The wild ride that was the Peninsula College Pirates' season is over.
Peninsula's own "March Madness" tournament lasted just two games in Kennewick last weekend. Top-seeded Tacoma blistered the nets and held the Pirates to ice-cold shooting in a 75-49 decision on March 6 in the opening round. In the consolation bracket, the Pirates saw a five-point lead evaporate in the second half as Big Bend eliminated Peninsula with a 64-56 win on March 7.
Despite an up-and-down campaign that saw 11 of their final 13 games decided by seven points or less, the Pirates looked strong as ever in knocking off North division champs Shoreline on Feb. 27.
But Tacoma's Titans, the West's No. 1-seeded squad, showed why they were ranked No. 2 in the entire conference coming into the game. They shot 54 percent from the field and had 26 assists to Peninsula's four.
West division MVP Darious Walker scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds. Peninsula, meanwhile, struggled mightily to find a basket. The Pirates hit just 14 of 50 shots from the field (28 percent) and missed all 10 three-point tries.
"We just didn't show up to play," Peninsula coach Peter Stewart said. "We thought we had a great game plan. It just didn't happen. Tacoma's very good."
Jason Gamblin led the squad with 12 points while Trevant Musgrow added 10 points and Jordan Collins chipped in with eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
A day later, it looked as if the Pirates would extend their stay in the Tri-Cities when they took a 37-32 lead into halftime against Big Bend.
But the Vikings stymied the P.C. offense to the tune of 6-of-32 shooting (19 percent) from the field and outscored Peninsula 32-19 in the second frame.
"We got away from our game plan," Stewart said.
Gamblin scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds before fouling out.
Ryan Rutherford, the 2005 Sequim High grad who led the Pirates in scoring, assists and steals in 2009-2010, scored 13 points in his final game at Peninsula.
Christian Manzanza, also playing his final game as a Pirate, had six points and four blocked shots. Teammate Trevant Musgrow added a team-high five assists.
Michael Hatter and Jeff Ranstrom led the Vikings with 15 points each. Ranstrom also had 12 rebounds.
Still, Stewart remained positive about the experience at the NWAACC tournament, the Pirates' sixth in the past seven seasons. The Pirates earned with top-eight performances at the NWAACC tournament in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
"It's an outstanding experience for the kids," he said. "There (are) always lessons to be taught."
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.