By Doug Langworthy
For The Beachcomber
The Vashon Island High School boys varsity basketball team’s season came to an end Friday night in a regional playoff game against the Trojans of Meridian High School, 50-44. The Pirates (17-7 on the season) lost the game at Mount Vernon High School.
Meridian (19-8) moved on to the state tournament in Yakima and played against Bellevue Christian on March 4, after The Beachcomber’s press time.
The Trojans led the game from wire to wire, jumping out to a 6-0 lead before senior Finbarr Anderson’s layup got the Pirates on the board with six minutes and 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Trojans pushed the lead to 14-7 at the end of the opening period.
The second quarter also saw a strong showing for Meridian, as they were able to score many second chance points with a strong offensive rebounding performance. In total for the game, Meridian out-rebounded Vashon Island 37-23, and had a 17-10 advantage on the offensive glass. The lack of strong defensive rebounding gave Meridian second chance opportunities, of which they took advantage, stretching the lead to 28-15 at the half.
Pirates head coach Andy Sears discussed the Pirates rebounding woes.
“Meridian did a fantastic job on the offensive glass, and we struggled to rebound the ball,” he said. “I thought our defense was strong, but when we are giving them multiple chances it makes it very difficult to come out on top.”
The Pirates made some key halftime adjustments and started the third quarter strong. After the Trojans scored the opening basket of the second half, the Pirates went on a 12-0 run fueled by defense and strong outside shooting. Junior Luca Aprile scored eight of his 10 points in the third quarter, hitting two shots from behind the three-point line. Senior Jeremiah Bogaard, who had trouble shooting from the outside in the first half, also found his stroke, hitting a key three pointer to pull the Pirates within two points. Vashon Island outscored Meridian 17-6 in the third quarter.
“In the first half we lost our identity a bit and played at a pace more suited to their style,” Sears said. “At halftime we just wanted to get back to playing at a pace we were comfortable.”
Bogaard led the team with 18 points to go along with three rebounds, four assists, and a team high six steals. He shot eight for eight at the free throw line. He talked about the Pirates comeback in the third quarter.
“On a positive note, the comeback we made in the second half showed the grit of our team and how we played all season,” he said.
The Pirates went into the fourth quarter down 34-32 and looked to take their first lead of the game, but the Trojans rebounding advantage took away second chance opportunities for the Pirates off their missed shots. With three minutes and one second left in the game, Meridian opened a 43-34 lead, and it looked like they might pull away quickly, but Vashon Island tightened up their defense and hit some key shots down the stretch. They pulled to within four, 45-41, with 28.8 seconds remaining in the game after Anderson collected an offensive rebound and hit the put-back attempt.
From there, Vashon went into intentional fouling mode, trying to force the Trojans to beat them at the free throw line with the clock stopped, and Meridian was able to convert enough free throws to win the game at the end.
Anderson scored 13 points for the Pirates, to go along with eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Leading the scoring for the Trojans was senior Jackson Short with a game high of 20 points and nine rebounds.
The Pirates basketball team will graduate three seniors this year, all starters: Bogaard, Anderson and Isaac Patchen. Coach Sears talked about the trio and the outlook for next year.
“Our seniors have contributed a great deal to the success of our program on and off the floor, and we will miss them very much,” he said. “They [underclassmen] have big shoes to fill. We are optimistic about the future, but it will take a tremendous amount of time this off-season to fill the void.”
Bogaard reflected on his Pirates basketball career.
“Playing high school basketball for Vashon is an experience I will never forget,” he said. “The culture of the team and the commitment everyone has is unmatched in any other high school activity I have been a part of.”