguez, and Tiffani Smith, who will join Coach Crumb’s recruiting class next fall.
“Moving forward, we want to continue to recruit kids that will bring positive contributions to our campus and local community,” Crumb said. “Athletically, we are losing eight players, so we are going to need to go out and get competitive kids at every position. We have a good group that we are talking to now, but we will see how the off season goes. Looking forward to the future.”
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 were unlucky to draw an 8 a.m. game in Saturday's 2017 NWAC Basketball Championship Tournament opener, but you can bet they'll still be packing their A Game.
The Pirates (18-9, 10-4), the No. 2 seed from the North Region, take on Tacoma (9-5, 20-7), the No. 3 seed from the West, in the breakfast bracket of the 16-team, single-elimination tournament. A win on Saturday would propel Peninsula into a 2 p.m. Sunday game against the winner of a game matching Umpqua against either Yakima or Treasure Valley.
All games will be live streamed on NWAC Sports Network (YouTube).
The Pirates are led by Alicia Dugan's 14 points per game, 13 from Anaya Rodisha and 12 points and eight rebounds from Jenise McKnight. Rodisha is recovering from an ankle injury and is questionable to see action.
Tacoma's player to watch is Bobbi Westendorf, who's hitting 20 points per game and 12 rebounds for the Titans. Aubre Mitchell is TCC's second leading scorer with a 13-point average.