For the Peninsula High School girls basketball team, the game against the visiting Central Kitsap Cougars on Friday night was never in any doubt.
Peninsula led 17-3 at the end of the first quarter, 33-7 at half and ended up winning, 58-21 on the team’s senior night.
“It feels great to get the win,” said Peninsula senior guard Esther Pappuleas.
Peninsula (13-3 overall, 10-1 South Sound Conference 3A) coach Mike Schick played his starters sparingly, and gave plenty of game-time to his four seniors. Even against a lesser Central Kitsap (1-16, 0-11) squad, the Seahawks focused on getting off to a good start.
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“I thought we worked well as a team, had some good ball movement,” said junior guard Renee Doss. “It was a good win. It doesn’t matter how good the team is, you want to get off to a good start. How hard you play in the beginning of the game really sets the tone for the whole game. If you start off badly, you’re going to have to catch up.”
Prior to the game, there was a short ceremony recognizing the 1979 Peninsula High School girls basketball team, which won a state title that season, 40 years ago. The No. 32 jersey of Mary Ann O’Dell (formerly Stoican), still around as a science teacher at Peninsula High, was retired.
“We wanted to recognize them and come out here and play our best for them,” Doss said. “It’s cool they got to see how we play, also.”
The Peninsula girls team made the state tournament for the first time in 29 years last season. The members of the 1979 team who were in attendance were treated to watching the best Peninsula squad in about three decades.
And while Peninsula is 10-1 in league, the Seahawks are still chasing league-leading Gig Harbor, which won the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 9, 52-51.
Peninsula gets its rematch against the Tides on Jan. 31, in a game that will likely decide the league title.
“We’re very eager,” Pappuleas said. “I’m excited to play them.”
Doss said the final week of the regular season figures to be a challenge.
“We’re focused,” she said. “The next few games are going to be tough games. We’ve been practicing really hard.”