Seattle was knocking at the door, ready to bust through and shock the Pirates.
With 11 minutes remaining, the Storm had reeled off an 11-2 run. Retaking the lead, 55-54, on a Jacob Champoux 3-pointer in a game they led for almost the entire first 30 minutes, Seattle was poised to knock off the No. 3 Peninsula College men’s basketball team.
But the Pirates never let Seattle pull away, allowing one pivotal basket to make the difference.
Shaking off first-half shooting woes, Thad Vinson buried a three-point shot, giving the Pirates a lead they never would relinquish.
Peninsula shot 52 percent from the field in the second half, out-rebounded Seattle, 23-16, in the second stanza, and downed the resilient Storm, 82-74, on Feb. 12.
“We came out and we did what we needed to do in order to continue to control our own destiny,” Peninsula coach Lance Von Vogt said.
“I thought we finally kind of broke out of a shooting slump in the final 10 minutes of the game and I hope that’s going to carry over to our next contest at Whatcom.”
The Pirates (10-2 in division, 15-6 overall) outscored Seattle, 28-21, over the final 11 minutes of play, including 18 points from Vinson.
“I just got to hit one,” Vinson said. “Once I hit the first one, then I’m good.”
Vinson drained four three-point shots in a five-minute period.
The Storm (4-8 in division, 5-15 overall) refused to be intimidated by Peninsula, riding 50 percent first-half shooting to a three-point lead, 36-33, at intermission.
“We haven’t had a game where somebody’s been nip-and-tuck all the way through,” Von Vogt said.
With 17:05 to go in the second half, Peninsula took just their fourth lead of the game, 45-44, and their first that lasted longer than Seattle’s next possession, on a Sammeon Waller lay-up.
Over the next minute-and-a-half, the Pirates built an eight-point cushion, 52-44, on five points from Mitrell Clark and a put-back from DeShaun Freeman before the Storm’s last surge.
Peninsula hung on, nonetheless, with help from Vinson, who led the Pirates 26 points.
The 6-foot 3-inch guard from Ocean Shores understood the importance of the victory.
“It was real important,” Vinson said. “We earned first place by beating Skagit the other night and we didn’t want to throw it away.”
Freeman and Waller each earned double-doubles. Freeman collected 12 points and 15 rebounds while Waller netted 14 points and dished out 10 assists.
Peninsula’s next battle is on the road against the Whatcom Orcas (9-3 in division, 17-4 overall) at 7 p.m. today, Feb. 16.
The Pirates upended the Orcas, 83-75, on Jan. 17 when the latter was ranked No. 2 in the NWAACC/Horizon Air Poll, and Von Vogt expects the game to be a hard-fought match-up.