Gateway: Sports

Peninsula girls basketball isn’t just winning games. The undefeated Seahawks are dominating them

Peninsula’s Belle Frazier drives on the Lakes’ Amber Nealy in the opening round of the Class 3A West Central III/Southwest bidistrict basketball tournament on Feb. 7, 2018.
Peninsula’s Belle Frazier drives on the Lakes’ Amber Nealy in the opening round of the Class 3A West Central III/Southwest bidistrict basketball tournament on Feb. 7, 2018.

The Peninsula High School girls basketball team isn’t just winning games this year. It’s dominating them.

The Seahawks are off to a 7-0 overall start, with a 5-0 mark in the Class 3A South Sound Conference. Peninsula is averaging 71 points per game and is ranked No. 5 in the WIAA’s RPI for Class 3A girls basketball.

“We have a pretty deep team this year,” said Peninsula senior guard Belle Frazier, a Portland State signee who is averaging 15.3 points per game for the Seahawks.

“Most years, teams will run a box-and-one (defense) on me and and will stop us. This year, we have so much more depth in our team. If they stop me, if leaves room for our other players to go score a bunch.”

And score in bunches, they have. Sophomore Linsey Lovrovich is actually leading the team in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game, while sophomore guard Piper Bauer is averaging 15.4 points per game.

“We’re able to outrun teams,” Frazier said. “We condition a lot in practice. We’re in better shape than most teams. The other teams won’t be able to keep up with us.”

Frazier said from watching film, the Seahawks have been able to get the ball from one side of the court to the other, and score, in under 3 seconds, on several occasions.

In years past, the Seahawks have commonly been known as “Belle Frazier’s team.” Stop Frazier, and there’s a pretty good chance opponents would win the game. That’s not the case this year, with Peninsula’s scoring spread so evenly.

“It makes us extremely difficult to stop,” Frazier said. “Even if they stopped our top scorers, we still have a few more players who can step up, also. It’s exciting.”

For Frazier, it has lifted some of the pressure off her shoulders and has allowed her to play within herself, not having to force bad shots simply because the team needs to score.

“My percentages are probably going to be a lot higher this year,” Frazier said. “It’s nice to be able to dish it off and not have to worry about having it scored. I have a lot of trust in my teammates.”

Bauer, in particular, has benefited from Peninsula’s varied offensive attack. The sharpshooting sophomore has poured in 60 total points in the past two games — 33 against Capital on Dec. 14 and 27 against Central Kitsap on Dec. 19. She made 13-of-22 3-point buckets in the two-game span, good for 59 percent from behind the arc.

“She’s really stepping up,” Frazier said. “She’s the hardest working girl on the team. She’ll be there 30 minutes before practice, stay 30 minutes after and then go work out some more. She’s grown a lot in her confidence, too. As a freshman, she’d slow the ball down a lot and dribble. She gets it up faster now and she knows if she can rid of it, it’ll come right back to her.”

Frazier’s ability to get to the basket, along with Lovrovich’s unique athleticism, has freed up some additional looks for Bauer, too.

“That game against Capital, they were running a triangle-and-two (defense) against me and Linsey,” Frazier said. “That just let Piper do whatever she wanted to do. They wouldn’t step upand guard her even though she was just splashing threes.”

Peninsula has plenty of lofty goals this year, including playing deep into the state tournament, but first and foremost, the Seahawks want to win the league. A win against defending league and state champion Gig Harbor on Jan. 9 would go a long way toward that goal.

“We’re super excited,” Frazier said. “In past years, we’ve gotten kind of rattled before that game. But I think we’ll match up pretty well with them this year.”