By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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The current men's team was tied with Olympic at the time, with the score an eerie 32-32.
The Pirates came out of the break and scored the first eight points of the second half on their way to a 75-63 NWAACC North Division win.
The reason for the second-half turnaround wasn't a halftime adjustment by the Peninsula coaching staff or the ghost of Fryer, a former NBA referee and one of the stars of the 1970 team, who was unable to attend after coming down with the flu hours before boarding a plane in Arizona to come to Port Angeles.
It was much more simple.
“We just tried to emphasize the important things in terms of defensively, is keeping the guys in front of you and getting rebounds,” Pirates head coach Mitch Freeman said after Saturday's game.
“That was our Achilles heel in the first half: They were [beating] us and they had 17 offensive rebounds in the first half. So that, gosh, we had to keep that in check.”
Peninsula held the Rangers to 10 offensive boards in the second half, which was a marked improvement from the first 20 minutes of the game.
Rebounding has been a problem for the Pirates all season due to, as Freeman put it, “limited size.”
“We just got to understand positioning a little bit better,” Freeman said, “and some toughness, you know, getting in the right spot.”
Peninsula received nearly 15 minutes off the bench from KyShawn Erwin — at 6-foot-7 the only Pirate taller than 6-4 — who has been hampered by back pain most of the season.
“He's energy,” Freeman said. “He's an energy guy.
“He's our tallest, longest player and he can get some of those rebounds.”
Erwin finished with four boards and a pair of blocks (both of which he didn't merely block the shot, but rather completely stuffed it).
He also waged a physical battle with Olympic's big men, Chase Speelman (6-foot-8) and Jared Anderson (6-foot-6).
The Pirates also regained their shooting touch in the second half.
They had it early in the game and stormed out to a 15-8 lead. But then they went cold, and suffered on both ends of the court for it.
“When the shots weren't falling in the first half, we didn't have as much energy defensively,” Freeman said.
“When we started making shots, we had a little more pep in our step. That's [the way it is] with most teams.
“We have to understand, if shots aren't falling, we need to be able to shore up things defensively.”
Peninsula made 14 of 26 shots in the second half.
Leading the offense were Tyler McKinney and Xavier Bazile, who finished with 21 and 17 points, respectively.
Both made important plays after Olympic cut into the Pirates' lead midway through the second half.
With the Rangers within three points, Bazile hit one of his four 3-pointers to push Peninsula's lead to 52-46.
Olympic scored the next four points to cut the lead to two points, but McKinney drained a 3 from the left-hand side to give Peninsula a cushion.
A few possessions later, Bazile assisted on another trey by McKinney and the Pirates led 58-51.
Juwan Flowers added another 3-ball, after a pass from McKinney, a minute later to make it 61-51.
Peninsula led by at least seven points the rest of the way, with its advantage growing to as many as 14 points.
“It's a work in progress, week by week,” Freeman said.
“The game was a little ugly, but it was nice to get some shots to fall in the second half.”
McKinney finished with a team-high six assists. He also had five rebounds.
Flowers and Rawls tied for the team lead with seven rebounds apiece.
Former Sequim High School standout and 2012-13 All-Peninsula basketball and track and field MVP Jayson Brocklesby scored 11 points and had five rebounds and two assists for Olympic.
The Pirates (2-3 in division, 8-6 overall) play at Shoreline (0-5, 3-13) on Wednesday. Peninsula beat the up-tempo Dolphins 101-95 last month at the Tacoma Crossover tournament.
Peninsula 75, Olympic 62
Olympic 32 31— 63
Peninsula 32 43— 75
Olympic (1-4, 1-14)
Jordan 2, Murray 25, Bird 1, Speelman 6, Williams 13, Anderson 5, Brocklesby 11.
Peninsula (2-3, 8-6)
Bazile 17, Shamlin 3, Horsley 14, McKinney 21, Flowers 5, Rawls 6, Penney 5, Hechanova 2, Erwin 2.