By CHARLIE PIETERICK
For The Beachcomber
The Pirate boys’ basketball team demonstrated their size and quickness against two tough non-league opponents last week. Saturday, they brought down the Jackson Timberwolves, 64-55, at the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge at Bellevue Community College.
Last Tuesday, they traveled to Fife to raid the Trojans 66-43. A significant coterie of the Pirate Nation traveled to both games.
The Hoop Challenge is an invitational for some of the best area high school teams. College coaches were seen scouting the local talent.
Vashon was paired against the Jackson Timberwolves, a 4A team from Mill Creek, a favorite to win this year’s Wesco South Division title.
Both teams came ready to play. Vashon’s Thomas Timm-Skove put defensive handcuffs on Jackson’s guard Brett Kingma early to neutralize Jackson’s perimeter game. This left both teams aggressively attacking the basket.
Pirate sophomore Alex Wegner and senior Timm-Skove were particularly effective, swooping in from the wings for scores or locating John Gage underneath for assists. They combined for 27 Pirate points in the game.
While Vashon controlled the first quarter 15-11, the second was a battle. Jackson caught and passed the Pirates, 28-26, as the half came to a close on a Timberwolf downtown 3 and steal for an easy 2.
Throughout the third quarter, Jackson could not separate from the Pirates. Vashon finally caught the Timberwolves when Timm-Skove drove the length of the court for 2 off a steal.
On the ensuing Timberwolf possession, Gage swatted Kingma’s drive to the hoop. With time running down, senior Michael Stoffer saved an errant pass on the Pirate end and flicked it to Wegner who scored a tough “and-one.” The Pirates were up 42-39 by the quarter break.
The Pirates opened the fourth with a brilliant feed from senior point guard Max Burnham to Chris Pieterick for another “and-one” play. This ignited a 12-4 Pirate run on which they sailed to the 64-55 win.
Against Fife on Dec. 9, the Pirates were clearly in control from the beginning. And while the Trojans battled back with courage, they could not match Vashon’s speed, size and skill.
Coach Andy Sears substituted often and freely, showing the versatility and skill of his deep bench. The Pirates forced the exhausted Trojans into 26 turnovers. Quinn Holert played the assassin, sinking two of three 3-point attempts.
Pieterick also popped a three to start a 9-0 first quarter run. He then displayed his defensive prowess on the ensuing inbound by stealing the pass and feeding Burnham for a quick 2.
The 3-0 Pirates opened league play against the Chimacum Cowboys at Vashon High School last night. They travel to Puyallup to take on Cascade Christian on Friday.
The Cougars beat Vashon once last season and looked strong in their 62-50 win against capable Bellevue Christian at Hoop Challenge. The Cougars are the most likely team to challenge the Pirates for this season’s Nisqually League crown.
— Charlie Pieterick is the father of Pirate Chris Pieterick.