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Vashon Pirates win twice, join elite eight in state tourney
A 57-54 overtime win over Ilwaco High School and a 50-43 win over Hoquiam High School in the first two loser-out rounds of the state 1A basketball tournament gave the Vashon boys team a spot among the elite eight teams headed to the Yakima SunDome this week.
Both games were played at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, one of four venues across the state hosting the first round in the new WIAA state basketball tournament format.
Friday night, Vashon faced the Ilwaco Fisherman, the second-seed team from District 4.
The Pirates pulled out to an early 12-2 lead against Ilwaco, but the Fishermen reeled them back in to a 3-point margin by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Fishermen showed they deserved their reputation as a good outside shooting team by sinking four 3-pointers in their 16 points scored. The Pirates only put in 10 and ended the half trailing 29-26.
Adrian Arceo started off the second half with two from the outside, and the Pirate defense kept up the pressure. By the end of the third, it was a 1-point game with the Pirates still trailing 39-38.
Alex Wegner took over in the fourth, racking up eight of the Pirates’ 11 points, blocking three shots and tearing down six rebounds. With just over a minute left, the Pirates were back in the lead, 49-47. The Fisherman sunk two for the tie, and the Pirates missed a shot with seconds left on the clock, sending the game into overtime.
Ben Whitaker sunk two critical free-throws, and Wegner put in six points to pull out a big win for the Pirates and send the Fishermen home.
Wegner finished with 29 points, 23 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
Arceo, Griffin and Whitaker had seven each, Hazzard put in three, and Bakker and Rauma each had two.
“I’m super proud of how hard we competed,” said coach Andy Sears, “and Alex just had an outstanding game. … We’re getting out to guard people and playing great defense.”
On Saturday, the Pirates faced the Hoquiam Grizzlies, the first seed from District 4.
By three minutes into the game, the Pirates had gained a 9-1 lead. It would be the largest lead of the game. The Grizzlies answered with two 3-pointers and brought the game to within three points by the end of the quarter.
Wegner picked up two fouls on charges and left the game in the middle of the second, with the Pirate lead down to one at 20-19. Rauma drove one in for two, then Arceo picked off a pass to lay it in. The Pirates were back in the lead, 27-22, by the end of the half. The Grizzlies kept it close, but wouldn’t lead for the rest of the game.
The Pirates held on for a 50-43 victory, winning all four quarters. They out-rebounded Hoquiam 36 to 29 and had a 51 percent shooting average to Hoquiam’s 30 percent. Pirate defense kept Jerid Ronquillo, Southwest League’s MVP, to 11 points when he has averaged 21.5 in games this season.
Scoring for the Pirates: Wegner (28), Griffin (9), Rauma (4), Arceo (4), Whitaker (3) and Bakker (2).
“We’re getting contributions from a lot of places,” said Sears. “Tyler pulled down some key rebounds, and Adrian is playing really hard and well.”
The two wins put Vashon in the elite eight along with Cascade Christian, Nooksack Valley, Chelan, Granger, Zillah, Mapton and Onalaska to play at the Yakima SunDome March 3 through 5. It’s a double-elimination format.
“I like our chances,” Sears said.
— Glenna Mileson is the mother of Pirate Alex Wegner.
The Pirates will take on Chelan High School at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the Yakima SunDome. To listen to the game live, visit www.wiaa.com and click on Tournaments, then Brackets.