By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula faced another double-digit halftime deficit and mounted another second-half comeback, only to fall short in a 69-53 loss Saturday to the Orcas, who are tied for first in the NWAACC North Division.
The Pirates (4-4, 7-11) trailed by 17 the previous Saturday against the other North Division co-leader Bellevue, before taking the lead with a second-half charge, only to fall on a late putback.
Repeating the events of the same day drove Connors a bit batty in the film, and Peninsula's repeat performance seemed to wear on the psyche of Pirates coach Alison Crumb.
Peninsula and Whatcom batted the lead back and forth for much of the first half, and after five straight Pirates points from Gabi Fenumiai, were tied at 14-apiece with 8:12 left before halftime.
Whatcom closed the half with a 17-7 run for a 31-21 lead at the break, keyed by hot shooting from the field.
The Orcas shot just above 50 percent from the floor in the first half, 14 of 27, while Peninsula managed to hit only 9 of 33, shots, including 0 for 8 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Pirates leading scorer Alison Knowles was a non-factor offensively in the first half, missing all nine of her attempts.
Madison Pilster also was cold on offense, hitting just 2 of 11 attempts.
Peninsula regrouped after halftime, making a 15-4 run from 17:44 in the second to pull within two, 44-42, on a bucket by Knowles with 12:19 remaining.
Fenumiai keyed the Peninsula comeback attempt, scoring seven of the 15 points, including six straight for the Pirates.
She would finish the game with 22 points on 8 for 15 shooting from the field and 6 of 7 at the free-throw line.
The freshman added 11 rebounds, eight on offense, most of which came from hauling down her own missed attempts.
Whatcom countered the Peninsula run with a 17-5 scoring spurt of its own over the next 8:56 of play to put the game out of reach at 61-47 with 3:51 remaining.
During the run, Lynden High School product Kortney Grattic scored eight of her game-high 24 points for Whatcom.
The Orcas started to play much better post and help defense on Fenumiai during the run and Peninsula couldn't find players to step up and shoulder the scoring burden.
“You can't just get it from one person. Usually we'll have a couple other people chipping in, but tonight it wasn't there,” Crumb said.
“We're always looking to go inside, but we typically have other people making shots, getting to the basket, finishing strong and we just couldn't get there with enough force.”
Peninsula's shooting touch improved marginally, rising to 12 of 31 (38.7 percent) in the second half.
“You miss that many shots around the basket and you can't expect to maintain [that type of momentum],” Crumb said.
Knowles finished 3 of 15 from the field for six points, and Pilster was 4 of 16 from the floor and 4 of 7 from the line for 12 points.
Whatcom hit all eight of their free-throw attempts in the final 3:05 to seal the win.
The Orcas shot 14 of 15 as a team from the charity stripe.
Fourth-place Peninsula faces cellar-dwelling Edmonds (0-8, 1-17) on Wednesday.
Whatcom 69, Peninsula 53
Whatcom 31 38— 69
Peninsula 21 32— 53
Grattic 24, Friberg 18, Gilbert 9, Gruber 6, Brown 6, Tiemersma 6
Fenumiai 22, Pilster 12, Knowles 6, Henderson 6, Schmillen 5, Brumbaugh 2.