Coach Peter Stewart was impressed with how quickly his 2008-2009 Pirates got through the team's preseason conditioning program.
After a slow start to the season, he's wondering if he and the Peninsula coaching staff miscalculated what looked to be a strength.
For the fifth time in eight games this season, the Pirates saw first-half leads fade as they dropped a pair of games at the West Region Crossover Tournament at Highline Community College in Des Moines last weekend.
Because of dreadfully poor weather conditions in the mountain passes, the Pirates pulled out of the East Region Crossover Tournament in Yakima and turned their buses toward Highline Friday night.
The Clackamas Cougars from Oregon welcomed Peninsula rudely in the first game, topping Peninsula 80-63. J.C. Cook led the Cougars with 19 points and Chelales Tapscott added 17 points and 11 rebounds as Clackamas overcame a 33-32 Pirate lead.
Harmeet Mahal led Peninsula with 14 points while Jesse Bean and Cody Killian had a dozen points each. Shooting, however, proved to be Peninsula's downfall, as they hit just 20-of-63 shot attempts (31.7-percent) and gave up 30 points off their 21 turnovers.
The Pirates similarly started off well in the Saturday evening contest against Highline, a team they lost to earlier this season by 15 points.
But the Thunderbirds, the tourney hosts, dissolved a seven-point Pirate lead into a 79-71 victory.
Coby Gibler, a 6-foot 9-inch sophomore from Bainbridge, led the Thunderbirds with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Jake Green led Peninsula with 16 points and 15 rebounds - 11 of those on the offensive glass - while Bean had 15 points and Killian chipped in with 12.
The Pirates out-rebounded Highline 49-39 and had more second-chance points (23-10), but shooting, once again, proved Peninsula's bugaboo. Against Highline, P.C. hit just 28-of-80 from the field (35-percent) and got to the line just 12 times, hitting half their freebies.
Peninsula is back in action Dec. 28-30 at the Clackamas Tournament in Oregon; they open against Lower Columbia (4-2).