SPORTS: Peninsula College men’s basketball opens season with two close losses

LONGVIEW — The Peninsula College men’s basketball team opened the 2010-2011 season with two close losses at the Red Devil Classic on Friday and Saturday.

The losses knocked the Pirates out of the double-elimination tournament.

In the first game, the Pirates took host Lower Columbia down to the wire on Friday night in their non-conference opener only to come up on the short end of the 69-66 score.

“Our team battled from start to finish,” Peninsula coach Lance Von Vogt said. “We just had a very difficult time with making shots.”

Peninsula’s Thad Vinson led the team with 17 points as he shot 5-for-10 from the field and 3-for-4 behind the 3-point line.

Teammate Djuan Smith sank 12 points with 5-for-10 shooting while Sammeon Waller had 10 points and three steals against the Red Devils, who finished last season as the 2010 NWAACC Tournament runners-up.

Lower Columbia played tough defense as a team and had three players who scored double-digit points against the Pirates.

Peninsula had the lead with a couple of minutes left to play.

But a few missed lay-ups followed by a couple of Red Devil free throws turned the tide.

The Pirates attempted to beat the buzzer but missed the go-ahead 3-point shot by Tre Musgrow as Lower Columbia survived the upset try.

“Overall, I was happy with the way our guys competed,” Von Vogt said.

“But we need to figure out how to execute down the stretch to win the close ones rather than lose them.”

Another close finish

In the second game, the Pirates lost a close 74-69 game to Southwestern Oregon Community College of Coos Bay, Ore., at Myklebust Gymnasium.

“They jumped out to a quick lead,” Von Vogt said about the Lakers. “And just extended it throughout the first half.”

Smith led the Pirates with 18 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists while Musgrow contributed 12 points coming off of the bench.

The Lakers took off to an 18-point lead with Peninsula shooting only 26 percent in the first half.

But the Pirates managed to cut the lead down to 13 points, trailing 39-26 at the half.

The Pirates scored after they stole the first possession of the second half to cut the lead down to 11, followed by a 10-0 run by the Lakers with 17:30 left to play.

Peninsula answered back with a 28-5 run of its own along with some big defensive pllays to take the lead with eight minutes to go.

The remainder of the game consisted of six ties and nine lead changes but ended with a key 3-point shot by Southwestern Oregon’s Kramer Ramberg to give the Lakers a 69-67 lead.

“We weren’t ready to play, which showed in the first 25 minutes of the game,” Von Vogt said.

“But our guys showed a lot of heart by battling back.”

The Pirates will next host Vancouver Island University next Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

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