BURIEN – Kennedy Catholic junior guard AJ McGrew scored 21 points and junior forward Parker Diller added 19, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Lancers past Peninsula 71-67 Wednesday night in a physical, tightly contested Class 3A sub-district tournament game.
The Seahawks (15-8 overall) then dropped a 49-42 contest at home on Friday to the Auburn Mountainview Lions, and they entered this week’s West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament as the No. 4 seed.
Peninsula played a loser-out contest against Timberline on Monday at Rogers High School in Puyallup and lost, 63-55.
The top five seeds from the 12-team bi-district tournament will advance to state.
Last Wednesday, Peninsula trailed Kennedy Catholic by 10 at halftime and by 16 at one point in the third quarter, but the Seahawks fought their way back to make it interesting in the fourth.
Peninsula sophomore guard JaQuori McLaughlin scored a game-high 28 points and displayed a dizzying array of athleticism, and sophomore center Jimmy Ritchie used his height to tally 16 points.
There were 27 fouls called in the first half — 14 on Kennedy Catholic, 13 on Peninsula.
“Coming into this game, honestly, I told our guys, ‘They’re not going to call too much. You have to play through it. No arguing, no whining, play through the contact,’ ” Peninsula head coach Jake Jackson said. “I thought tonight, maybe both teams were fouling that much, but I have never seen that many fouls called at the high school or college level.”
The Seahawks, who pride themselves on defense, struggled against a potent Lancers attack that featured several capable scorers.
McGrew scored in a variety of ways, and junior guard Michael Sasonoff added 17 points.
“They got offensive rebounds, a lot of second-chance points,” Jackson said. “They had 3-pointers, moving along the arc. Our help-side defense didn’t have triangle vision of their man, the ball. Their man got free, and they got some shots.”
Kennedy went 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half, and Jackson said the Lancers continued to shoot well after the break.
“That’s what is cool about where we’re at now,” Jackson said. “Every team is great.”
Kennedy Catholic switched to a 2-3 zone early in the second quarter to neutralize McLaughlin’s impact, and Peninsula senior guard Nolan Winter capitalized with 14 points. He took advantage by grabbing the ball in the middle of the zone, and he knocked down several key jumpers.
In the end, it wasn’t enough.
“We’ve got to leave this game, this school and this court with our heads high,” Jackson said. “We battled, we came back and tied the game, only lost by four. We learned a lot from tonight. We play Friday, keep doing what we’re doing. I’m proud of them, they battled.”
In the midst of his first postseason loss at Peninsula, Jackson put things in perspective.
“Last year, we were 4-16,” he said. “This year, 15-5 (regular season), now (15-8). It’ll take time.”Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.