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Pirates claim second victory at State tournament

Alex Wegner rises to the basket as Vashon beat Lake Roosevelt in the second round of the 1A State Tournament in Yakima. - Bill Gage photo
Alex Wegner rises to the basket as Vashon beat Lake Roosevelt in the second round of the 1A State Tournament in Yakima.
— image credit: Bill Gage photo

The Vashon High School Pirate boys’ basketball team continued to display their dominance in day two of the 1-A State Basketball Championships at the SunDome in Yakima. Taking to fresh water for a change, they set sail on Lake Roosevelt to defeat the Raiders, 73-50, their second win in the state championship games.

The VHS Pirate band joined the teams for the second day of the tournament. They band rocked, adding to the exciting atmosphere that the tournament generates.

In addition to the band, other reinforcements from the Pirate Nation began to appear in the stands. Not just the usual hangers-on such as parents, grandparents and VHS faculty, but supportive Islanders and friends who braved the treacherous pass conditions to make the trek to the eastern part of the state. This support surely helped to counter the noise that any Eastern Washington contingent might generate.

The Pirates got their game into gear early on a fast break off a rebound by Thomas Timm-Skove. Timm-Skove forwarded it upcourt off the dribble to John Gage who, in turn, dished to Alex Wegner underneath for 2. Charlie Hoffman forced an early Raider turnover on the subsequent inbound pass. On a trip down court a bit later, Timm-Skove took a kick-out pass and coolly sunk a 3-pointer to put the Pirates up 7-2.

But Lake Roosevelt did not go away. In fact the Pirates let them back in the game by missing easy baskets and committing several unforced errors. The Raiders briefly took a 10-9 lead when their leading scorer, Edward Wolfe, drained a 3 with 1:36 remaining in the quarter.

Wegner answered with a 3 of his own for the Pirates. On the next Pirate possession, Quinn Holert pushed a rebound up court and delivered a long, low pass to Matt Kerns for a flat-out, rocket-propelled lay-up. By the end of the quarter, the Pirates were back on top, 17-12.

Wegner started off the second quarter with a steal. Missing the resulting lay-up, Max Burnham was there to follow-up for 2 more Pirate points. After Gage dumped in 2 from close range, the two teams traded turnovers. They also continued to trade pushes and shoves in what was a typically-physical, Eastern-Washington-style game.

Lake Roosevelt began going to the freethrow line for bonus shots with 5:57 left in the second quarter but could not convert, going 0 for 4 through the remainder of the quarter. Gage found Holert underneath for an assisted 2 points. But whatever the Pirates did, the Raiders had an answer, such as when Burnham and Wolfe traded 3’s. This kept the margin to a manageable 30-23 by the half.

With only 10 seconds off the second half clock, Burnham drained a 3. This ignited a 21-5 all-Pirate third quarter. Vashon’s suffocating defense appeared to suck the air out of Lake Roosevelt, while its offense went on a scoring flurry that matched the weather gathering over Snoqualmie Pass (and keeping additional fans away).

Gage stepped out to smoothly knock down 2 from the free throw line, then followed up with an inside step through for another pair. Timm-Skove drove the lane and, knocked off balance, managed to loft a runner up and over the defense for another 2. Gage knocked down a pair of jumpers from 8 and 12 feet respectively. Chris Pieterick raced out for 2 on a fast break off a steal by Burnham. Timm-Skove went coast-to-coast for a lay-up off a rebound. Michael Stoffer cleaned up a miss for another 2 points, after Pieterick had stolen another ball but failed to convert.

The resulting Pirate storm whited out any vision of championship that Lake Roosevelt fans might have had when they arrived at the Dome earlier that afternoon. Vashon just looked too dominant.

Coach Andy Sears used his bench early and often throughout this game. And the bench came through.

They contributed defense, point production and fresh legs to the Pirate’s aggressive and high-powered game.

So far in Yakima, this Pirate team continues to live up to the high expectations many (including themselves) have set. The target they have had on their backs seems to be hardening into armor. They appear to be getting only more dangerous as they gain in experience and confidence.

Pirate Points: Gage 15, Wegner 15, Burnham 10, Pieterick 10, Timm-Skove 9, Holert 6, Stoffer 4, Jacobovitch 2, Kerns 2, Bakker, Hoffman, Weston.

Vashon faces Bellevue Christian Friday at 6 PM in the tournament semi-final.

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