Coming off two wins at a Yakima tournament over winter break, the Pirate basketball team returned to league play and split the week, beating the Chimacum Cowboys but losing a close game to the Eatonville Cruisers.
On Wednesday the team travelled to Chimacum to face the Cowboys, and the first five minutes of the game did not at all reflect how the game would turn out. The Cowboys played solid defense and scored consistently on offense, but after a couple minutes the Pirates woke up and senior Ben Whitaker took the lead with a layup. After that, it was all Pirates all the way, and the first quarter ended with the Pirates leading, 19-10.
In the second quarter, the Pirates continued to dominate the Cowboys with contributions all around. Sophomore guard Ian Stewart had a great zero-step layup that electrified the Pirate bench while silencing the already quiet Chimacum crowd. Stewart also nailed a big 3 at the end of the first half to put the Pirates up 37-27.
In the second half, the highlights kept coming and the Pirates’ lead kept increasing. In the fourth quarter, Whitaker stole the ball and on a fast break to the basket dunked it home for 2.
Later in the quarter, freshman Sam Yates hit two 3-pointers within 20 seconds of each other.
In the final minutes of the winning game, sophomore Graham Hazzard got his first minutes of the season, after having missed the first part because of a broken hand.
Whitaker led the Pirates in scoring with 26 points, followed by Jessie Norton with 19. The Pirates cruised to victory, winning 75-53.
“It can be a tough environment and a long trip, so we’re excited to come out with a W,” said coach Andy Sears after the game.
The second game of the week was a Friday home contest against a talented Eatonville team. The first quarter was very even and back and fourth. The teams appeared to be evenly matched in both size and skill. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 11-8, with Eatonville on top.
In the second quarter, the Pirates started to pick up the pace, playing better offense and continuing to play good defense. Whitaker hit a 3 from NBA range to give the Pirates a 2-point lead. At the half, the Pirates were winning, 26-20
As play resumed, the Pirates maintained their lead, but Eatonville slowly started to shrink it. Junior Garrett Starr had a great stand-alone 3, followed by 15-foot jumper by Norton.
With only a couple seconds left in the third quarter, Stewart intercepted an inbound pass and at a sprint chucked the ball toward the basket, rattling in a 3-pointer as the buzzer rang, sending the crowd to its feet and the Pirates to a 5-point lead.
The fourth quarter was dominated by Eatonville. The Cruisers outscored the Pirates 19-6 in the quarter.
“We lacked the consistent effort needed to beat a team of their caliber,” Sears said.
The Pirates lost the game, 53-45. Despite the loss, both Whitaker and Norton had impressive games, both reaching double digits in scoring. The loss sent the Pirates to fourth place in league ranking.
— Ezra Lacina is a student at Vashon High School.