By CHARLIE PIETERICK
For The Beachcomber
The Pirate boys basketball team skated to a 70-54 victory, in their home opener against the Seattle Academy Cardinals last Wednesday.
The game was characterized by an inexplicably slippery north end of the court, which left both teams’ players struggling at times for traction. Fortunately, no injuries resulted from the condition.
A sizeable crowd, eagerly anticipating Coach Andy Sears’ unveiling of this year’s team, made its way to the game. The Vashon High School pep band injected fans with aural adrenalin as they filed into the gym. By the time junior post player John Gage controlled the opening tip to start the game, the atmosphere was at a fever pitch.
Senior point guard Max Burnham scored the first points of the season on the opening possession, a 3-pointer on a kick out pass.
Gage scored the next 8 of 9 Pirate points to stake Vashon to an early 12-5 lead.
The team showed energy and focus throughout the first half as they relentlessly pressured the Cardinals into poor shot selection and turnovers. They were aided by the student pep club, “Green Machine,” and Pirate cheer squad.
Coming into the second half with a 37-24 lead, the Pirates maybe tried to push the ball a little too hard.
Junior Thomas Timm-Skove and sophomore Alex Wegner were called for offensive charges on back-to-back possessions. Meanwhile, Seattle Academy battled back and closed within 6 by the end of the quarter, 49-43.
Wegner opened Vashon’s scoring in the fourth on an assist by Timm-Skove, who showed an uncanny ability to find the open man throughout the game.
Timm-Skove soon benefited from similar largesse, taking a long Gage outlet pass off a Cardinal miss for an uncontested layup, putting the Pirates up 57-45. They never looked back.
A final loud cheer went up for sophomore wide-body Kyle Bakker, in his first varsity game.
In a game marked by repeated attempts to mop up the slippery floor, Bakker did a little mopping up of his own. Clearing an offensive rebound, he put it back for his first varsity points as the final buzzer sounded.
“Good, tough game to start the year,” Sears said. “I thought we played really hard, … which is good. We’re doing some new things, so there’s going to be a steep learning curve. At times we were really good, but at other times we didn’t adjust too well to what they were doing.”
After the game, he told his players, “Don’t worry about the score. We’re playing hard, and we’re playing good basketball.”
Still, he said the team has room to improve.
“Each game’s going to be a little tougher,” he said.
Sears singled out Gage, a junior who is being recruited by NCAA division I schools, who is clearly the center around which the Pirate game swirls.
“I thought John played really well, really efficient,” he said. “I think he only missed a couple.”
— Charlie Pieterick is the father of player Chris Pieterick.
Gage 27, Burnham 14, Wegner 11, Pieterick 7, Weston 4, Timm-Skove 3, Bakker 2, Hoffman 2, Holert, Jacobovitch, Kerns, Stoffer.