By Doug Langworthy
For The Beachcomber
In the last home game of the school year, the Vashon Island High School Pirates boys’ varsity basketball team won their Nisqually League game on Saturday over the visiting Seattle Christian Warriors, 40-35.
The win clinched second place in the Nisqually League for the Pirates (5-2 in Nisqually League play, 14-5 overall) and a first-round bye in the upcoming district tournament, which begins Feb. 18 at South Kitsap High School for VHS.
Leading the way for the Pirates was Jeremiah Bogaard, with 15 points and five rebounds, and Isaac Patchen, with eight points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists.
It was another strong defensive showing for the Pirates, who collected 19 defensive rebounds off the Warriors’ missed shots. Many of those missed shots came from the VHS defense, forcing Seattle Christian into bad shots deep in the shot clock.
In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, junior Luca Aprile took the lead for the Pirates, finishing the game with 10 points, four rebounds, and two steals, with most of those points coming in the final period. He put the Pirates up for good with two mid-range jumpers late in the game, and then put the game away, hitting two clutch free throws with the Pirates up three with under a minute to go.
Coach Andy Sears talked about Aprile’s performance.
“Luca Aprile really stepped up and hit some big shots, had some big rebounds,” Sears said.
Discussing Aprile’s free throws with the game on the line, Sears added, “We talked earlier about finishing games, and that was part of it. Stepping up there (to the free-throw line) with confidence, and doing your routine, and knocking those things down. That was a big step for us.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Pirates girls varsity team lost to the Warriors, 49-17, rounding out the team’s record of 0-9 in the Nisqually League, 2-17 overall.
The Pirates had one player, Tamsen Henry, who got the student section cheering loudly when she hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter and ran back to the defensive side, waving her arms to get the crowd going. But she collected her third foul at the end of the first quarter and her fourth at the beginning of the third. Players are disqualified and must leave the game when they accumulate five personal fouls.
The lone senior on the team, Ella Wheeler, playing in her last game at VHS, stole the ball from a Warrior player and drove the length of the court, beating the buzzer as she made a layup basket — all when the Pirates were down 49-15 with under 10 seconds remaining.