The Peninsula Pirates are ready for the college basketball season and fans of NWAACC basketball for men and women are eager for the season to commence.
When you visit the Pirate gym to see the action, you will see a new three-point line on the court and everyone is wondering whether an extra foot will make a difference to the three-point shooter or the game itself.
In an effort to "open up" the men's version of the game, the NCAA decided to extend the three-point line from 19 feet
9 inches to 20 feet 9 inches. They did, however, leave the 19 foot 9 inch line for women, thus two lines on all the courts that are used by both the men and women.
I don't think the game will be much different for the long-range bombers every team seems to have, but it will make a difference for the marginal long shooter.
Late in the game, when a three is needed to tie or go ahead, look for defenses to force shooters beyond the 20-9 line to make it an even tougher shot.
Look for the guards to drive around their defender in the so-called lane or paint or whatever for a more makable shot or to dish off for an easy hoop.
The NCAA rule moguls looked at a lot of numbers and decided the men's three was becoming too easy. There were 19 per cent of team shots from beyond the line last year, compared with 9 percent when the shot was introduced way back in the 1986-1987 season.
Why they didn't just go to 23-9 line like the pros have is beyond me, but, alas, a lot of things are beyond me.
Coach Peter Stewart takes his charges on the road this weekend to the Red Devil Classic in Longview, then to Highline, Walla Walla, Big Bend, the Yakima Crossover and to the Clackamas Tournament as no teams want to come to Peninsula for noncounting games.
Maybe it's because the Pirates win 94 percent of their games on the friendly home maples. The Pirates opened at home last Friday and beat Big Bend in overtime, 76-72. They trailed most of the game but turned on the defense in the overtime period and outscored BB 11-4. It was their 20th consecutive win at home.
Stewart has a good group of kids. They can jump, they have quickness, some muscle and some playmakers.
You will like guard Jake Pappuleus from Gig Harbor. He played way under the radar while a Gig Harbor Tide, but the 5-11 guard can run, pass, shoot and play defense.
Stewart expects big things from returners Jesse Bean
Outstanding freshmen include Jake Langston (6-2), Colton Worley (6-4 from Chimacum), Jordan Collins (6-6) and Buddy Schumacher (6-5 from Port Angeles).
By time they open conference play at home Jan. 3 against Shoreline, Stewart will have them ready for the tough return to the state tournament in March.
By the way, in the Big Bend game, Peninsula was 5-20 from the new three-point line and the visitors were 7-28.
Coach Julie Stewart returns to head up the program and her girls have a grueling December, going to Mount Hood this weekend, to Pierce College for a tourney, to South Puget Sound, Centralia, Chemeketa and then home for Tacoma Dec. 30.
Stewart has been working out the girls team between 7-9 a.m. (yes, in the morning) for a month now and they seem to thrive on it as they have the rest of the day for school, then studies.
Only two players are from the Olympic Peninsula, sophs Kaylee Baumstark from Port Angeles and Alyssa Greene of Neah Bay. Two from Nevada, Brittany Bridges and Dena Houser, are expected to compete.
Sam Flett from Wellpinit and Britney Yamane are veteran sophs with key sophs Krystal Tolliver, Tina Knight, along with freshman Ayla Brown and Renee Pedroza.
Look for the Pirates to be an in-your-face defensive team with quickness and solid mid-range shooters. They will hustle all over the court.
WSU fans are gloating in the wake of a two-overtime 16-13 Apple Cup win in Pullman last Saturday and now the Huskies are faced with a bye week, then a trip to California and they could be 0-12 for the season and 0-14 in their longest losing streak.
WSU won the game on two big plays, a 57-yard run when trailing 10-0 and then a 48-yard pass in which the Husky cornerback and safety bit on a pump-fake by the Cougar quarterback.
The Huskies missed their third field goal in the second overtime, then the Cougars won in dramatic fashion with a field goal and Pullman erupted in happiness.
So, fans, we Husky rooters are faced again with a year of bragging by Washington State alums and Crimson and Gray will be a hot color this Christmas.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy turkey day, but don't expect the Seahawks to beat Dallas.
Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.