PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula basketball men put themselves in position to possibly earn the North Division championship with a 92-69 win over Whatcom.
What happened in the rest of the North Division play Wednesday night will create an interesting final week.
Peninsula came in to Wednesday’s contest at 8-3, a game behind both Everett and Skagit Valley. The Pirates knocked off Skagit Valley last week when the Cardinals were the No. 1-ranked team in the entire NWAC (that honor will now likely fall to North Idaho).
Everett won its game 80-60 over Olympic to take over sole possession of first place at 10-2 as Skagit Valley was shocked by Shoreline 83-72.
That means Skagit Valley and Peninsula are now tied for second place at 9-3, a game behind Everett. Who does Peninsula play on the road on Sunday? Everett. Who is their final game against next Wednesday? Shoreline, which is just a game behind Skagit Valley and Peninsula at 8-4 and appears fully capable of creating a four-team logjam at the top of the North Division.
“It makes life interesting with Everett left,” Pirates coach Donald Rollman said. “There’s potential for a league championship, but we haven’t talked about that as a group. As cliche as that might be, we’ve really tried to stay focused on what’s in front of us.”
Earlier this season, Peninsula lost to Everett at home and beat Shoreline on the road.
What a wild week it promises to be.
The Pirates (9-3, 19-5) win over Whatcom was Peninsula’s fifth in a row. The Pirates had a balanced attack with seven players scoring at least seven points. Davien Harris-Williams led Peninsula with 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“We played well all the way around,” Rollman said. “Whatcom has been playing super-hard their last couple of games. It was important for us to win and keep rolling, but we could have had a letdown if we were not focused. We avoided that, we shared the basketball well and that’s important for us. We had a business-like mindset.
Harris-Williams was named NWAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week before the game.
“Davien has been incredible,” Rollman said. He’s put up 32 [points], 27 and 26 the last three games. He has been unreal shooting the basketball the last few weeks.”
Jaylin Reed had 17 points and Malik Moore 13. Marquis Gurske had eight points and led the team with nine rebounds while Sequim’s Nate Despain had seven points and eight rebounds.
Peninsula had a 16-point lead at the half and the game never got within single digits after the break. At one point, the Pirates opened up a 28-point lead. It was the seventh game this season in which the Pirates scored at least 90 points.
In fact, the Pirates utterly dominated on the boards, outrebounding Whatcom 49-24. This results in 72 shots for the Pirates compared to just 58 for the Orcas. Peninsula shot 47.2 percent (34 for 72 from the floor)
Skagit Valley’s Willie Thomas, one of the Cardinals’ star players, had to be physically restrained and removed from the gym after the loss to Peninsula last week after he walked toward a group of Pirates’ players after the game. He did not play Wednesday against Shoreline, which possibly contributed to the Cardinals’ loss.
Of the four teams atop the North Division, Skagit Valley has the easiest schedule remaining and it appears Peninsula has the most difficult. Everett (10-2) plays Peninsula (9-3) and Bellevue (1-11). Skagit Valley (9-3) plays Edmonds (7-5) and Olympic (2-10). Peninsula plays Everett and Shoreline (8-4). And Shoreline plays Whatcom (2-10) and Peninsula.
Peninsula 92, Whatcom 69
Whatcom 30 39 — 69
Peninsula 46 46 — 92
Whatcom (69) — Voeut 13, McLin 11, Howard 11, Anderson 11, Martin 8, Harris 7, Montag 5, Blouin 3.
Peninsula (92) — Harris-Williams 26, Reed 17, Moore 13, Gurske 8, Artis 8, Despain 7, Torres-Kahapea 7, Thomas 4, Long 2, Hunter-Holiday, Gatluak.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected].