SPORTS: Pirates bumped aside by Skagit Valley

PORT ANGELES — Valentine’s Day delivered a pair of heart-breakers to the Stewart household in Peninsula College’s NWAACC North Division basketball doubleheader against Skagit Valley on Saturday.

While Peter Stewart and his Pirate men saw a nine-point second half lead disappear amid a torrid 24-4 Cardinal run in its 60-53 loss, Julie Stewart’s women had their upset bid turn on a pair of late free throws for a 58-56 defeat.

The latter, which included a five-second call on the Pirates with the game tied at 56 and 11.2 seconds left on the clock, was perhaps the toughest to take of the two.

The tears on many of the Peninsula women’s (9-3 in North, 14-9 overall) faces afterward said it all.

“It was very emotional,” sophomore post Brittany Bridges said. “It shouldn’t have come down to the ending, because we didn’t play well the entire game, but obviously it did.

“We wanted to beat the first-place team of course. But we have to look at the positive side, we’re still going to the NWAACC [tournament]. We’re doing a lot better than we did last year.”

With the bench urging them on each possession, the Pirates clawed their way back from a 38-27 second half deficit with a 14-2 run fueled by 3-pointers from Bridges and Sam Flett for a 41-40 edge.

The lead changed hands nine more times during the game’s final 13 minutes, with Peninsula moving ahead 56-54 on a 3-pointer from Britney Yamane with 2:30 to go in the game.

After Skagit (13-0, 21-1) tied the game at 56 apiece, the two teams traded possessions until Peninsula had the ball on its offensive baseline with 11.2 seconds left.

Peninsula’s Krystal Tolliver was whistled for a five-second violation on the play, then Flett was called for a bump on Skagit’s Brittany Janz to set up the game-winning freebies.

Janz sank both, and the Pirates were unable to go the length of the court for a shot with 1.4 seconds to go as their seven-game win streak came to an end.

The Pirates finished with 22 turnovers on the night to Skagit’s 13.

“If there’s a positive to take out of it, we know we can compete with one of the top teams,” Julie Stewart said.

“You want to at least get that shot up [to win it]. When you don’t even get a chance, a turnover with the five-second call, it’s just a lot harder to take.”

Bridges finished with a game-high 17 points in the loss, while Dena House dropped in 13.

Brooke Helpenstell had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Pirates, and Flett added nine points and five assists.

Peninsula still holds the second spot in the North Division and will host North Seattle on Wednesday.

Skagit Valley 58, Peninsula 56

Skagit Valley 31 27 — 58

Peninsula 27 29 — 56

Individual Scoring

Skagit Valley (58)

Grater 16, Love 10, Janz 9, Arendse 7, Ridenhour 6, Koller 6, Scott 3, Moreno 1.

Peninsula (56)

Bridges 17, Houser 13, Helpenstell 11, Flett 9, Yamane 5, Tolliver 1.

Men’s Basketball Skagit Valley 60, Peninsula 53

PORT ANGELES — The Pirates once again found themselves on the wrong side of a big run in Saturday night’s North Division setback.

After jumping out to a 36-27 edge early in the second half, the Pirates fell victim to a 24-4 Cardinal surge that they were never able to recover from.

One game removed from a last-second upset of Olympic, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Pirates.

“It’s frustrating,” sophomore point guard Jesse Bean said of his team’s erratic play. “I don’t know what it is. I wish I knew.”

“We let it get out of control and they ended up getting us and we weren’t able to bounce back.”

Bean led all scorers with 17 points and added three assists. Jake Pappuleas added 11 points as the only other Pirate in double figures.

Peninsula (6-6, 9-14) turned the ball over 21 times on the game, while Skagit (10-3, 15-8) had only 10 giveaways.

Combine that with a 38.2-percent shooting night from the field, and the Pirates ended up dropping their third game in their past six.

“We just continue to be our own worst enemy,” Peter Stewart said.

“We quit moving and executing. It’s tough because we have the ability, but when you don’t execute what you’re supposed to do, you’re in trouble.”

The loss drops the Pirates into a tie for fifth place in the North.

That means they’ll need to dig themselves out of a hole to qualify for the fourth and final playoff spot.

“We’re definitely looking from the outside in,” Stewart said. “But we can’t give up. Anything can happen in the last four or five games.”

Skagit Valley 60, Peninsula 53

Skagit Valley 19 41 — 60

Peninsula 23 30 — 53

Individual Scoring

Skagit Valley (60)

Leach 13, Kok 13, Davidson 11, Beatty 9, Koorn 6, Balch 4, Cook 4.

Peninsula (53)

Bean 17, Pappuleas 11, Smithson 8, Killian 7, Antoinne 6, Manzanza 2, Worley 2.