Pirates beat King’s to move on to state tournament

Matt Kerns attacks the basket in a crowd of King’s Knights. - Bill Gage photo
Matt Kerns attacks the basket in a crowd of King’s Knights.
— image credit: Bill Gage photo

Having won two big games, the Pirate basketball team qualified to compete in the 1A state tournament, with its first game this evening.

The Pirates beat Seattle Academy, 60-36, in their tri-district opener Feb. 24, then beat King’s on Feb. 26, 54-46, earning the right to play top-ranked Chelan at 9 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, in the Yakima Sundome.

Pirates 60, Cardinals 36

After suffering a defeat in the sub-district tournament in Orting, the Pirates returned home to open the tri-district tournament Feb. 24 against Seattle Academy, a team the Pirates had defeated handily in the opening game of the season.

The result of the tournament game was a resounding 60-36 victory.

Vashon started the game slowly, and the Cardinals made it clear that they were prepared to compete.

The Pirates missed six three-point shots before John Gage made the first basket.

Alex Wegner connected on a three, and solid defense resulted in a 10-9 first quarter lead.

Vashon’s tough defense continued in the second quarter, and the offense began to take off.

Wegner hit another three-pointer; Gage made a nice reverse layup; Tyler Stoffer grabbed an offensive rebound and laid the ball back in, as did Wegner.

On defense, Matt Amick made a couple of steals; Christian Hasson tied up a Cardinal resulting in a Vashon possession, and Seattle Academy was held to five second-quarter points as the half ended with the Pirates leading 25-14.

Wegner started the second half with his third three-point basket, and Quinn Holert connected with another. Matt Kerns made two steals for the Pirates, and later Wegner made a layup off a nice assist from Gage.

The highlight came as the buzzer sounded, when Kerns made a long three-point shot, and the crowd erupted.

Early in the final quarter a Kerns steal led to a dunk by Gage.

Wegner later made a nice move by dribbling behind his back and driving in for a nice shot. Hamzah Griffin put back an offensive rebound for a basket. Everyone on the team ended up playing, including Dan Lofland, Jesse Hazard and Corey Williamson.

The game ended in victory with the Green Wave chanting, “Thank you, seniors,” as the clock ticked down on their last appearance on Vashon’s hallowed home court.

Scoring for the game was Wegner 28, Gage 13, Weston 5, Stoffer 4, Holert 3, Kerns 3, Amick 2 and Griffin 2.

Pirates 54, Knights 46

It is said that basketball is a team sport, and the Pirates demonstrated that maxim Friday afternoon at Mountlake Terrace High School in the tri-district tournament.

On a day when its two stars were limited by foul trouble, the rest of the team stepped up and delivered a thrilling 54-46 victory over the King’s Knights.

Leading the effort was Holert, who not only scored a team-high 20 points but keyed a strong defensive effort by the entire team.

Kerns started things off with a three-point shot, but King’s stayed close. Gage picked up his second foul halfway in and had to go to the bench.

Williamson came off the bench and filled in admirably. Despite a Holert steal and a basket off of an offensive rebound by Wegner, King’s held a 13-7 lead at the end of the quarter.

Coach Andy Sears elected to sit Gage out half of the second quarter, and Hamzah Griffin played well in his stead.

If the Knights thought they had the edge with Gage sitting, Holert proved them wrong. After a nice assist to Kerns, he drove and shot the Pirates to the lead, scoring eight points in the quarter.

Kerns hit another three-pointer; Amick scored four points; Stoffer came in off the bench and played well, and Weston keyed the defense with several steals.

At halftime a stunned Knights team saw Vashon leading 28-21 despite only two points from Gage and four points from Wegner.

Scoring slowed in the third quarter with fouls hampering both teams.

Wegner picked up his fourth foul, but several King’s players were also in foul trouble.

A steal by Vashon led to another Holert basket, and Weston scored a bucket after gathering an offensive rebound.

The fourth quarter started with Vashon holding onto a 36-30 lead. Both teams played spirited ball, knowing that a trip to Yakima was on the line.

Holert continued to carry the team offensively, and Wegner added four points before fouling out.

Gage contributed throughout by gathering 11 rebounds for the game and hitting nine of 11 free throws, many of which were late in the game, to hold off a Knights rally.

As a team, Vashon hit 20 of 28 free throws, and celebrated the victory with the Pirate faithful chanting “On to state!”

Scoring for the game was Holert 20, Gage 11, Wegner 8, Kerns 6, Amick 5 and Weston 4.

— Jay Williamson is the father of Pirate Corey Williamson.

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