Boy’s Basketball is Stronger than Ever

Daniel Fendel, Reporter

The Peninsula boys varsity basketball team is bigger, stronger, and faster than ever in this 2015-16 season. This year’s team began to grow together in the 2014-15 season. Last year, Coach Jake Jackson and his staff led the Seahawks to the second best season in the school’s 70 years of basketball.

“The team’s mentality is growing; we know we’re going to win every game we go into,” McLaughlin said. Last year, the team was one game away from state regionals.

The team won 18 games last year, so that it was only one win away from matching the school record of 19 wins and was ranked the sixth 3A high school in Washington.

This year, the team has five seniors, four of which are starting: JaQuori McLaughlin, Jimmy Ritchie, Garrett Kingman and Austin Kingman. All five seniors have college offers, with McLaughlin having the biggest offer from Oregon State University.

“Our biggest area of improvement is physical strength, size, speed and stamina. The personnel we have on this year’s roster is long, athletic and strong. This will pay high dividends in the playoffs.” said Coach Jackson.

Members of the team have improved dramatically by working out and practicing more on the court during the off-season. These student athletes have done everything in their power to improve. There is no doubt that this team is capable of breaking the school’s record and getting ranked higher than last year.

“We have five seniors who all were extremely committed to their bodies, weight room and conditioning in the off-season. JaQuori added over 12 pounds of muscle from March to November whereas Austin Kingman added 10 and Garrett Kingman added over 20 pounds of muscle. Josh Keough and Jimmy Ritchie also added more strength to their bodies,” said Coach Jackson.

Along with being active citizens in the Gig harbor community, the team has also been spending a lot of time together outside of the gym.

“They have a very positive and proactive team culture. On and off the court, they’re demonstrating really good citizenship and really being excellent student athletes,” said Athletic Director and Coach, Ross Filkins.

Point guard JaQuori McLaughlin added, “By working out more, putting more time on the court, and building stronger chemistry, we became more of a brotherhood.”

The season just started, but the guys are already off to a strong start with three wins and no losses. Both the coaches and players agree that the the team has improved in many ways since last year.

In the season ahead, the boys’ goal is to win against every competitor they face. They have grown confident in their performance on the court, and have won all of their games so far. With their combined talent and drive, they are anticipating many more wins to come.

“We have finished 2nd in the 3A SPSL the last two seasons and we are not settling for silver this season,” said Coach Jackson. “We expect to finish in first place in league, win the league title and make a hard run into the state tournament.”