Basketball team splits two games against 3A teams at jamboree

Alex Wegner shoots in the short game against Mount Rainier. - Bill Gage photo
Alex Wegner shoots in the short game against Mount Rainier.
— image credit: Bill Gage photo

The Pirate varsity boys basketball team played in the Rainier Beach Jamboree on Saturday, beating one 3A opponent and falling to the other in 10-minute showcase games before beginning their regular season this week.

Before playing the back-to-back short games, senior Matt Kerns and junior Alex Wegner represented the Pirates in the all-team three-point shootout contest. As fans cheered, players put up as many three-pointers as they could in one minute. After hoopsters from Interlake, Life Christian, Evergreen, Renton, Issaquah, Mount Rainier and Rainier Beach sent a continuous fountain of three-point attempts for more than 20 minutes, Pirate Alex Wegner placed third, sinking 16 three-point buckets in one minute.

In the jamboree’s first game, Vashon beat the Mount Rainier Rams 22-15. The first points of the season came in the first minute of the game when Quinn Ho-

lert’s arched three-pointer sailed through the basket.

Joining Holert in the starting five were John Gage, Elias Weston, Alex Wegner and Matt Kerns. Five minutes into the game, when Vashon led 7-4, Coach Andy Sears began substitutions to give newcomers varsity game experience. By the end of the game, Tyler Stoffer, Dan Lofland and Christian Hasson had court time under their belts.

Lofland made his debut by draining a three-pointer seven minutes into the game. The Pirates’ defensive press was effective. Both Weston and Gage intercepted passes intended for the 3A Rams. Wegner smoothly laid up three buckets while Gage aggressively rebounded at both ends of the court. Gage made 100 percent of his four free throws.

In the second game, Vashon lost to the Renton Indians, 15-21. It was clear from the moment Gage tipped the ball to Weston that the 10-minute powwow with the Indians was going to get physical. Vashon got fouled twice before Holert could score the game’s first basket. A steal by Matt Kerns helped Weston add two more points to the Pirates’ score.

Another Renton foul sent Gage to the free throw line. When one of Vashon’s shots dinked the rim, Alex Wegner adeptly tipped it in, leaving the score at Vashon 7, Renton 3. With four and half minutes left to play, Coach Sears started substitutions. This time senior Corey Williamson saw court time along with Hasson, Lofland and Stoffer.

The Pirates and 3A Indians continued to bat each other with fouls. Alex Wegner delivered a highlight play when he exploded a long pass to Holert, who was waiting under the basket. Two more points for Vashon. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Renton led 13-11. The final minutes were a flurry of Vashon substitutions, two-way fouling, Vashon turnovers and hot three-point shooting by Renton. The game ended with Renton beating Vashon 21-15.

After the jamboree, a reporter caught up with the Pirates’ new assistant coach, Willis Barnes, a 2003 Vashon High graduate.

“My primary reason for volunteering to help coach this year’s varsity team was the opportunity to work directly with Coach Andy Sears,” Barnes said. “I really enjoyed playing under him when he coached me on Vashon’s junior varsity and varsity teams. I share his philosophy on the importance of taking one game at a time.”

The Pirate varsity boys play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at Seattle Academy.

— Wendy Gage is a basketball mom and avid supporter of the Vashon Pirates.

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