PASCO — The Peninsula College women’s basketball team nearly blew a huge lead but hung on for its first win of the year over Walla Walla, while the men were victimized by a pair of red-hot outside shooters in a pair of losses over the NWAC’s opening weekend.
The women beat Walla Walla 57-56 on Saturday, getting a free throw from Shania Moananu with 4.4 seconds left in the game for the winning margin. A potential game-winning shot from the key by Walla Walla at the final buzzer rattled out. The women also lost 74-56 to Columbia Basin on Friday.
Meanwhile, the men lost to Tacoma 86-71 on Saturday and lost 95-73 to Green River on Friday.
The Pirates’ women got up by as much as 49-32 toward the end of the third quarter against Walla Walla but struggled in the fourth quarter, getting outscored 24-8 over the final 10-plus minutes.
The Warriors went on a 19-2 run to tie the game at 51-51 with 1:12 left in the game. The Pirates’ Jenilee Donovan hit a clutch 3-pointer to give Peninsula a 54-51 lead, but on the next possession, Walla Walla was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws to tie it at 54-54.
Moananu was fouled with 39 seconds left and made both of her free throws and Walla Walla responded with a clutch bucket with 19.5 seconds. Moananu and a Warriors’ defender collided in the restricted area under the basket and a block was called, giving Moananu free throws. She converted one of them to give the Pirates the win.
Moananu led the team with 19 points, while Donovan had 11 points, six rebounds and six assists. Alexa Mackey had 11 points and nine rebounds.
In the men’s game at Tacoma, the Pirates held a 36-30 lead at the half and built that lead up to 64-54 with 11:15 left in the game, but the Trojans, who hit eight 3-pointers in the second half, scored 32 points over the rest of the game to pull away. Tacoma’s Nick Ferencko hit five 3-pointers in the second half and seven overall, scoring 28 points to help lead the Trojans to the comeback victory.
Peninsula was led by Javon Ervin, who scored 21 points and had seven rebounds. Port Angeles High School graduate Wyatt Dunning had a good game, shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and scoring 15 points.
Both the Peninsula men and women fell into big holes early and rallied in the second half, but it was too big of a hill to climb in a pair of season-opening losses Friday.
The Peninsula men lost to Green River 95-73 in their season-opening game at Tacoma Community College, while the women lost to Columbia Basin 74-56 in Pasco.
The men fell behind 37-15 early, rallied to make it 44-30 at the half and twice cut the Gators’ lead to 10 points in the second half, making the score 53-43 with 15:25 left in the game on a three-point play by Ese Onakpoma, who led the team with 25 points.
But, Green River responded with a 9-0 run to put the game out of reach as the Gators maintained a 20-point lead for most of the rest of the game.
Green River’s Tyler Burraston was on fire all game, hitting 10 3-pointers and scoring 37 points to lead all scorers.
Javon Ervin finished with 18 points eight rebounds and six assists while Beni Njomo had 12 points for the Pirates.
The Peninsula women got down big at 30-9 early in the second quarter. They actually outscored Columbia Basin 30-27 in the second half, but were never able to get closer than 16 points.
Moananu led the team with 17 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 on her free throws. Mackey had nine points off the bench and Lainey Suaava had eight points and six rebounds in just 12 minutes.
The Peninsula men (0-2) next play Friday in the Turkey Tournament at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon against Big Bend (0-1). The women (1-1) are off until Dec. 1, when they host Treasure Valley (1-0) in the Pirate Classic at 4 p.m.
Peninsula 57, Walla Walla 56
WW 14 13 7 22 — 56
PC 12 19 18 8 — 57
Walla Walla (56) — Pentzer 13, Gibb 12, Magnuson 8, Arnold 8, Lovett 5, Cortes 4, Varela 4, Leber 2.
Peninsula (57) — Moananu 19, Donovan 11, Mackey 11, Julmist 4, Pedebone 3, Marini 2, Tugade-Agasiva 2.
Columbia Basin 74, Peninsula 56
PC 9 17 18 12 — 56
CBC 24 23 15 12 — 74
Peninsula (56) — Moananu 17, Mackey 9, Suaava 8, Donovan 6, Marini 5, Tugade-Agasiva 4, Greene 3, Julmist 3, Bates 1.
Columbia Basin (74) — Nichols 18, Morgan 17, Heavens 17, Heath 9, Munson 5, Robertson 4, Pedersen 2, Voile 2.
Tacoma 86, Peninsula 71
PC 36 35 — 71
TCC 30 56 — 86
Peninsula (71) — Ervin 21, Dunning 15, Njomo 11, Onakpoma 10, Odum 8, Doughty 5, Meza 1.
Tacoma (86) — Ferencko 28, Harvey 21, Haynes 10, Kibira 9, Bjornshard 5, Sessome 5, Eyman 4, cole 4.
Green River 95, Peninsula 73
PC 30 43 — 73
GR 44 51 — 95
Peninsula (73) — Onakpoma 25, Ervin 18, Njomo 12, Odum 7, Doughty 5, Dunning 2, Odingo 2, Meza 2.
Green River (95) — Burraston 37, Feroah 14, Modland 14, Whitman 13, Fernandez 5, Maske 5, Wright 4, Albers 3.