The Peninsula College women’s basketball team discovered some of their Christmas gifts well before the rush of last-minute shopping.
Despite averaging just 29-percent shooting from the field and 25 turnovers over three games, the Pirates (3-6) captured fourth place in the Portland Crossover Tournament with a 57-50 win over the Everett Trojans on Dec. 19.
Peninsula responded to a lackluster 71-53 loss to the host Portland Panthers on Dec. 17 by topping the winless Centralia Trailblazers in a determined victory, 42-30, on Dec. 18.
The key to the Pirates’ turnaround was primarily their mental approach to the game.
“In our loss to Portland, we competed for about 20 minutes of that game,” Peninsula coach Alison Crumb said.
“We rebounded well — Callie Monfrey had 18 herself — but we did not take care of the ball or stop their transition game and we didn’t look like we were 100 percent into the game. In our win against Centralia, it was the exact opposite. We only got to the free-throw line two times, had no one in double figures and turned the ball over 25 times, but we played very, very, very hard,” Crumb said.
Portland powers past P.C.
Concluding the first day of action, the Pirates were outmatched in playing the Panthers on their home hardwood.
Plagued by poor shooting and a lack of intensity, Peninsula was unable to overcome a 10-point first-half deficit.
“It was a tough loss for us because we truly felt like we had the advantage going into the game, but just did not execute,” Crumb conceded.
Danika Goodwin led Peninsula with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Jasmine Jackson added 12 points.
Monfrey supplemented her 18 rebounds with nine points.
A balanced attack propelled the Pirates to their victory over Centralia. Even though they reached the charity stripe only twice, Peninsula benefited from contributions from many players.
“We rotated everyone about the same and never let down our intensity,” Crumb said.
“I could not have been more proud of our effort during that game.”
Neomi Carter poured in nine points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Monfrey netted eight points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Peninsula’s win over Everett must have looked remarkably close to the way Crumb envisioned her team to play.
Riding 23 points from the reserve players and a strong effort on the glass, the Pirates pulled a trick of their own on the Trojans.
“Rebounding is crucial,” Crumb said. “We have no one over 6 feet tall and we are consistency smaller than most teams. But if we can control the boards and limit second-chance opportunities, then that is half the battle. It’s a must-have to be successful on defense and in the outcome of a game.”
Monfrey and Ardis Pullen led the Pirates in rebounds with seven each. Pullen paced Peninsula with 13 points, while Megan Smith scored 10 points and corralled five boards.
With the score tied and four minutes on the clock, Carter suffered what Crumb called a severe concussion. She left the game and went to a nearby hospital. Later that evening, Carter was discharged from the emergency room and diagnosed with a concussion and muscle strain.
For Crumb, the challenge now is replicating the success that her team has enjoyed.
“It now becomes a key of consistency. Can we consistently play at that level on defense and take good shots and move the ball on offense.”
The Pirates next test is when NWAACC North Division conference play begins at 5 p.m. on Jan. 5 at Olympic College in Bremerton.