PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College basketball fans finally get to see the men and women’s teams play some home games as both squads prepare for their home openers this weekend in the First Federal Pirate Classic.
Both teams have seen mixed early results to the season. The Pirate men enter the tournament 2-2, while the women come into the weekend games 1-2.
The men will begin play at 7 p.m. Saturday against Green River College, then will play Grays Harbor at 3 p.m. Sunday. The women will play Wenatchee at 6 p.m. Friday, then Centralia at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Peninsula women, who played for the NWAC title last season after winning the championship in 2015, have many new players this year and so far have struggled with their shooting in three early road games. They’ve shot a combined 30 percent from the floor this season, and even in their one victory, they only shot 35 percent.
The good news is, the women have excelled on the boards, outrebounding their opponents 144-125 so far. The team is being led on the boards by Alicia Dugan and Tai Thomas, both averaging 6.7 rebounds a game to this point.
Coach Alison Crumb said she thinks the team is struggling to figure out its identity at this point. The team has a big inside presence but so far is taking — and missing — a lot of 3-pointers.
The team has been rushing its shots and not moving the ball well and settling for outside shots instead of pounding the ball inside, Crumb said.
“We’ve got some good post players and a good inside presence able to dominate down low,” Crumb said.
So don’t be surprised to see the team switch to trying to get the ball inside to its big players at the Pirate Classic. So far this season, the Pirates have shot 47 3-pointers in three games. That approach hasn’t worked so far as Peninsula has only made seven of those 47 shots (14.9 percent).
Crumb said the rebounding has been good, but the Pirates have to turn that rebounding dominance into good shots.
Crumb pointed out this is a ‘totally new group” from the sophomore-heavy team that went 25-6 last season and played for the NWAC title.
She said the women in practice “have been humbled” and are now “all about us trying to get better as a team.”
Crumb thought that players who have stood out so far are Yamilei Rodriguez, a 5-9 guard out of Las Vegas. Tiffani Smith, a 5-6 guard also out of Las Vegas, has played well, too.
“[Smith] is showing a lot of poise and she doesn’t make mistakes,” Crumb said.
“Our guards are motivated to find their footing,” Crumb said.
Crumb said returning post players Jenise McKnight (5-11, Las Vegas) and Tai Thomas (6-0, Honolulu) are strong inside presences who have played well so far.
Other returning players this season are forward Cami Butler, 6-0, Sandy, Utah; guard Alicia Dugan, 5-9, Renton; guard Anaya Rodisha, 5-9, Las Vegas and guard Sephora Tayouss, 5-6, Brussells, Belgium.
Newcomers are guard Kayla Alvarez, 5-2, Salt Lake City; forward Jamilia Clark, 5-11, Las Vegas; guard Hannah Geberyesus, 5-4, Las Vegas; redshirt freshman forward Jackie Schaubel, Seattle. The team is bolstered by sophomore transfers guard Milan Barnes, 5-8, Eastvale, Calif. (Lewis and Clark College) and 5-11 forward Jamelia Clark, Las Vegas and St. Francis Xavier College in St. Louis, Mo.
The men, coming off an 18-11 season and North Division title, are 2-2 so far with victories over Mount Hood and Portland and losses to Lower Columbia and Elite Prep. That LC loss was in overtime, so the Pirates could easily be 3-1.
Cole Rabedeaux, someone area prep hoops fans should remember from his days at North Kitsap High School, has so far impressed for the Pirates. A 6-1 point guard, he is leading the team with a scoring average of 17 a game. Returner Darrion Daniels, an explosive 5-11 guard from Las Vegas, is averaging 12.3 points a game so far, while Trent Warren, a newcomer 6-6 guard from Melbourne, Australia, is averaging 11.5 points a game.
Kevin Baker, a rugged 6-8 forward from Kent is likewise off to a fine start as he had a 20-point game against Lower Columbia. He doesn’t get a lot of shots, but he makes the most out of them with an impressive 76 percent shooting percentage.
Other returning players are Alex Baham, 6-5 guard from Wasilla, Alaska and Omar Lo, a 6-9 guard from Los Angeles. Also returning are redshirts from last year guard Jalon McCullough, 5-10, Fairbanks, Alaska; and Alex Losee, 6-6 forward from South Jordan, Utah.
This team will have plenty of height, with a bench of forwards that could rival big colleges in size. Newcomers include Blake Cosgrove, a 6-5 forward from Portand, Zach Day, a 6-4 forward from Las Vegas; Jarrod Felix, a 6-2 guard from Poulsbo; Sam Velez, a 6-9 forward from Draper, Utah; and Elijah Williams, a 6-2 guard who played high school ball in Seattle.
Colby Jackson, a 5-10 transfer from Las Vegas, played at the University of Alberta last year.