TACOMA — The Peninsula College men’s basketball team came from behind twice to win a pair of games this weekend, 67-55 over Tacoma and 66-64 over Green River, the No. 3-ranked team in the Northwest Athletic Conference.
Meanwhile, the women, the preseason No. 1 team in the NWAC, were missing some of their key players early in the season and lost their first two games, 61-54 to Walla Walla and 89-75 to Columbia Basin.
Back to the men’s games, the Pirates immediately fell behind Tacoma 16-3 on Friday and were still down 29-22 at the half. They outscored Tacoma 45-26 in the second half to win going away.
“Both games were pretty rough early. We had first game jitters,” said coach Donald Rollman. “We did a fantastic job adjusting at the half. It really wasn’t Xs and Os. It was just our mentality. Our guys showed grittiness and toughness.”
Mikey Medlock Jr. had four 3-pointers and led the Pirates with 14 points. Roosevelt Williams Jr. had 13 points and Javon Ervin added 10. North Kitsap’s Aiden Olmstead added 13 rebounds and six points in his first college game. Max D’Amato had 11 rebounds.
“We blew Tacoma out on the glass,” Rollman said, as the Pirates led in rebounding 47-34 and led in offensive rebounds 14-8.
Against Green River, the Pirates were down big early in the second half, 46-33 with 16:46 left to play, but held the high-scoring Gators to just 18 points for the rest of the game.
Medlock hit six 3-pointers in the second half and led the team with 25 points. Port Angeles’ Gary Johnson had a pair of critical second-half 3-pointers and Williams had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Rollman said the Pirates could have put Green River away up 66-64 with less than a minute left, but they twice missed the front end of 1-and-1 free throws, giving the Gators a chance to pull the game out. The defense got back-to-back stops in the final 22 seconds to close the game out, however.
The women played shorthanded without starters Millie Long, who just finished soccer season, and Chasity Selden, who is expected to join the team in the winter quarter.
Ituau Tuisaula led the team in scoring against Walla Walla, pumping in 24 points with 13 rebounds. Adam Kaganak scored 12. Neah Bay’s Ruth Moss scored seven.
Against Columbia Basin, newcomer Jenilee Donovan led the team with five 3-pointers and 20 points, while Kaganak had 18 and Tati Kamae had 12.
Quilcene/Port Townsend’s Gina Brown scored six points to go with seven rebounds, while Moss scored five. Tuisaula led the team with 11 rebounds.
The men (2-0) next play three games at a Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Mount Vernon against Douglas College (British Columbia) on Friday, Northwest Indian College on Saturday and Big Bend on Sunday.
The Peninsula women (0-2) are off for a week, then as part of the Pirate Classic, host Chemeketa on Dec. 2, Northwest Indian College on Dec. 3 and defending NWAC champion Lower Columbia on Dec. 4. They hope to have Long back for those games.