The Peninsula Seahawks capped off a successful regular season with a 68-58 win over a pesky Lakes squad on Friday night. The Lancers' zone defense gave the Seahawks fits in the first half and the Seahawks trailed by six heading into the locker room. Peninsula head coach Jake Jackson made some adjustments and said the team wasn't being aggressive in the first half.
“He (Lakes head coach Nick Jensen) went to zone, and we stopped attacking,” Jackson said. “We stopped attacking the dribble gaps and the baseline and the kill boxes. And then from there, they got out and ran and got some shots and got some offensive rebounds. So at halftime, I said, 'Fellas, whether they're in man or zone, it doesn't dictate what we do. We have to stay in attack mode always.'”
The players received the message, loud and clear, and came out the aggressor in the second half. Sophomore JaQuori McLaughlin led the Seahawks (15-5 overall, 7-3 SPSL 3A) with 21 points, attacking the hole and looking to dish when double teamed. McLaughlin's presence created some open looks for teammates. Sophomore forward Austin Kingman took advantage, finishing with 18 points and several blocked shots. Kingman set the tone for the Seahawks in the second half with his physical, relentless play.
“I just hit a few shots,” Kingman said. “I got some block shots and I guess that just started me. Our team overall, we did a great job passing the ball, moving it and getting rebounds, and we came out with the win tonight.”
Kingman, McLaughlin and center Jimmy Ritchie, all sophomores, scored 49 of the team's 68 points. The future looks bright for the Seahawks with their talented, young nucleus in place.
“You look at our roster, we have seven sophomores, so Austin doesn't have a lot of varsity experience,” Jackson said. “He's starting to gain more confidence and feel more comfortable on the court.”
The game is starting to slow down for the sophomore, Jackson said.
“The mindset, Austin really understanding, reading the defense offensively,” Jackson said. “I think in games prior, he hasn't really the defense. Tonight I said, 'Austin, you gotta slow down. 60 percent. Read what the defense is giving you and just let it come towards you.' That's what he did.”
Senior guard Cedric Williams led the Lancers with 25 points, scoring early and often in a variety of ways. Senior guard Aires Spiegner chipped in 14 points for Lakes.
It was also senior night at Peninsula, and the team's two seniors, O'Shea McLaughlin and Nolan Winter were honored. While neither player posts gaudy point totals, they both facilitate nicely and play all out on defense. Most importantly, their leadership has helped the Seahawks put together an impressive season.
“Not only from an energy standpoint, a glue standpoint, a basketball IQ standpoint, but just the overall love and respect from their teammates,” Jackson said. “There's been times where at Gig Harbor we lose by 30, or Puyallup we lose by 13, or this Tuesday we lost at Mountainview, a game we should have won for sure, but what's great about this team is they keep bouncing back. That goes to Nolan and O'Shea. They don't ever hold their heads down. When we face adversity, it's always them that puts us back together. They're monumental.”
Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.