Vashon girls basketball beats Charles Wright, 50-19

The Pirate girls played their final regular season away game on Feb. 9, outpacing the Charles Wright Tarriers 50-19 in the “TarrierDome.”

The Pirates never trailed, holding the Tarriers to just eight points through the first three quarters of play.

Tenacious defense was on display as Charles Wright managed only 10 points from the floor for the game. One key to the defensive effort was takeaways, as the Pirates combined for a season-high 23 steals (led by Sophie Nespor with five). In the half-court, the defensive efforts of Charlotte Kehoe accounted for five of the Pirates' 11 blocks.

The number five appeared persistently in the post-game statistics. Chrissy Swope led the Pirates with five of the team-wide 25 rebounds, while on the offensive end Cat Amick tallied five of Vashon’s 19 assists.

Racing to a 12-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter, the Pirates cruised to a 16-point halftime advantage, leading 20-4, with Vashon’s senior backcourt of Kelly Costello and Kiki Means accounting for all but two of the first half points.

The third quarter saw Vashon explode for 18 points and a 38-8 lead. The 30-point advantage was extended by one as the Pirates’ reserves finished the game with a 50-19 win.

Costello led the Pirates with 20 points, followed by Means, who scored 10. The rest of Vashon’s scoring was distributed relatively evenly with contributions from Kehoe (6), Swope (4), Elisa Wendt (4), Amick (3), Nespor (2) and Jasmine Acosta (1).

The Pirate girls played their final regular season home game (Senior Night) on Tuesday, Feb. 16, versus Life Christian. The results of that game came too late for publication in today’s Beachcomber.

Kelly Costello, Kiki Means and Chrissy Swope have been mainstays of Vashon girl’s basketball for the past four years. Costello and Swope have started every game since they were freshmen. Rejoined this year by Sophie Nespor — who took two years off to participate in crew (but played every year in summer league basketball), these four seniors were honored along with junior exchange student Elisa Wendt prior to Tuesday’s game. Wendt’s steady work ethic has made for a seamless team fit.

Coming up through the Vashon Island Junior Basketball ranks, this senior group began playing together in a fifth-grade competitive league. In eight years of basketball together, they have never had a season where their wins did not outnumber the losses.

Importantly, they always seemed to like the idea of a challenge. Throughout their Amateur Athletic Union leagues and tournaments, the goal was to play against the best competition they could find. Sometimes, the competition was overwhelming. A tournament loss prior to their freshman year to the Auburn Riverside freshman comes immediately to mind — the Ravens are currently ranked number one in the state in class 4A.

At other times love of the game took over. As eighth-graders, they placed second in their season-ending Amateur Athletic Union tournament. Having just lost in a very close final, the tournament organizers asked if the young Pirates were up for a game against the champion of the ninth-grade league. A couple of glances were shared before Costello, Means, Swope, Nespor and two other eighth-grade teammates (Teal Sigler and Georgia Whitaker) took to the hardwood for their third game of the day.

This competitive drive consistently marked these players and followed them into high school, where their teams have qualified for post-season play every year.

As freshmen, in a winner-to-state game, their team fell short to Seattle Christian. But the past two years have seen Vashon’s squads win critical games and advance to the state tournament. In 2008, the Pirates avenged the previous year’s loss to Seattle Christian, winning in overtime. Last year, the Pirates beat back Nooksack Valley in an overtime thriller.

The 2010 version of the Vashon Pirates are still writing their legacy, but it is certain that at tip-off, the intensity, energy and teamwork that are so characteristic of this group of young women will be on display. When these young women huddle at the bench and shout, “team,” they mean it.

— Gary Means is the father of Pirate Kiki Means.


The Pirates travel on Feb. 17 to the Seattle Christian High School gym for a Nisqually League playoff game against Cascade Christian. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. The winner of this game will face the Warriors in Saturday’s (Feb. 20) league championship game to be played in Orting at 7 p.m. The loser of Wednesday’s game will play at Orting at 3 p.m. Feb. 20 for seeding into the Tri-District Tournament against the winner of the Orting-Port Townsend game.

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