Hoopsters reflect on winning the golden ball

The boys’ Pirate basketball team held its team awards banquet at Camp Burton on March 22. Taking center among the festive decorations was the big gold ball the Pirates brought home from Yakima last month as the 1A state champions.

Following a spaghetti feed and a dessert buffet, the coaches and kids took time to reflect on the past season. Coach Andy Sears opened the occasion by reminding the crowd that, while winning the championship trophy was great, “all these memories and all these things we’ve been through together … are really the most important things that these guys carry as they move forward in life.”

He noted that the team had more than 70 practices during the season. Of those, he would “only take back two or three.” He lauded the “extraordinary commitment” these young men made to bring their best effort to practice after practice and game after game during the season.

A tradition at the basketball awards banquet is for seniors to share their reflections. Seniors Josh Cox, Nathan Osgood, Joe Shigley, Jake Theno, Michael Stoffer, Chris Pieterick, Charlie Hoffman, Thomas Timm-Skove, Odin Jacobovitch and Max Burnham all took their turns at the podium.

Pieterick noted how much his teammates enjoyed each other’s company off the court and how they looked out for each other.

Timm-Skove put it succinctly: “One through 14, we’re like a family.”

Jacobovitch talked about the many years of practices and games that are like “bricks that we laid along a path toward our common goal.” He noted that among those bricks was the hard work put in by teams who came before this year’s team.

Pieterick recalled the boys’ elementary school-era dream of winning a state title.

Hoffman noted that the commitment of the basketball team exceeded that of other sports he had been involved in.

Several players singled out former McMurray Mustang coach Phil Ross who, in the words of Max Burnham, was “the first coach who wasn’t our dad.” It was under Ross that the players learned more than the “run and gun” offense they had grown up with and began understanding the strategy of the game.

Following the seniors’ remarks, parent Jake Jacobovitch carried out his ceremonial duties of clipping a small tuft of hair to place in the little treasure chest with the clippings of past basketball Pirates. The little box symbolizes the continuity of the basketball program and the brotherhood with players that have gone before. It is carried to all away games and serves as a talisman for the team.

Odin Jacobovitch’s ending sentiments, on a slightly nostalgic note, were likely shared by his senior teammates as they look back on their basketball years together.

“I’m (no longer) going to dream about perfect games and championships, I’m just going to remember them,” he said.

— Charlie Pieterick is the father of Pirate Chris Pieterick.

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