The playoff schedule was looking set last week, to the exclusion of Vashon, after the Pirates lost to each of the teams in the league consecutively.
The Pirates 2-0 start was a distant memory, and they had lost the opportunity that the benefits of a higher seed bring. Cascade Christian (CC) was expecting to get the league championship since Bellevue Christian had been upset by Charles Wright Academy. Seattle Christian, despite their poor start, had stolen the number three seed from VHS with their come-from-behind victory at the buzzer in the Pirates previous game. Everything seemed settled, but there were more games to play, and the Pirates still wanted to be heard.
The Pirates had some shouting to do.
And shout they did as soon as Mike Piatti got the ball. He knocked down a three to get the scoring started. Cascade Christian’s Dylan Cooley answered with a three. On the next possession, Tommy Delargy drained a three from 20 feet, and Cougar senior Corbin Nohr answered with a three. But this tit for tat did not go on, as Vashon rose to the occasion to score again and again, and the Cougars from Cascade Christian (CC) faltered when it mattered most. The Pirates fought for 32 minutes. They led the whole game, and they knew the Cougars would not go down easily, but at the end, when the buzzer rang out, Vashon had thwarted the Cascade comeback and won 56-54.
At the end of the first quarter, Vashon had capitalized on most of their opportunities, while CC was having trouble shooting. VHS led 19-12.
CC quickly cut the margin with a 15-foot Parker Johnson basket, and the Pirates were called for a five-second violation on an inbound play. At the other end of the court, Ethan Danielsen blocked a Nathan Larsen shot, but was called for the foul. From the charity stripe, Larsen cut the margin to four points. Subsequently, on the offensive end, Danielsen hit a turnaround jumper, and now there was a 21-15 lead. Cooley missed a shot but was generously awarded two free throws. Vashon had a turnover, and the game started to feel like it would slip away if there was a CC run of scoring. But Jacob Chavez knocked down a shot from downtown to stop the bleeding, and return VHS to a seven-point lead. Nohr drove to the hoop and was charged with an offensive foul. A low grumble in the crowd suggested perhaps this may have been the first “player control” foul ever called in that venue against a Cascade Christian player.
On the next possession, Mr. Outside, Jahmiah Hoogen, buried a 22-foot 3-point shot to give the Pirates a 10-point lead.
The Cougars then went on a 12-2 scoring run, and the half ended with the Pirates leading 29-27.
In the beginning of the third period, both teams struggled to get the ball in the hoop. Tensions were running a little high, especially after Noah Wilkens stumbled out of control, and charged into Delargy. Delargy was injured, and, curiously called for a shooting foul. Wilkens made one of two, but Hoogen answered with a three from the corner, and a 4-point lead. Next, Colin Pottinger made a hook shot from 5 feet, while Hoogen and Piatti each made layins off of steals. But the Cougars stayed close, and the third period ended with the Pirates holding onto a tiny 38-35 lead.
The final stanza began with CC scoring on an easy 2-foot bucket by Larsen. Noah Edmonds followed with a layin and the awarded free throw. CC answered with a three, but Edmonds immediately hit a 2-foot shot. Piatti put on a shake-and-bake show, resulting in a fall away hook shot for 2 points, and a 45-40 lead.
Larsen scored on a 5-foot jumper and a free throw to reduce the Pirate margin to 2 points. In the left corner, Mr. Outside appeared again and drained his fourth three of the night to put the score at 50-45. Johnson hit an 8-foot jumper, but Hoogen knocked down his fifth basket from beyond the 3-point line, and a 53-47 lead, with 2:19 remaining in the game. Nohr scored for the Cougars. Now with a 4-point lead, Edmonds ended a perfect night at the free throw line, with his sixth and seventh straight basket.
At the Cascade front court, Cooley drained a 3-point shot. The clock read 1:14, and the score was 55-52. At the Vashon front court, Danielsen made one of two free throws, and it was a 4-point lead. Wilkens answered with a basket to notch the score at 56-54. Cascade Christian had 11 seconds to score and extend the game, but could not manage to find the hoop. The Pirates then did one of the things they love most: Celebrate a victory inside Cascade Christian’s house.
High scorer for the Cougars was Nohr with 13 points. Vashon scoring had Hoogen with 17 points, Edmonds 13, Piatti 11, Delargy 5, Danielsen 5, Chavez 3, and Pottinger 2.
Tuesday after press time the Pirates played at Bellevue Christian in the final league game for the 2018 season.
— Daniel Briggs is the father of a Pirate basketball player.