The Pirates basketball team, hoping to qualify for state playoffs, played two must-win games last week. They started off well with a dominant win over Chimacum, but then took a road loss to a tough Eatonville team over the weekend.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Chimacum Cowboys traveled to Vashon to face the Pirates. In their first meeting last month, the Pirates won the game handily, and they aimed to do it again.
To start the game off, the Pirates were dominant on defense, only allowing 6 points in the first quarter. Senior Ben Whitaker displayed the Pirates’ defense with great blocks in the paint, while freshman Sam Yates added to the offense with a first quarter trey. At the end of the first period, the Pirates led, 13-6.
The second quarter was dead even, with both teams scoring 12. The Pirates ran their offense with efficiency while Chimacum didn’t seem to have an offensive scheme. At the half, Vashon led, 25-18.
As play resumed, the Pirates came out faster, stronger and better than the Cowboys. As the game came closer to the final buzzer, the Pirates continued to pull away and establish themselves as the better team.
Sophomore Ian Stewart tied his career high of 14 points, and sophomore Jesse Norton led the Pirates in scoring with 26, contributing to a 57-36 win over Chimacum.
On Saturday, the Pirates made the long trip to Eatonville to face a very good Cruisers team in a must-win situation. The game came at a difficult time for some Vashon players, just a few days after the tragic death of classmate Ryan Krug. The contest get even tougher as the Pirates experienced what seemed like fouls that weren’t called and at times heard crude comments from Eatonville fans.
Norton started Vashon scoring with a 3-pointer, but by that time Eatonville had already jumped out to an early lead. At the end of the first quarter, the Pirates were down, 12-8.
In the second quarter, Eatonville began to pull away even more. The Pirates couldn’t get anything going on offense, and Eatonville was extremely physical. The referees rarely called fouls on the Cruisers, not even when Sam Yates was knocked to the ground while attempting a three. At the end of the half, Eatonville led, 31-18.
During the game, several fans in the Eatonville student section yelled gay slurs at some of the Pirate players. Yelling and attempting to rattle the opposing players is common in games, but the Pirate players and fans were disheartened by Eatonville’s slurs, which they felt crossed the line.
Play continued, and it was the same story for the Pirates in the second half, as the Cruisers outplayed the Pirates at both ends of the court.
There was a scary moment in the third quarter when senior Matt Swope was entangled with a Cruiser player attempting to grab a rebound. Both players crashed to the floor and the Eatonville player grasped his knee in agony. After several minutes of medical attention, the player was helped to the Eatonville bench and did not return to play. Down a player, Eatonville still kept up the pressure and won the night.
Yates and Norton led the Pirates in scoring with 8 each. The final score read Eatonville 55, Pirates 34.
— Ezra Lacina is a student at Vashon High School.