In the first two possessions against University Prep Saturday night, the Vashon Pirates got passes to players under the basket for easy shots. UPrep had to take an early timeout to reconsider this opponent.
The guards, Tommy Delargy and Jacob Chavez are quick, but such good shooters that they need to be defended closely. The swingman, Jeremiah Bogaard, is tall enough to require a special defender, but so quick and agile that he could go strongly to the hoop. Just as likely, he could spot up for what appears to be a jump shot but instead is a pass inside. The high post, Colin Pottinger, can come out and effectively block shots on defense, or conversely, catch and shoot from virtually anywhere on the court. The low post, Edgar Hernandez-Torres, can reliably catch the ball, draw the defense and pass, or go to the hoop for the high percentage shot. He currently is shooting over 60 percent from the field.
And this is just the starting five.
To the casual observer, the Pirates look like a group of talented players. More than that, this year they have become a team. They play with vision. The player handling the ball notices the player moving to the basket. If he can’t get the ball to him then, he anticipates the move the next time. The Pirates have become greater than the sum of their parts.
And off the court, they are a team as well. On this past weekend Colin Pottinger said goodbye to his father, Kevin, who died on Jan. 2. His team and coaches were there in support.
At the funeral mass, at St. John Vianney, Colin did something that has to be just about the hardest thing a young person could ever do. He gave a eulogy of his father that was heartfelt and brave. Colin described a man that lived for his family, made sacrifices for them, and also made home a fun place to be for everyone — he was so proud of his father. And today, there are many people who are proud of Colin Pottinger.
That night, with the starting time pushed back to accommodate the funeral service, Colin stepped onto the basketball court to play with his team.
Vashon dominated early and led 12-0 before the Pumas finally got on the board with about two minutes left in the first quarter. They clawed back into the game with a spirited zone defense, forcing the Pirates into turnovers, attempting to get the ball inside. But Pottinger and Chavez hit from downtown, and the Pirates maintained a single digit lead through the first half.
A minute into the third period Chavez hit from very deep on the left side to put VHS ahead 26-16. At the other end of the court, Pottinger blocked his second shot of the night. On offense, Pottinger drove an open lane to the hoop for a reverse layup. Kalen Cunningham snared the rebound from a missed Delargy layup after a steal, and preserved the 2-point theft with his own reverse layup. At the end of the third period, the Pumas were still in the game, but Vashon led 35-26.
In the fourth period, it was evident that University Prep had no answer for the height of Hernandez-Torres. He took inlet passes inside, moved down low for the easy 2-foot basket, or passed way out beyond the 3-point arc to Chavez for an open shot. Hernandez-Torres had 9 points on 4-6 shooting inside, while Chavez led the Pirate attack with 15 points, going 5-10 from the 3-point line. Pottinger scored 14 points and Delargy 8. The game ended, 54-41.
Vashon hosted Cascade Christian Tuesday night after press time.
— Daniel Brigss is the father of a former VHS basketball player.