Gateway: Sports

Peninsula rallies back to force overtime, but falls short against North Thurston, 74-69

Peninsula High School forward Kaleb Lichau hit a 3-pointer near the end of regulation against visiting North Thurston on Friday night to tie the score at 64 apiece and send the game to overtime.

But Peninsula wasn’t able to capitalize on the momentum, as North Thurston came away with a 74-69 overtime win against the Seahawks.

“I just think we didn’t play with energy in overtime,” said Peninsula guard Roman Bockhorn, who scored a team-high 27 points. “We didn’t have that edge we had in the first quarter.”

North Thurston was led by senior Tim Tenkley, who poured in 36 points, including 18 points on free throws. All told, North Thurston went 26-for-30 from the free throw line, good for 86 percent.

Peninsula only shot three free throws in the entire contest, making two of them.

And defensive rebounding cost Peninsula throughout the game, granting North Thurston plenty of second and third chances.

“It hurt us big time,” said Peninsula coach Matt Robles. “We know that’s one of our weaknesses. We know that we need to somehow find a way to squeeze the ball. We didn’t do it tonight. If we don’t do that consistently, we’re not going to give ourselves the best chance to win the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way.”

Robles said it was disappointing the Seahawks weren’t able to come out with the win, especially after storming back in the fourth quarter, after being down 53-44 at the end of the third.

“It’s tough,” Robles said. “It’s tough to lose any game. We fought, we scratched and got back into it. We sent it into OT and then I think we just ran out of steam a little bit. I went with a short bench and that probably did it, so that’s on me. But to get to that point with a young team, not a lot of experience in those situations, I think it says a lot about our guys and about our potential.”

Peninsula drops to 0-2 in the Class 3A South Sound Conference, but there have been bright spots, especially the play of Bockhorn, a junior. He connected on seven 3-pointers on Friday.

“I’m feeling really confident,” Bockhorn said. “I’ve been playing at this level since I was a freshman. I think this year, I just came out with a little more confidence.”

Peninsula had to replace its entire starting five this season, so some growing pains were expected. Robles said the team is staying optimistic, despite a tough week.

“They’re disappointed,” Robles said. “We just lost two tough games that we felt we had a chance to win, but we’re a young a team and we’ve got to keep burning, keep growing, keep believing and keep trusting the process. That’s what we’ve been talking about this whole year, trusting in it. … Credit to our guys, they were leading, they were doing all the talking in the huddle. We’re heading in the right direction.”

Peninsula will head south to Camas to face CLass 4A Union High School on Monday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in what figures to be the most challenging test so far this season, against the undefeated Titans.