Needing a road win against a beatable Skagit Valley squad to keep postseason hopes alive, Peninsula's men's basketball hoopsters got exactly what they needed.
Jason Gamblin had 26 points and 18 rebounds as the Pirates outmuscled the host Skagit Valley Cardinals 80-63 in Mount Vernon on Feb. 6.
Down 12-2 early, Peninsula (7-4 in conference play, 10-10 overall) rallied to take a 41-32 lead by the end of the first half. The Pirates dominated the boards, grabbing 47 caroms to Skagit's 23.
"I'm real proud of these guys," Peninsula coach
Peter Stewart said. "It was a scrappy night. We got a huge contribution from the bench."
P.C.'s bench players tallied 28 points.
Ryan Rutherford added 12 points, Bryce Jacobson scored 11 and Christian Manzanza and Colton Worley each had 10 in the win.
Adrian Moffet had 23 points to lead the Cardinals (3-9, 9-11).
Peninsula moved into a tie with Seattle for third place in the NWAACC North division. The Pirates hope to be in the top four by season's end on Feb. 24 to earn them one of the NWAACC tournament berths.
P.C. is at North Seattle on Feb. 10 and hosts Whatcom on Feb. 13.
Maybe home cooking makes the difference.
Whatever the case, Peninsula's men's basketball squad was happy to be back in the confines of their home gym Wednesday night after coming away with a 69-53 win against rival Bellevue.
Gamblin had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals while teammate Russell Jackson added 13 points, including three key three-pointers as the Pirates (6-4 in conference play, 9-10 overall) worked their way back into the playoff picture.
Peninsula got key stretches of good shooting, rebounding and turnover-forcing defense to take a 40-26 first-half lead and make it stick.
"I liked our resiliency," Stewart said. "This was a huge game.
The Pirates remain undefeated (6-0) at home by forcing Bellevue into 17 turnovers into 20 points and giving up just five points off their own miscues.
"We just came out stronger," said Jason Collins, the 6-foot 7-inch power forward who had eight rebounds and half of his 12 rebounds on the offensive glass.
"We came off Olympic (a loss to the last-place Rangers on Jan. 30) really bad," Collins said. "It was just us being not ready to play."
"To me, beating Bellevue means something," Stewart said. Since Stewart's tenure began in 2002, either his Pirates or the Bulldogs have claimed division titles.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.