Pirates Win vs Charles Wright and Steilacoom

Jan 18, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
Thomas Timm-Skove slashes for a layup in the game with Steilacoom.
The Vashon Pirate boys’ basketball team took two big wins from local powerhouse teams last week. On Tuesday they drilled the Charles Wright Academy Tarriers, 58-43, and on Friday, they ambushed the Steilacoom Sentinels, 47-27.  

Charles Wright came into the season, as Nisqually 1A/2B favorites, having picked up last year’s SPSL South (4-A) MVP, Gerald Hill, an NCAA-Division One recruit.  The Tarriers and the Pirates play a similar style of ball.  Aggressive defense with a mix of inside-out offense characterizes both teams.  The younger Pirates were concerned about how they might match up against the proven Tarriers.

While the 13.8 ppg Hill and his12.9 ppg teammate Patrick Philley got their points (combining for 29), they couldn’t keep pace with the one-two offensive punch of Pirates John Gage and Thomas Timm-Skove.  With Timm-Skove sitting down in foul trouble the entire second quarter, Gage exploded on the Tarriers.  He scored 14 of his 19 points during the period, giving the Pirates a 31-23 margin going into the half.

Re-entering the game after the half, Timm-Skove then went to work.  He cannibalized the Tarrier defense, putting in 10 of the Pirates 12 third quarter points, with a mixture of lightning-speed slashes, a sweet pull up jumper, and perfect foul shooting.  Meanwhile, his teammates battled for rebounds and other loose balls to feed the hungry beast in that boy’s body.  By the end of the quarter, the Pirates maintained the edge at 43-34.

It is a tribute to this Pirate team that they never give up, whether behind or ahead.  They drew on that focus and intensity to close out against a strong and athletic Tarrier team.  

Pirate Points:  Gage 19, Thomas Timm-Skove 15, Max Burnham 8, Chris Pieterick 6, Charlie Hoffman 4, Justin Calhoun 3, Matt Kerns 3, Michael Stoffer, Elias Weston, Quinn Holert, Alex Wegner.  FT 18/24 (75%)

On Friday, the Pirates hosted the Steilacoom Sentinels.  The two former league rivals were pulled apart when Vashon moved down from 2A to 1A last season.  Still, it was an emotionally intense game between these teams.

The Pirates and Sentinels traded turnovers on their respective first possessions. Steilacoom initially found success working the inside game, taking an early 6-2 lead on 3 straight buckets down low.  Ahoy Pirates!  Wake up!! And they did!
Pirate John Gage blocked the very next inside attempt (along with two more before the half) and altered another half-dozen Sentinel shots.  Sweeping the boards of the resulting detritus, he kept the ball in Pirate hands as Vashon went on a 12-0 run.  They closed out the first quarter, with a 3-point buzzer beater by Chris Pieterick, holding a 17-6 lead.

The second quarter was a low-scoring affair.  Each team’s defense frustrated their opponents attempts to find traction in the paint.  Vashon’s lanky tall trees, Gage and Charlie Hoffman, were bumped and battered by the shorter, but stouter, Sentinel posts.  But the shot-altering canopy provided by Gage and Hoffman, combined with larcenous patrolling of Steilacoom passing lanes by the entire Pirate team, kept the Sentinels from finding their inner selves, or the basket.  And the Pirates were clearly in control, 23-9, as the half ended.
After trading blows in the third period and still not gaining on the Pirates, Steilacoom tried to switch things up a bit.  They started the fourth quarter in a full court press.  However, when Pirate Max Burnham burned ‘em with a 3 pointer, they soon retreated to more sedentary defensive pursuits.  Steilacoom never mounted a serious challenge after that.  Pirate coach Andy Sears rotated his bench players in to contain the Sentinels and finish out the victory.

Pirate Points:  Gage 11, Timm-Skove 11, Pieterick 9, Burnham 6, Stoffer 2, Weston 5, Wegner 2, Calhoun 1, Hoffman, Kerns.  FT=16/29 (55%)

When asked about the league win against the Tarriers, Coach Sears replied, “This was a BIG win for us.  We didn’t play our best game, but we beat a REALLY good team.  The best part about this is that we can get a whole lot better.”

With respect to both wins he remarked, “We were emotionally charged but played with control.  We were able to play on the edge without falling off.  That is what great teams do!” 

The Pirates are now 5-1 in league play (13-1 overall) and knotted with Cascade Christian and Seattle Christian for the top of the Nisqually League heap.  In talking with the boys as a group, they feel that their destiny is in their own hands, one game at a time.