The Pe Ell boys basketball team ended last week with back-to-back losses, by a combined seven points, in games in which they went 3 for 11 from the free-throw line.
Come practice Monday, coach Chris Phelps had had enough, and he threatened his team the best way he knew how: nobody was leaving the gym until everybody had made 50 free throws.
Safe to say, it worked.
The Trojans turned things around at the stripe, held Naselle off down the stretch, and came away with a huge win, 50-47 over the Comets.
“We know that’s a critical element in our game, and they came and shot with confidence,” Phelps said.
Pe Ell finished 17 for 23 from the line, and led by nine with two minutes to go. That became six late, and turned into three in the dying seconds, but the Trojans did enough defensively to halt the Comets just short.
“We committed to the rebounding, we attacked the basket… and that’s the best we've shot at the free-throw line all year long,” Phelps said.
Kail Homan led the Trojans with 17 points and added 10 boards to his line. Logan Baldwin came away with a double-double of his own with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Blake Howard added 11 points for Pe Ell, which went a rough 1 for 18 from three-point range but did just enough offensively for the win.
The result locks Pe Ell into fifth place in the 1B Columbia Valley League heading into next week’s district tournament. First, though, they’ll host Columbia Adventist on Thursday for senior night.