Hoopsters end winning season

After defeating the Bush Blazers on Saturday, the Vashon girls basketball team ended their season when they lost a second-round Tri-District playoff game against the Bellevue Christian Vikings, ranked third in the state, on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

The first quarter was low on scoring, ending with both teams still in single digits and Vikings holding a 9-4 advantage. The Viking press stymied the Pirates early, but a mix of three zone defenses and consistent hustle kept the Pirates in the mix.

The Viking press began to profit from Vashon turnovers in the second quarter, and it was those turnovers that eventually worked to the Pirates’ detriment. While the Vikings were not getting easy transition points, they ran their zone sets effectively, taking a 27-12 halftime lead.

Halftime defensive adjustments allowed the Pirates to hold the Vikings to just three points in the third quarter, but a harried offense continued to struggle as the Pirates managed only six points in the quarter. Vashon cut the lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter, and missed good scoring opportunities on two consecutive possessions to cut the Vikings lead to single digits. This was the closest the Pirates would get as the game ended on a Viking scoring run and a 45-25 loss for Vashon.

Charlotte Kehoe led the Pirates statistically with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 8 blocked shots. Anya Quig (8), Taegan Lynch (4) and Mariya Munsey (2) rounded out the Pirate scoring.

Coach Henry Porter said that early in the fourth quarter the Pirates had a couple of good opportunities to get back into the game.

“We missed a couple of shots and had a couple of turnovers underneath our basket that impacted our ability to get to a two-possession game,” he said.

Two nights later, Vashon traveled to Puyallup to face the Cascade Christian Cougars in a loser-out contest. The Cougars, who lost to King’s on Tuesday, were the home team by virtue of being the higher seed.

The game was dominated by the Cougars, who jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 62-18 win.

Quig led the Pirate scoring with seven points, Jasmine Acosta added six, Kehoe added three and Lynch punched in two in the final game of the year. Turnovers were the key in the last two games, as the Pirates averaged 32.

Porter said that many expected the girls to have a down year this year, as they lost four starters from last year’s state tournament team.

“But these young women worked hard to improve every day,” Porter said. “We would see a new wrinkle and struggle to adjust during the game, but go home and work on it and add it to our core abilities as a team.”

Looking to next year, the Pirates have reason for optimism. They currently have no seniors and will enter next year with a battle-tested squad that finished its season with a winning record (13-10) and played three games deep into the Tri-District tournament. Kehoe and Quig each broke 200 points for the season, with Quig shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. In addition to being the Pirates’ leading scorer (279), Kehoe averaged five blocks and eight rebounds per game.

“I am looking forward to a great turnout this summer, where we will have the opportunity — between summer league and team camp — to really work on fundamentals,” Porter said. “We played great defense all season, and we just need some little tweaks to get right back into the mix at the top of the league.”

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