By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Having already locked down its spot in next month's NWAACC Championships, the final outcome took a backseat in the Peninsula College women's team's matchup with Shoreline.
“Our whole concept going into this game was, let's celebrate ourselves,” Peninsula coach Alison Crumb said after Wednesday's game.
“It's just celebrating all the hard work we put into it. And we were celebrating ourselves first, our sophomores second and our fans — we have some of the best fans in the NWAACC.
“So that's what this game was about.”
In the midst of that celebration, the Pirates routed the Dolphins 79-52 in the opening game of the NWAACC North Division doubleheader.
In the finale, the Peninsula men survived a near-miracle to beat Shoreline 97-96.
The Pirate women (8-5, 11-12) were playing without second-leading scorer Alison Knowles, who was nursing a sore ankle.
Knowles, who set the school's all-time single-season 3-point record last week, did play the first 43 seconds of the game so she could start the final home game of her career, before exiting less than a minute into the game.
In Knowles' absence, Crumb gave more minutes to the other outgoing sophomores and provided the freshman a chance to step up and show the future of the program.
Freshman Madison Pilster scored 24 points to lead all scorers and push her season average to 14.2 points, which overtook Knowles as the Pirates' second-leading scorer.
Pilster also grabbed nine rebounds.
Freshman guard Miranda Schmillen, herself hobbled by injury, scored 16 points and had six rebounds.
“We just had a good team effort,” Crumb said.
“Maddy was just on a mission tonight. She's a firecracker.
“When you have a player like Al [Knowles] go out . . . you want [the other] girls to step up and say, 'I got you, I got your back.' Our freshman and our other sophomores were right on board with that.”
Peninsula's leading scorer, freshman Gabi Fenumiai, scored 11 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to set a new modern school record for rebounds in a season.
Fenumiai now has 273 this season, surpassing the 259 pulled down by Marsha Umbehocker in 2000-01.
Then there were the sophomores.
Point guard Olivia Henderson scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards. At only 5-foot-3, Henderson is the Pirates' third-leading rebounder (4.4 per game).
Pherrari Brumbaugh scored nine points, dished four assists and had four steals. She leads Peninsula with 3.2 steals per game.
Finally, Cassandra Roland and Brandi Hale played season-highs in minutes.
“Their basketball stuff speaks for itself,” Crumb said of the sophomores leading the Pirates to another playoff berth.
“But off the floor, you can't match these kids' character. This group, especially, is probably the best group of five as far as maturity and intelligence — I mean, they have a [grade point] average together of a 3.5, they're all getting their degree.
“They're such mature young women that are great role models for our freshman.
“I don't think I've ever had a five where . . . I don't have to teach them how to be good at life. They're just great at life on their own.”
Peninsula next plays at division-leading Bellevue (12-1, 19-7) on Sunday afternoon.
Crumb expects Knowles to play in that game.
“We just wanted to rest her [against Shoreline],” Crumb said. “We need her for playoffs, so we just had to give her a break.”
Peninsula 79, Shoreline 52
Shoreline 27 25— 52
Peninsula 45 34— 79
Benavides 16, Fernandez 2, Wilbur 4, Lloyd 2, Taylor 9, Stanger 2, Padgett 3, McDaniels 6, Perry 6, Dutro 2.
Henderson 13, Pilster 24, Staveland 3, Fenumiai 11, Schmillen 16, Brumbaugh 9, Flinn 3.
Peninsula 97, Shoreline 96
PORT ANGELES — The Pirates, clinging to a one-point lead, made a defensive stop and the ball was knocked out of bounds with 1.9 seconds left in the game.
On the way back to the bench, a shouting match started between a pair of Shoreline players, who had to be separated.
The game's outcome seemed like a foregone conclusion.
But the Pirates overthrew the inbound pass toward the Dolphins' hoop and Shoreline's Bronte Corbray took possession with a clear path to glory.
He made the wide-open layup, but it came well after the buzzer.
“Well, we never want to throw back that direction with that much time left,” Peninsula coach Mitch Freeman said of the inbound pass.
It was the Pirates' 26th turnover of the game, an uncharacteristically high total, for which Freeman credited the Dolphins and their uptempo-all-the-time style of play.
“They put us in their style of play, the tempo, creating turnovers, playing very fast, so they'll do that to you. Credit Shoreline for that. They played well,” Freeman said.
Xavier Bazile paced Peninsula with 28 points, with 19 coming in the first half, in his last home game at Peninsula College. He also had a team-high 11 rebounds.
He leaves as one of most prolific scorers in the program's modern history. He broke the Pirates' single-game scoring with 43 against Skagit Valley earlier this month, and he is on pace to set new highs in single-season and career scoring average.
The other sophomores are Tyler McKinney, who tied Peninsula's record for 3-pointers in a game with seven last week, and Erron Shamlin and Daren Hechanova, who both played only one year in Port Angeles.
“Xavier and T.J. [McKinney] had phenomenal careers here at Peninsula College. Terrific young men,” Freeman said.
“And Erron Shamlin and Daren Hechanova, who are with us just one year, and they tried to make the best of the situation, with the last-minute change of coaches. They did a great job for us.”
Hechanova scored 17 points in Wednesday's game and grabbed eight rebounds.
Markus Rawls had 15 points and nine boards and Geno Horsley scored 14 points.
Peninsula (6-7, 12-10), having already been eliminated from the postseason, concludes its season at Bellevue (10-3, 16-10) on Sunday afternoon.
Peninsula 97, Shoreline 96
Shoreline 47 49— 96
Peninsula 60 37— 97
Sharer 2, Carroll 2, Jordt 10, Corbray 21, Thompson 20, Reyes 4, Williams 12, Dean Viena 17, Drew Viena 8.
Bazile 28, Shamlin 2, Horsley 14, McKinney 5, Flowers 8, Rawls 15, Charbonier 3, Penney 5, Hechanova 17.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.