Needing a win to avoid a tiebreaker playoff game just to get to the NWAACC tourney, Peninsula’s Pirates shrugged off a poor shooting performance and a halftime deficit to upend Bellevue 69-63 Saturday night, earning a berth in the conference tournament.
Xavier Bazile scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Djuan Smith added 19 points and eight rebounds, and TreShawn King Dunbar added 13 points and six assists as the Pirates (8-6 in conference, 17-10 overall) wrapped up the North Division’s No. 3 seed and knocked Bellevue from postseason play.
Playing on “Sophomore Night” — the regular season finale and the last game for five sophomores — the Pirates and visiting Bulldogs slugged their way through 12 lead changes and nine ties. Bellevue held a 36-33 advantage at the half, but Bazile, a freshman from Tacoma, sank a shot with 1:26 on the clock to tie the game at 63-63.
On the other end, Smith recorded his game-high fourth blocked shot and Bazile converted two free throws for a 65-63 lead.
On Bellevue’s next possession, Pirate Matt Visser picked off an Andrew Holloway Jr. pass and the Pirates had the ball and the lead. With time winding down, Aaron Clark banked in a 3-pointer from the wing to send the hometown faithful into a frenzy.
Bazile added a free throw for the final score.
Coach Lance Von Vogt, preparing his team for its fourth consecutive appearance at the NWAACC tournament, is now three for three on tournament appearances since coming to Peninsula in 2010-2011.
Peninsula takes on Tacoma (12-4, 19-8) at noon Saturday, March 2, at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.