Lessons come quickly on the hardwood, particularly for a pair of Port Angeles-based community college teams.
Peninsula College's men and women hoops squads battled some of the top teams in the conference at a pair of tournaments last weekend.
The Pirate men took one of three games and finished sixth out of eight teams at the Red Devil Classic in Longview while the P.C. women got bumped out of the medal round in two games at the Clackamas Thanksgiving Invitational in Oregon City, Ore.
Pirate women fall
Coach Ali Crumb and the women Pirates opened their 2009-2010 season with a 66-49 loss to Southwestern Oregon on Nov. 27. Sophomore Dena Houser led the P.C. attack with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Jimisha Collins added 17 points.
On Nov. 28, Blue Mountain eliminated Peninsula from the tourney with a 70-50 decision. Collins poured in 19 points while fellow frosh Emily Garner contributed 12 rebounds.
The Pirates will see their next action at the Pierce Tournament from Dec. 11-13 in Steilacoom.
Pirate men win one,
It was a mixed bag of results for the Pirate men in Longview as they ran their overall season record to 2-2 after a sixth-place finish at the Red Devil Classic.
"It would be fair to say that we learned an awful lot this weekend," Peninsula coach Peter Stewart said. "I have said all along that this team will be much better in January than we are right now. We learned some painful lessons this weekend. Hopefully the guys have taken the things to heart and we got better."
The Pirates fell to Yakima Valley 76-60 in the tourney opener on Nov. 27. The Pirates were down just 34-32 at the half and were within four points with four minutes remaining before the Yaks put it away.
The Pirates won the battle of the boards 41-34 but gave up 32 free throws to their opponents and turned the ball over a season-high 33 times.
Chimacum grad Colton Worley led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Collins added 11 points.
"Two steps forward last week and one step back today," Stewart said. "We faced a very athletic and physical team and we did not execute our stuff very well at all. This is why we play the pre-season. It really gives us a chance to expose the kids to good competition, a ton of situations, and it allows us to teach."
Facing elimination in the second game a day later, the Pirates did some teaching of their own, downing the Centralia Trailblazers 62-54. Down 9-0 at the start and 32-30 at halftime, the Pirates rebounded quickly in the second half, in part by controlling the boards. Peninsula out-rebounded Centralia 49-36.
"It would be fair to say it was not the start we were looking for," Stewart said. "I was very proud of the group that came off the bench and got us back into the game."
Worley once again led the attack with 15 points and seven rebounds. Tre Musgrow added 12 points, six rebounds and five assists while Ryan Rutherford chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
In the fifth/sixth place game on Nov. 29, Peninsula's men dug themselves a 16-point halftime hole (51-35) before trimming the lead to four with a few minutes left but eventually fell to Spokane 85-76.
The Spokane Sasquatch squad was nearly unstoppable from the three-point arc, hitting 12 of 23 shots.
The Pirates trimmed the 17-point Sasquatch lead to single digits but weren't able to finish the comeback.
"It seems that our chat at halftime cleared the air on how we are going to do things on the floor," Stewart said. "We have an awful lot of learning to do and that was a button that had not been pushed yet."
The Pirates were led in scoring by Jason Gamblin's 29-point, 14-rebound effort. Rutherford added 18 points and seven steals, Manzanza had 11 points and Jordan Collins chipped in with seven points.
The Pirates now have a three-week break between games as they prepare for the NWAACC crossover tournament in Albany, Ore., from Dec. 18-20.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.