EVERETT — Except for a rough 6-minute stretch in the third quarter, the Peninsula basketball women played a big, tough Wenatchee Valley team more than even in their Elite Eight matchup in the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament game.
But that 6-minute stretch in Sunday night’s game was a killer. Wenatchee Valley outscored the Pirates 21-3 over that span and fended off a Peninsula rally in the fourth quarter to win 87-75.
“We turned the ball over, we couldn’t get rebounds. We collapsed for about six minutes. It was hard to recover from that,” said coach Alison Crumb.
The Pirates end their season with a 19-9 record, a North Region championship and a win in the opening round of the NWAC tournament. For a young Pirates’ team full of freshmen, it was perhaps a sign of things to come next season, when virtually the entire team comes back.
“We are excited about the core we have coming back. Hopefully, they will use [this year] as motivation for next year,” Crumb said.
Quite an accomplishment for a team that went 8-17 the year before and had to completely rebuild its roster. Ashlynn Sharp was the only player who saw minutes last year on the team this year. The Pirates will return nine freshmen from this year’s team.
Against the Knights, a 26-5 team out of the extremely rugged East Region, the Pirates played great early. They took a 35-33 lead into the half thanks to a 3-pointer made by Casandra White at the halftime buzzer.
The Pirates were able to extend that lead to 40-37 early in the third quarter after a Sharp 3-pointer. But then the Pirates hit a terrible cold spell. Over 6 minutes, Peninsula couldn’t hit a single field goal as the Knights surged to a 58-43 lead.
Peninsula rallied in a wild fourth quarter, as both teams scored 27 points. The Pirates hit four 3-pointers in the fourth, but the Knights responded by shooting 9-for-14 (64 percent) from the floor in the final quarter.
Leilani Padilla made a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth to cut the Knights’ lead to 71-63 with 4:42 left, plenty of time to mount a comeback. But that was as close as the Pirates could get as Wenatchee Valley got a number of clutch offensive rebounds down the stretch.
Crumb said her players battled to the end, refusing to give up after Wenatchee built up its big lead. Other than that one 6-minute stretch, the Pirates outscored the Knights 72-66.
“It wasn’t for lack of competing. They fought hard,” she said. She said if she had known the Pirates would score 27 points in the fourth quarter down 12, she would like their chances. Unfortunately, it seemed like every time Peninsula hit a big shot, Wenatchee Valley had an answer, either with a big shot or an offensive rebound of its own.
Sharp had a big game in her final contest for the Pirates. She scored 21 points and shot 4 for 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. Sunshine Vicente led Peninsula with 22 points, while Padilla had 13. Kameron “Alex” Bowen had eight points and eight rebounds.
Wenatchee Valley 87, Peninsula 75
WVC 18 15 27 27 — 87
PC 13 22 13 27 — 75
Wenatchee Valley (87) — Spady 16, Burgress 16, Denton 15, Peralta 12, Steen 11, Odima 8, Kunkel 7, Bokma 2.