Despite a resounding loss in their final contest, Peninsula College’s men scored a pair of wins against two of the top junior college teams around during the three-game North Idaho College Thanksgiving Classic in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, Nov. 25-27.
The Pirates (3-1) opened with an 88-81 win against Williston State, the defending National Junior College Region 13 champ. Wake Forest transfer J.T. Terrell led the Pirates with 37 points, including 29 second-half points.
Terrell started cold from the field, shooting 2-of-12 in the first half before a torrid second half in which he hit 10 of 14 tries.
Five other Pirates contributed in the scoring column, led by reserve Curtis Stewart with 12 points and six rebounds.
Corey Clement posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyler Funk and Dudley Ewell both posted 10 points while Djuan Smith contributed nine points and 10 rebounds.
Williston State led by one at halftime.
“It was good for us to have a team battle back against us just to see how we would respond to adversity,” Peninsula coach Lance Von Vogt said.
The Pirates responded by starting the second half with another one of their patented scoring runs and opening up a 50–42 lead just three minutes into the second half.
In the second game, the Pirates once again trailed at half and for moments in the second half before ending the game on a 15-2 run to top Salish Kootenai College, 102-90.
Terrell led the Pirates with 33 points, hitting 15 of 17 from the free-throw line. While Terrell was cold from the field (8-for-23), he relentlessly attacked the basket to score his points from the charity stripe.
Salish Kootenai is the two-time defending national champions of the AIHEC, the governing body for tribal colleges around the country. The Bison have won an unprecedented six of the past seven national championships.
Salish Kootenai put together a 17-1 run to take a 80-73 lead with only seven minutes to play before Peninsula’s big finish.
D.J. Fish (33 points) and Dennis Sangrey (25 points) paced the Bison offense.
In the tourney final, host North Idaho stayed perfect (7-0) with a 103-72 win against the Pirates. Michael Middlebrooks led the Cardinals with 16 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks.
Terrell once again led Peninsula in scoring with 27 points, but P.C. hit just 18 of 63 (29 percent) from the floor. Smith added 13 points and five steals.
Peninsula played the tourney without DeShaun Freeman, Sam Waller, Daniel Sims and Antonio Stevenson, and had just 10 players suit up for the three contests.
Terrell had 30 points, leading the preseason No. 1-ranked Pirates to a 102-57 blowout against Grays Harbor on Nov. 22.
“I thought our guys played hard and together tonight,” Von Vogt said.
“We have a lot of rough edges to smooth out, but we have the tools to have a special season and tonight we moved toward that goal.”
Ewell added 15 points and Corey Clement had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds for Peninsula (1-0), which forced 20 turnovers and outscored the Chokers 57-26 in the second half.
In total, five Pirates score in double figures including Smith with 12 points and Funk with 11 points and a team-high eight assists.
The Pirates’ pressure defense, led by Smith with five steals, held the Chokers to just 25-percent shooting from the field in the second half and 37-percent shooting for the game.
“Our depth, quickness and athleticism caused problems for Grays Harbor and led to difficult shots for them while producing easy shots for us,” Von Vogt said.