Peninsula boys’ basketball playoff opportunity in their own hands
Heading into the second half of league play, the Peninsula boys basketball team controls its own playoff destiny.
The South Sound 3A Conference offers four, possibly five, postseason berths. The Seahawks sit in fifth place with seven games remaining. Gig Harbor (7-1) and Timberline (6-1) are battling for the title. Peninsula (3-4), Capital (5-3) and Central Kitsap (4-3) are positioned to scramble for the other spots.
“It’s all in front of us,” said sixth-year head coach Matt Robles. “We’ve just got to take care of business, give our best effort and see what happens. We’re still definitely in the mix for a playoff spot.”
Robles welcomed back five seniors from last year’s young varsity squad that took its lumps while gaining experience playing up a level in the South Puget Sound 4A League. They include all-league honorable mention selection Marcus Douglas, a 5-foot, 11-inch guard, 6-foot guards Austin Hansen, Ethan Stout and Austin Michalke, and 6-foot-4 forward Caleb Novak.
“Experience is good,” Robles said. “We’re doing our best to learn from last year. Hopefully we can rely on our seniors to lead down the stretch. I like where we are so far and hopefully we can find a way to win some games the next few weeks.”
Douglas and sophomore Isaiah Brown, another 5-foot-11 guard, lead the Seahawks in scoring at about 12-13 points per game. They start alongside Hansen, Novak and 6-foot junior guard Luke Benoit. Gabe Sarno, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, comes off the bench to grab a team-high six rebounds a contest.
“It’s the definition of a good team,” Robles said. “Nobody wants individual credit. They just like to play for each other. That’s why we like this group. It’s a fun group to coach.”
One might expect a squad with only one starter taller than 6 feet to flash around the court. It’s just the opposite with the Seahawks.
“We do our best to take care of the ball,” Robles said. “We don’t play super fast. We like to sit in our zone and have teams take tough shots against our defense. We like to slow it down and control the tempo and pace of the game.”
Peninsula’s patient, defensive style is limiting opponents to an average of 56 points per game, including scores of 35, 34 and 34 points.
“It always matters to defend and take care of the ball,” Robles said. “It’s about toughness and taking care of each other. That’s our identity.”
The Seahawks play at River Ridge tonight and travel across town to Gig Harbor on Friday.
Dec. 3 — at Peninsula 64, South Kitsap 61
Dec. 6 — at Lincoln 35, Peninsula 32
Dec. 8 Peninsula 51, at North Thurston 47
Dec. 10 — Peninsula 47, at River Ridge 34
Dec. 15 — Gig Harbor 60, at Peninsula 14
Dec. 17 — Yelm, ppd.
Dec. 22 — Peninsula 65, at Kingston 48
Dec. 29 — vs. Skyline at Liberty High, ppd.
Jan. 5 — Capital 47, at Peninsula 45
Jan. 7 — at Central Kitsap 84, Peninsula 73
Jan. 12 — Timberline 70, at Peninsula 50
Jan. 14 — Peninsula 40, North Thurston 34
Jan. 19 — at River Ridge, 7 p.m.
Jan. 21 — at Gig Harbor, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 — Yelm, 7:30 p.m. (makeup game)
Jan. 26 — at Yelm, 7 p.m.
Jan. 28 — at Capital, 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 — Central Kitsap, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 3 — at Timberline, 7 p.m.