It was a tough year, but both teams kept the faith and made it to post-season.
The students at Peninsula High School are no strangers to seeing their teams in the playoffs.
The 2019 football team ran over opponents on their way to a quarter-finals appearance. Volleyball dominated on the court en route to their first ever state playoff berth. But for the basketball teams, it has been a dramatic season that ended with both the boys and girls varsity teams earning a chance to represent their school in the 3A basketball regional playoffs.
The girls varsity Seahawks (9-5 in conference, 11-10 overall) have always been a team to watch in the South Sound Conference. Having won their only state title in 1979 when PHS was still a 2A school, the girls are hungry for another banner to hang in the gym.
Last year, senior Belle Frazier (now a Portland State University freshman) led her Seahawks to the Tacoma Dome where state tournaments are held. Peninsula dominated on the court, but learned that no matter how tough you are, someone else might be tougher. The Seahawks fell in the final minutes in the semifinals of the tournament, ruining their chance at another title.
This year, junior Linsey Lovrovich stepped up to the plate to lead the Seahawks to the fourth seed in the SSC. It’s almost impossible to stop Lovrovich once she gets loose — if the ball is in her hands and the hoop in her sight, be prepared to go back on offense. Lovrovich led the team in scoring, putting up 305 points in the regular season, making her the third-best shooter in the conference.
“We are more motivated this year because we know what it feels like to not make the playoffs.”
Not to be overshadowed by her teammate, junior Piper Bauer was automatic from the three, draining 53 three-pointers this season and aiding the offensive brigade with 271 points of her own. Renee Doss had trouble starting in games this season, battling a leg injury early on, but the 5-foot-4-inch powerhouse senior found herself still putting up just south of 200 points herself.
With three players scoring over 100 points, it’s no surprise the Seahawks found themselves in the playoffs once more. The lowest score the Seahawks saw was the loss at home against Gig Harbor, when Peninsula struggled to put up a mere 33 points to Gig Harbor’s 55. That may seem low, but for 3A high school basketball — where most teams may put up 20 points — this just goes to show why Peninsula is a well-respected team.
On the flip side, the PHS boys failed to make the playoffs last year, watching crosstown rival Gig Harbor take the SSC as the first seed instead. Feeling the need for redemption, longtime head coach Matt Robles was eager to get back on the court for the 2020 season with some familiar faces leading the charge for the green and white.
Standing at 6 foot 9 inches, senior forward Kaleb Lichau led his team on the court this season well enough to receive an offer to play at the D-1 Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs next season. Roman Bockhorn also helped lead the team as a senior this year, posting an average of 10 points and six rebounds per game.
The Seahawk boys (6-8, 8-13) fought hard this year and clinched the fourth seed in the SSC before hitting the gas to win their first playoff game 54-52 over Central Kitsap Feb. 13. “We are more motivated this year because we know what it feels like to not make the playoffs,” Lichau said.
While the seniors always play well, the team had a new face to look up to as well. Luke Browne became the first freshman in over three years to start consistently for the Seahawks varsity. Just like Bauer on the girls team, Browne delivers for the boys. He was on fire this season from the three-point line and beyond, adding another weapon to the Swiss Army knife that is the Peninsula Seahawks.
While it may not be the best season on record for Peninsula basketball, it was a season to remember for the class of 2020. First impressions are important, and to first-year varsity players a playoff appearance is a confidence booster that can set the tone for the rest of their careers on the Seahawk team. But as the fourth seed in the playoffs, both the boys and girls teams will have to assume the role of road warriors to stay in the hunt for state.
At the end of the season, no matter how far Peninsula makes it, the leadership shown by the senior class of both teams will be missed by everyone supporting the green and white. It’s about time that Peninsula brings home another state banner, and it seems like both the boys and girls are prepared to take on that task.
Daniel Shurr is a Peninsula High School senior and PHS Outlook sports writer. He lives near Vaughn. Read more of his work at phsoutlook.com.