Peninsula’s Aiden Olmstead, center, shoots for the hoop surrounded by Shoreline defenders, from left, Abdoulee Cham, Joel Amaro and Jordon Smalls on Wednesday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Aiden Olmstead, center, shoots for the hoop surrounded by Shoreline defenders, from left, Abdoulee Cham, Joel Amaro and Jordon Smalls on Wednesday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Peninsula College slips past Shoreline into first-place tie

PORT ANGELES — At one point late in the game, with the Peninsula College men’s basketball team hanging on for a victory over Shoreline, Pirates’ coach Bryce Jacobson exhorted a crowd that had grown quiet to get on their feet and get loud for their team.

He knew it was a big moment and he wanted the Peninsula players to hear about it.

After a 7-8 start to the season, which included an especially rough 0-3 November, the Pirates won their fifth game out of six to beat Shoreline 75-62, forcing their way into a first-place tie with the Dolphins in the North Region at the midway point of the season. Shoreline came in to Wednesday’s game red-hot with a 5-1 record in the North.

“We held them to 27 in the first half and 62 for the game. It took defense to win,” Jacobson said.

Shoreline came in to Wednesday’s game having scored 80 or more points 10 times, including 95 points this weekend in a win over Everett. The Pirates held the Dolphins to just 39.7 percent shooting (27-for-68).

Meanwhile, Peninsula shot exactly 50 percent, while Ese Onakpoma and Javon Ervin were a perfect 13-for-13 from the free-throw line.

Peninsula led virtually the entire game but could never get any separation from a solid Dolphins squad that kept sneaking back. The Pirates’ defense did effectively prevent the Dolphins from going on any big runs and gaining the lead. Shoreline’s biggest spurt in the second half was a 7-0 run.

“Where we go, we go together as a team. The guys embodied that today,” Jacobson said.

“We knew we would have to play defense,” Onakpoma said. “We knew we can always work the offense.”

The Dolphins’ biggest run came late in the second half as they quickly turned a 65-52 Pirates’ lead into a two-possession advantage at 65-59 with tons of time left at 4:24. Peninsula forced two turnovers and allowed just one basket in that final four minutes, as Wyatt Dunning, Onakpoma and Ervin all hit clutch baskets to open the lead to 71-62 with 1:40 left. Onakpoma and Ervin finished with four straight free throws to close out the game.

Jacobson compared the Pirates to the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that struggled at times early this season, including losing five of eight games, but fought its way to the Super Bowl.

“I’m OK with that. We had to go through the fire,” Jacobson said. “Sometimes if you want to get somewhere, you have to go through the fire first.”

“It feels like we’re playing together as a team,” said Onakpoma. “We had a few bumps in the road.”

Onakpoma led the team with 23 points, while Ervin had 21, including 15 in the second half. Onakpoma also had four assists and shot 7-for-7 on his free throws, while Ervin shot 3-for-5 on his 3-pointers and shot 6-for-6 on his free throws.

Antonio Odum had 10 points and two blocked shots while Dunning scored nine to go with his two blocks. Patrick Odingo had 10 points and four assists.

The Pirates (5-2, 12-9) get a week off to enjoy first place and next play at Whatcom (3-3, 12-8) next Wednesday.

Peninsula 75, Shoreline 62

Shoreline 27 35 — 62

Peninsula 33 42 — 75

Shoreline (62) — Davis 21, Amaro 10, Collins 9, Nordale 8, Smalls 6, Chan 6, Williams 2.

Peninsula (75) — Onakpoma 23, Ervin 21, Odum 10, Odingo 10, Dunning 9, Olmstead 2.

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or sports@peninsulanews.us.

Peninsula’s DeShawn Rushmeyer, front, races to the lane as Shoreline’s Derek Nordale tries to keep up on Wednesday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s DeShawn Rushmeyer, front, races to the lane as Shoreline’s Derek Nordale tries to keep up on Wednesday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Wyat Dunning, left, passes down the baseline as Shoreline’s Isaiah Little and Joel Amaro, right, provide interference on Wednesday at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Wyat Dunning, left, passes down the baseline as Shoreline’s Isaiah Little and Joel Amaro, right, provide interference on Wednesday at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Javon Ervin, center, looks for an out surrounded by Shoreline’s Jordan Smalls, left, and Abdoulee Cham on Wednesday at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Javon Ervin, center, looks for an out surrounded by Shoreline’s Jordan Smalls, left, and Abdoulee Cham on Wednesday at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Ese Onakpoma, right, races with Shoreline’s Jamikal Davis on Wednesday in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Ese Onakpoma, right, races with Shoreline’s Jamikal Davis on Wednesday in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Ese Onakpoma, left, goes up for the drop in as Shoreline’s Coz Collins tries to hold him off during Wednesday’s game in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Peninsula’s Ese Onakpoma, left, goes up for the drop in as Shoreline’s Coz Collins tries to hold him off during Wednesday’s game in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

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