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Basketball: Vashon girls give their all but falter at state
The Pirate girls’ basketball team won a game, but dropped two, at the state tournament in Yakima last week. Though they did not place, they played hard and had an outstanding season, coaches said.
The Vashon Pirates girls drew eventual state championship finalist Granger as their first round opponent in the state 1A tournament.
The Spartans returned all five starters from a team that finished second in the state in 2009 and entered the game ranked number one statewide.
The Pirates were hoping to avenge a Sundome Shootout loss to the Spartans in December.
The Spartans’ defense initially stymied the Pirates. Down 26-13 at the half, Vashon rallied afterward, matching the Granger scoring efforts but unable to erase the 13-point deficit.
The final horn sounded with the score 32-45 in favor of Granger.
The Pirates were led by Kelly Costello who had 13 points. Chrissy Swope (6), Sophie Nespor (4), Charlotte Kehoe (4), Cat Amick (3) and Kiki Means (2) rounded out the Pirate scoring.
Thursday’s second round consolation bracket game saw the 10th-ranked Pirates taking on the number-eight ranked Toledo Indians.
Jumping out to an early lead, Vashon never trailed. Pirates scoring was led by Costello (15), Means (9) and Kehoe (8) as Vashon eliminated the Indians, 41-34, from the state tournament. Swope (4), Elisa Wendt (3) and Amick (2) rounded out the Vashon scoring.
The Pirates ran a diamond and one defense flawlessly as Means held Indian sharpshooter Tiffany Tor-now — who averaged 23 points per game for Toledo this season — to just eight points.
Means’ defense was inspired during the tournament, having held 2009 tournament MVP Jenae Klarich to a single point on the previous night against Granger.
Kehoe pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds and had five blocked shots.
The third round of the tourney saw the Pirates matched for the fourth time this season with Seattle Christian, which struggled in a first-round loss to Connell.
Vashon’s defense was the key in the early going as the Pirates were ahead 10-4 at the end of the first quarter. A buzzer-beater at the end of the second allowed the Warriors to take a one-point lead into the half, 16-17.
The Pirates appeared to have the Warriors right where they wanted them until an untimely injury to Costello sidelined her for most of the third quarter.
Vashon’s defense held tough, but the Pirates’ offense was impacted by the absence of Costello, who averaged more than 16 points per game for the Pirates over the season.
Limping from a sprained right ankle, Costello returned to the game toward the end of the third quarter banking in a buzzer-beating three-pointer as the Pirates pulled back to within nine points, 21-30.
Costello hit another three early in the fourth to pull the Pirates to within eight, but that was as close as Vashon came.
The game clock expired, and the season ended with the Pirates dropping their third round game, 29-44. Vashon scoring was paced by Costello (8), followed by Wendt (6), Means (6), Kehoe (4), Swope (2), Nespor (2) and Kelsey Abella (1).
Costello, Swope and Means have been an integral part of teams that have gone to the state tournament three consecutive years.
Their teams managed to advance to the third round of the tournament twice with wins over Bellevue Christian in 2008 and Toledo this year.
“Every season eventually comes to a close. Our goal was to close this season out on Saturday, and we came up a game short,” said Porter. “I have to give a lot of credit to this group of seniors. They have had a remarkable four years and have set a new standard for excellence for girl’s basketball on Vashon.”
— Gary Means is the father of Pirate Kiki Means.