MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit Valley College men’s basketball team remained undefeated on the season Saturday night, although Peninsula certainly didn’t make it easy for the Cardinals.
Down by as many as 20 in the first half, the Pirates came back twice to challenge Skagit Valley before a late flurry of key baskets and heady defensive plays boosted the No. 1-ranked Cardinals to the 86-74 win.
Marquan Williams scored a game-high 21 points, Daniel Santana scored 16 and DeMarcus Hall-Scriven had 15 points off the bench in an important performance as the Cardinals improved to 22-0. They’re 7-0 in the Northwest Athletic Conference North Region.
Skagit Valley’s lead was four points with just over three minutes remaining, but the team authored several big plays to pull away: a Santana layup after a long outlet pass; charges taken by Willie Thomas III and Ajani Chappell; a drive and layup by Anthony Iglesia; and several steals to help quiet any further comebacks by the Pirates (4-3, 14-5).
Offensively, Williams was the headliner with an 8-for-13 performance from the field and a 4-for-5 night from the free-throw line. But Cardinals head coach Carl Howell said Santana and Hall-Scriven added a needed dimension, especially the boost Hall-Scriven gave them; he went 4-for-6 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line to tally his 15 points in 14 minutes of play.
“DeMarcus was really key,” Howell said.
Iglesia added nine points and Thomas III added eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Marquis Gurske came off the bench to lead Peninsula with 17 points.
Up next for the Cardinals, another tough opponent. They’ll host the NWAC North’s second-place team, Everett, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.