League play derails win streak

After winning nine non-conference games, the Pirates fell to league rivals.

  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:15pm
  • Sports
The VHS girls’ basketball team at home last Friday (Chris Koebelin Photo).

The VHS girls’ basketball team at home last Friday (Chris Koebelin Photo).

The VHS girls’ basketball team played two league games last week, traveling first to Seattle Christian on Jan. 8, and then hosting Annie Wright on Jan. 11. The Pirates were confident, having won nine non-conference games, but ultimately fell to their league rivals.

The Seattle Christian game started quickly, with Warriors’ star Serianna Anderson and the Pirates’ Chloe Kuyper exchanging 3-point baskets as both teams moved the ball fluidly on offense.

The Warriors were red hot in the first quarter, hitting five 3-point baskets. Heading into halftime, the Warriors led by 12 with the score at 32-20 —too many points, according to Pirates’ Coach Rob Kearns, to give up in one half for a team that really prides itself on defense.

The second half started out with some promise, as Ella Koebelin hit a corner 3-point shot, and Ava Butler got involved in the scoring. The final quarter saw a furious comeback as the Pirates — after a putback short jumper by Butler — cut the lead to 3 with just under a minute left. But Vashon fell short of a save as the Pirates could not get all the way back, falling to the Warriors 48-44. Kearns took a lot of the responsibility upon himself after the game.

“When it comes right down to it, I didn’t do a very good job of getting us in the right position sooner, and as the head coach that is my job,” he said.

On Friday night, the Pirates hosted their league home opener against one of the top teams in the state, Annie Wright, which includes one of the top players in the state, Juliana Walker.

Just three seconds into the game, the crowd fell silent as Koebelin was fouled by the opposing team and landed hard on her tailbone and head. Vashon’s trainer tended to Koebelin for three minutes while the crowd looked on in concern.

Koebelin managed to get up and walk to her bench on her own, but the Pirates never recovered. From that point on it was an onslaught by Annie Wright, led by freshman Jazmyn Stone, who scored 28 points. Walker continued the barrage in the second half as she scored 31 points — including 7 out of 14 from 3-point range.

The Pirates could not stop Annie Wright’s offense and themselves could not get going, giving up 26 turnovers, which alone led to 36 Annie Wright points. After the game, Kearns lamented the start of the game and losing his freshman point guard so early.

“We lost Koebelin six seconds into the game, which really hurt us against their full-court pressure,” he said. “She is our point guard and primary ball handler and we did not do a very good job of handling their press, and it showed in the box score.”

The Pirates now are on the wrong side of a three-game losing streak and hope to end it with their next home game after press time on Tuesday, Jan. 15 against Cascade Christian.

— Chris Koebelin is the parent of a VHS basketball player.

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