Needing a road victory in Whatcom to stay relevant in the playoff picture, Peninsula's men had a good start through 20 minutes of action.
But the host Orcas found something in that final half of action, sweeping aside a four-point Pirate lead for a 74-51 victory that all but eliminated P.C. from the team's attempt at six consecutive NWAACC tournament berths.
Steve Ehrlich led Whatcom with 18 points as the Orcas out-shot, out-rebounded and out-scored the Pirates in Peninsula's most critical game.
"Just a disappointing effort in the second half," Peninsula coach Peter Stewart said.
Jake Green and Jake Pappuleas led the Pirates with 12 points each. Jesse Bean added eight points and a team-high six assists.
The loss drops P.C. two games in back of the Orcas with two games remaining. The Pirates' only hope is that Whatcom falls to both Bellevue and winless Shoreline this week, and that Peninsula can pick up wins at Everett Feb. 25 and at home against Edmonds Feb. 28.
Pirates stop Seattle
in key victory
There's still some fight left in these Pirates.
Peninsula used a strong inside game to take a double-digit lead in the first half and sweated out a 69-60 victory against Seattle Wednesday night in Port Angeles.
Bean scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half as the Pirates maintained possession of fifth place, one game back of Whatcom for the North Division's fourth and final playoff spot.
"We talk about (the playoffs)," coach Stewart said. "We don't hide from it. We have to take care of ourselves."
"Right now our backs are against the wall," Bean said. "There's an urgency."
On Wednesday night, the Pirates went inside early and often to posts Chidi Antoinne and Christian Manzanza. The latter got his points across in strong fashion, putting up the majority of his 13 points in the first six minutes.
But Seattle stayed close early on thanks to Brian Walker's outside touch. The 6-foot 5-inch freshman from O'Dea High School sank three three-pointers to give Seattle a 15-13 lead.
Peninsula responded with baskets from Manzanza, Pappuleas and Jordan Collins. With Cody Killian's three-pointer that put the Pirates up 26-23, it was a lead they'd never relinquish.
Peninsula finished the first half with an 18-4 run.
The Pirates increased their 37-25 halftime advantage to 16 points when Bean out-scored Seattle 6-0 on his own when hit a lay-up, a pair of free throws and a put-back of his own miss in the span of about 90 seconds, giving P.C. a 52-36 advantage.
Seattle made a big run then, frustrating the Pirates with a full-court press and hitting some outside shots they couldn't sink earlier. With Anwar Asadi's three-point bomb at the five minute mark, Seattle had crawled back to within two points at 56-54, an 18-4 Storm run.
But Bean found a streaking Dion Serras for a dunk, then posted up a Seattle guard for a basket and Pappuleas hit two free throws for a 62-56 Peninsula lead late. Seattle went cold, scoring just three points in the final five minutes, and Antoinne's dunk with 1:07 on the clock sealed the win, bringing the crowd to its feet.
"The home crowd is awesome," Bean said. "Coach just told us, 'You guys need to weather the storm.' It was a fun game."
The win gives Peninsula a bit of revenge after falling to Seattle 84-80 on Jan. 19 in Seattle.
NWAACC North Division standings
Team Conf. Over.
Bellevue 12-2 23-4
Skagit Vly. 11-4 16-9
Olympic 10-4 18-5
Whatcom 9-5 16-8
Peninsula 7-7 10-15
Seattle 7-6 10-14
Everett 6-9 8-16
Edmonds 2-12 2-16
Shoreline 0-14 6-19
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.