Peninsula College’s Aiden Olmstead drives against the defense of South Puget Sound as Peninsula head coach Bryce Jacobson, background, watches the play. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Peninsula College’s Aiden Olmstead drives against the defense of South Puget Sound as Peninsula head coach Bryce Jacobson, background, watches the play. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Peninsula rally falls just short against S. Puget Sound

PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula College men’s basketball team showed in the finale of the Pirate Classic on Sunday night that even in a game with ragged play at times, it will not go quietly into the night.

The Pirates lost 69-65 to a good 4-2 South Puget Sound team. They trailed virtually the entire game, at times by double digits, but fought and clawed their way back into a brief lead in the final three minutes of the game. The Clippers were able to pull away by shooting 9-for-10 on their free throws in the final three minutes of the game.

The loss snapped a three-game Pirates’ winning streak. Peninsula split a pair of games at the tournament, beating Grays Harbor 83-58 on Saturday and stands at 3-4 on the season.

“We had to expend all that energy climbing the mountain, but give credit to [South Puget Sound], that’s a good team,” coach Bryce Jacobson said.

“On a different day, that game goes for us,” Jacobson said. “The biggest thing is continuing to see growth in our team.”

Peninsula managed to hang around the first half, down between five and nine points nearly the entire 20 minutes. Early in the second half, South Puget Sound opened up its biggest lead at 50-37.

Then came the Pirates’ comeback. Peninsula went on a 22-8 run over the next 12 minutes to take a 59-58 lead with 3:27 left in the game.

During that big rally, Port Angeles’ Wyatt Dunning had a great sequence on defense in which he tied up a Clippers’ player to force a turnover on the possession arrow, then on South Puget Sound’s next possession, he blocked a shot and got the rebound. He also had a steal in the final couple of minutes. Dunning, who was well-known with the Roughriders for his 3-point shooting, was a force on defense in this game, leading the team with four blocks and six rebounds.

The Pirates were able to open their lead up to 61-58 with 2:58 left on a Javon Ervin layup, but this was when the Clippers started making their free throws.

“One thing this team has shown is that they will fight,” Jacobson said. “That’s who we are. No quit.”

With South Puget Sound regaining the lead at 63-62, there was a remarkable and exciting 30-second sequence at both ends of the floor with less than 2 minutes to play in which the Clippers’ Cameron Lawson blocked a shot by Peninsula’s Ese Onakpoma, then Onakpoma returned the favor with a blocked shot against the Clippers’ Jazen Guillory, then Lawson blocked a shot by the Pirates’ Beni Njomo back at the Pirates’ end.

The Clippers were able to extend the lead to 67-62 in the final seconds when Antonio Odum hit a near half-court 3-pointer to cut the score to 67-65 with 0.8 seconds left, giving the Pirates at least a chance for a miracle finish. Peninsula immediately fouled intentionally and Lawson sank two free throws to end any last-gasp threat.

Onakpoma had a great game, scoring 21 points and blocking three shots. He shot 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. Aiden Olmstead and Ervin each scored eight, with Ervin adding four assists.

The Pirates just so happen to get a rematch with South Puget Sound on Friday at the Triton Classic at Edmonds College.

The Peninsula women, who swept three games at the Pirate Classic to improve to 4-1, play Treasure Valley (Ontario, Ore.) on Sunday at Bellevue College.

S. Puget Sound 69, Peninsula 65

SPS 42 27 — 69

PC 35 30 — 65

SPS (69) — C. Lawson 16, Guillory 12, M. Lawson, Linton 9, Pollard 7, Moore 6, Elliott 5, Biebrich 4.

Peninsula (65) — Onakpoma 21, Olmstead 8, Ervin 8, Njomo 6, Dunning 5, Doughty 5, Odum 5, Odingo 4, Meza 3.

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