PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula College men’s basketball team rallied from a big deficit late in the second half to get within two possessions of Edmonds, but the Tritons answered with a clutch 3-pointer and were able to pull away for an 81-67 win, forcing themselves into a tie for first place with the Pirates in the North Region.
The Pirates came in to Saturday’s contest one game ahead of Edmonds, which has been red-hot of late. Both teams are now tied at 6-3 atop the North Region standings. Peninsula is 13-10 overall. It was the Pirates’ first loss since Jan. 24 as a three-game winning streak was snapped.
It was a physical battle featuring 39 foul calls, two technical fouls — both on Peninsula College — and a combined 50 free-throw attempts by both teams. Ese Onakpoma only hit two shots all game but led the Pirates with 22 points as he effectively drew fouls all game long and shot 16-for-20 on his free throws.
“That was a tough, physical ball game. We still have everything right now to succeed,” said Peninsula coach Bryce Jacobson. “Sometimes the breaks just don’t go your way. They [Edmonds] had a good game today. We’re still tied for first.”
The game went into the half tied 37-37 as both teams went on big runs in the second half. Edmonds started the half on a 9-2 run to take a 46-39 lead, but the Pirates rallied with a run of their own, culminating with a Wyatt Dunning (Port Angeles High School) 3-pointer to cut the Edmonds lead to 51-50 with 13:05 left to play.
Edmonds hit some timely shots, making six 3-pointers in the second half (shooting 6-for-13), and was able to open up a 12-point lead again at 73-61 with 3:35 left in the game.
The Pirates had one last rally left. Onakpoma was fouled again and hit a free throw. He missed his second shot from the charity stripe, but teammate Aiden Olmstead got the rebound and scored a basket. Onakpoma then came up with a steal on defense and hit a huge 3-pointer at the 2:20 mark to make the score 73-67.
The Pirates suddenly had all the momentum and a chance to pull off a miracle victory in front of a raucous home crowd, but they needed another couple of stops on defense to do it. The Tritons’ Chris Lee responded with a clutch 3-pointer of his own at the 2:04 mark to open the lead back up again to nine at 76-67. That seemed to quickly swing all the momentum back to Edmonds as the Pirates weren’t able to score the rest of the game.
The Pirates were forced to foul down the stretch and the Tritons shot 5-for-6 on their free throws at the end of the game for the final margin.
Aiden Olmstead scored 11 points to go with 13 rebounds, while Javon Ervin, who battled foul trouble most of the game and was only able to play 24 minutes, scored 14. Onakpoma, Ervin, Wyatt Dunning and Patrick Odingo all hit a pair of 3-pointers — with one of Odingo’s coming on an alley-oop pass that went into the basket.
Peninsula next plays at Bellevue (3-6, 14-10) on Wednesday.
Edmonds 81, Peninsula 67
Edmonds 37 44 — 81
Peninsula 37 30 — 67
Edmonds (81) — Lee 21, Motley 18, Zevenbergen 14, Pierre 12, Hamilton 6, Sims 5, Barnes 3, Daniel 2.