Wednesday, Nov. 28, vs. Bremerton High School (at Bremerton)
The VHS girls’ basketball team began its season scratching and clawing for everything it could as players came out nervous, missing every shot and falling into a 26 to 11 hole going to halftime.
Early foul trouble plagued the Pirates in the first quarter as seniors Chloe Kuyper and Liv Larson both picked up two fouls a piece, sending Larson to the bench just two minutes into the game. Coach Rob Kearns put freshman Ella (Kobe) Koebelin into the game and the defensive energy picked up as her aggressive play forced some turnovers, picking up two steals in the first quarter.
Missed free throws and countless missed perimeter shots forced the Pirates to ramp up the defense again in the third quarter. Going to a man-to-man full court press helped them get back into the game and Kuyper began to get into a rhythm knocking down shots — in the second half the Pirates would outscore the Knights 28 to 9.
The final quarter was exciting as the Pirates found themselves down 34 to 26 with just over 4 minutes left to play. Kuyper started the comeback hitting a short jumper in the lane off of a pass from Koebelin. Koebelin then drew an offensive foul on the Knights and on the ensuing possession, hit Kuyper again on the left wing where she attacked, and scored, closing the gap to 34 to 30. Shortly after a defensive stop and run out, junior Ella Wheeler took off and found herself in the open, finishing a layup and cutting the Knights’ lead down to two with less than a minute to go. The Knights then hit a free throw on the other end to open up a three-point lead. Wheeler drew a foul with 20 seconds remaining on the clock and on her second shot miss, Kuyper grabbed the rebound and put it back to bring the score to 35 to 34.
The Knights inbounded the ball, and Koebelin tied up their guard forcing a jump ball and giving possession to the Pirates. Coach Kearns called a timeout and set up a play with less than four seconds left — Kuyper took the inbound, attacked the rim baseline and drew a foul, made the free throw and sent the game into overtime.
The Pirates shut out the Knights 4 to 0 in overtime and won the game.
Kearns was extremely happy to get the win after such a battle.
“Chloe (Kuyper) carried us offensively scoring 20 points, but our team defense really got us this victory,” he said.
Wheeler led all players with 23 rebounds. Points were scored by Kuyper (20), Koebelin, Wheeler, Tamsen Henry and Sienna Stromberg (5), Larson and Ava Butler (4), and Brynn Mueller (2).
Saturday, Dec.1, vs University Prep (at University Prep)
In the first Saturday game of the season, the Pirates played the Pumas of U Prep and started off aggressively with a strong defense. Early in the first quarter, Vashon lost Larson when she was forced to leave the game with an injured ankle after a scary collision with a Prep player. Larson did not return, and Kearns sent Koebelin in with about four minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Pirates were again stingy on defense throughout but according to Kearns, their spacing and movement was not very good as they became stagnant on offense.
Kuyper scored 7 of her 8 total game points in the final five minutes of the back-and-forth game, to best the Pumas with a 35 to 30 victory.
Kearns was pleased with the win, but noted that it came at a cost.
“Losing Liv (Larson) to injury was big,” he said, “as she is one of our best defenders. But Tamsen (Henry) was able to come in and give great minutes off the bench, and led the team defensively and emotionally with her energy.”
Once again, Wheeler led the team with 12 rebounds and great defense throughout.
“We still have a lot to work on, especially on the offensive side,” Kearns added. “And we are going to work on a few things this week that will hopefully help with that.”
Points were scored by Koebelin (10), Kuyper (8), Henry (5), Mueller and Stromberg (4), Wheeler, Larson and Butler (2).
— Chris Koebelin is the parent of a VHS basketball player.