Strong Vashon team meets its match in Eatonville

Last week the Pirate basketball team showed it is a team of warriors. Both of its games were fought all the way to the end, the first one ending in a heartbreaking loss at Eatonville, 66-65. The Friday night game, however, was an intense thriller, as Charles Wright made the trip across the sound and lost to Vashon, 49-45.

Tuesday’s game in Eatonville could not have started worse for the Pirates. The Eatonville Cruisers came out firing on all cylinders and jumped out to a huge lead early, going up 13-2 halfway through the first quarter.

Overall things weren’t going well for the Pirates; the Cruisers were bigger and stronger, but the it factor simply was that they played as though they wanted it more. On defense, Vashon had trouble defending the lane and kept leaving the baseline open.

Even with the tough Eatonville defense, sophomore Noah Chee went off in the first half, hitting five threes. At the half, the Pirates found themselves down 34-44. These were uncharted waters for the Pirates; normally they are up by 10 at the half.

The second half revealed a completely different Pirates team. They were fired up and were more aggressive. Slowly Vashon overtook Eatonville.

Early in the fourth quarter, sophomore Sam Yates drained a three to tie it up. With 4:30 left, a Yates free throw gave Vashon its first lead of the night.

Down by two, the Cruisers called a timeout with 23 ticks left on the clock. With 11 seconds left, Eatonville hit a game-winning three, handing Vashon its first loss of the season.

Yates led the scoring attack with 19, closely followed by Chee with 17.

Friday night’s home game against Charles Wright promised to be an instant classic: two strong teams with prolific scorers going head to head, adding the next chapter to the Vashon-Charles Wright rivalry.

The Green Tide came out in full strength to support the Pirates.

“We have a great home floor, as tough as any in the state,” said head coach Andy Sears regarding the homecourt advantage.

To start the game, Sam Yates showed what kind of player he is, scoring the first 8 points for Vashon. Charles Wright stuck with Vashon through the first quarter, but at the end of it, the Pirates had the lead, 16-14.

The second quarter was much like the first, tough defense on both ends with neither team being able to break away. Junior Jesse Norton had a dominating block off the backboard on an attempted shot that sent the Tide into a deafening roar. At the half, the Pirates had the advantage, 26-21.

In the second half, scoring was still down for both teams. The two Charles Wright big men were making inside scoring tough while the speed of the Pirates made getting open incredibly difficult for Charles Wright players.

Yates and senior Owen Brenno both grabbed tough boards all night, which was key in the Pirates’ success.

This game was going down to the wire with Vashon up by 2 with 58 seconds left, but Charles Wright was forced to foul, and several Pirate free throws sealed the deal for Vashon.

As the final buzzer rang, the Tide stormed the court shouting and screaming. Yates and Norton led the Pirates in scoring with 12 each.

“I’m really proud how our guys bounced back and pulled out a really tough win,” Sears said. “We didn’t make excuses and competed well.”

— Ezra Lacina is the sports editor of The Riptide at Vashon High School.

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