After watching a 21-game home winning streak dissolve earlier in the week and falling behind by seven points at halftime on the road Saturday night, the Pirate men found something they haven't had much of this season: a way to finish strong.
Jake Green scored 19 points and 11 rebounds while teammate Jesse Bean had 11 points and five assists in a 74-67 victory against Skagit Valley in Mount Vernon Jan. 17.
The win evens the Pirates' conference record at 2-2 and keeps them close to the NWAACC North division leaders in the season's early going.
Down by a 15-2 count early, the Pirates clawed their way back under double digits by halftime.
Then Peninsula post Chidi Antoinne got a steal, dunk and got intentionally fouled on the same play, sparking a six-point possession that cut Skagit's lead to one point.
"From there, it was kind of a battle," Peninsula coach Peter Stewart said.
The Pirates built a lead and controlled the game with about three minutes remaining.
Stewart said the team's relatively slow start - a 4-10 record before Saturday's game - simply comes from having a lot of inexperienced players on the court.
"We're going to be a lot better in February," Stewart said. "Our defense has got to improve in a couple of areas. We're still giving up some easy buckets. But it's doing those little things (that wins games). We've got a lot of room for improvement."
Trent Leach gave Skagit squad a team-high 22 points and 12 rebounds but hit just four-of-14 from the free-throw line; the Cardinals were 11-of-25 overall from the charity stripe.
The Pirates were slated to take on North Seattle on the road Jan. 19 - results were unavailable at press time. Peninsula hosts Whatcom Jan.21 and Everett on Jan. 24.
For 21 consecutive home games, dating back to the 2005-2006 season, Peninsula College's men's team has been untouchable - until now.
The Olympic Rangers used their aggressiveness to gain an early 13-point lead and hold on for a 79-75 NWAACC victory Jan. 14.
The Pirates were within three points (78-75) with nine seconds left, but the Rangers made one of two free throws to clinch the game.
The Ranger victory also halted Peninsula's 10-game winning streak against the Rangers. Lost in the defeat was a 29-point effort from Bean, who sank four three-pointers and hit 11-of-13 from the free throw line.
Michael Dashiell can be reached at miked@sequim gazette.com.