When shards of ice shot up off the road and broke multiple windows on the Peninsula High School girls basketball team’s bus on Saturdaay, senior Belle Frazier knew it just wasn’t the Seahawks’ trip.
Peninsula was coming back home over the mountains, after a game in Richland against Kamiakin. If the cardboard and duct-taped windows weren’t enough, Peninsula’s play on the court in the regional round of the Class 3A state tournament didn’t go as planned, either.
Peninsula gave up 46 points in the first half to the Braves, trailed by 20 points at the half, and wound up losing, 78-63. Kamiakin tallied 17 offensive rebounds in the first half alone.
“We just came out super flat,” Frazier said. “We didn’t rebound. Giving up 17 offensive boards in the first half was ridiculous. That was the biggest difference between winning and losing for us.”
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Rebounding has been an Achilles’ heel for the Seahawks most of the season. But Peninsula turned things around in the second half, actually outscoring Kamiakin 37-32.
“It was definitely a winnable game, had we played like we did in the second half,” Frazier said.
The good news for Peninsula is that the Seahawks were ranked in the top eight in the WIAA’s RPI rankings, coming in at No. 5, meaning Peninsula had already secured a spot in the Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome and Saturday’s game was only a seeding game.
But with the loss, Peninsula doesn’t get a first-round bye in the tournament quarterfinals, and will now face No. 12 Roosevelt at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday in the opening round of the tournament at the Tacoma Dome. (The Gateway went to press before the conclusion of the game).
“We’re ready,” Frazier said. “The long drive kind of threw us off. With the Tacoma Dome in our backyard, we’re ready to bounce back.”
Before reaching the state tournament last season, Peninsula hadn’t qualified for state since the 1988-89 season. But with last year’s team being eliminated in the state regional round and not reaching the Tacoma Dome, this year’s team is in uncharted territory.
“We’re just thrilled,” Frazier said. “Especially for us seniors, it’s been our goal to play in the Tacoma Dome since our freshman year. We’ve been working toward this. We’ve been working so hard to get here.”
While the nerves could set in on the big stage, Frazier and the Seahawks will do their best to keep them at bay.
“We just need to treat it like a normal game,” Frazier said. “Especially being a senior captain, I think a lot of it is on me, to hype everyone up.”
Frazier was in attendance last year when crosstown rival Gig Harbor hoisted the state championship trophy, even after a shaky showing in the district tournament. So Peninsula, which has lost its last two games, knows making a run is possible.
“I think it’s just going to take heart,” Frazier said. “If we want something, we’ll get it. If we can spread that hunger around, we’re just four games away.”