Friday night saw the Vashon Pirates begin the defense of their Nisqually league title with the first league game of the 2018 season against Charles Wright Academy (CWA).
Despite giving up some height to the Tarriers, VHS controlled the boards, and the defense shut down the CWA offensive sets as they won easily 51-34.
In the first quarter, with the score tied at 3 points each, the Tarriers committed their first of many turnovers during the routine effort to bring the ball to the front court. In this game, the Pirates turned the routine into a frantic struggle for survival and Charles Wright wilted in the effort. VHS converted the turnover to two points and a 5-3 lead. Then, moments later with a 7-5 lead, Jahmiah Hoogen stole a deflected ball, passed to Jacob Chavez, and he buried a long jumper from downtown to begin a long run to a 19-7 first quarter lead.
The Pirates’ defensive intensity was played at a higher level than previously seen by this observer. VHS defenders pressed in the backcourt, and contested shots when CWA shooters got across the half-court line. The Tarriers looked uncomfortable and the discomfort led to many turnovers.
Mike Piatti led scorers in the first half with nine of his 17 points, driving to the bucket, slashing by defenders, faking the finish, reversing and stopping and popping. Those were just a few of his moves, but it got the Pirates in the locker room at the half leading 29-12.
Tommy Delargy opened the second half by burying two straight three-point shots from the deep left corner, Piatti added a basket and a free throw, and Vashon raced to a 46-17 third quarter lead and then coasted the rest of the way.
Players scoring for the Pirates included: Piatti 17, Delargy 10, Jacob Chavez 5, Noah Edmonds 4, Jahmiah 3, Colin Pottinger 3, Finbar Andersen 3, JJ Bogaard 2, Ethan Danielsen 2 and Sam Briggs 2.
Saturday the Pirates played Seattle Academy away in a tense non-league game, and again their defense saved the day winning 46-42.
Tommy Delargy started the scoring with a three from beyond the arc, followed moments later by a Piatti rebound and a pass to Edmonds for a fast break layin. Vashon led 5-0 and finished the quarter with a 9-3 lead. Seattle Academy had talented players, but they could not get the ball to fall into the bucket. This was a scrappy game, every shot was contested, and even though there were defensive lapses, the Pirates are showing that they understand they must always challenge.
The early six-point lead was widened to nine until deep into the third quarter, when the Cardinals rallied to cut the margin 28-25 to end the period.
Seattle Academy hit a three-point shot to start the fourth quarter to tie the game. Both teams traded baskets for most of the early period, but a steal and a layin by the Cardinals with 2:30 left gave them a three-point lead. In the next possession, Edmonds took the ball to the hoop, got the two points and added a free throw to once again tie the game. The Cardinals took the ball down the court and were called for a double-dribble violation. On the other end of the court, Edmonds passed into the lane to Piatti; he spun left, dribbled, and went up to the hoop for two points and the lead. The Cardinals answered for a 38-38 tie with one minute left in the game.
VHS ran the shot clock down to the last second, when Piatti got the ball and buried a three from way downtown. Now with a 41-38 lead, 30seconds left in the game, The Cardinals called a time out.
Seattle Academy lost the ball; Piatti secured it and was fouled. He made both throwa, with 20 seconds remaining, Vashon led 43-38. Next the Cardinals promptly made a three. But now, with the score at 43-41, Seattle Academy had to foul to regain possession. Piatti made two free throws, and Edmonds added another for the final 46-42 win
Scoring for VHS: Edmonds 14, Piatti 13, Hoogen 5, Chavez 3, Pottinger,2,Danielsen 2, and Andersen 2.
Vashon played a league game Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Seattle Christian, after press time.
They play University Prep at home on Friday; varsity starts at 7 p.m.
— Daniel Briggs is the father of a VHS basketball player.