Pirates End League Schedule With Win and Loss

Feb 8, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
February 5, 2008 - The Pirates only varsity senior, Justin Calhoun, rises to the occasion against Orting on the last home game of the season. Vashon won 56-44, securing their place as Nisqually League Champions.
The Vashon Pirate boys’ basketball team stumbled last week in splitting their final two league games. On Monday, four members left the team after violating the Team Code.  This put the team on an emotional roller coaster which threatens to derail their goal of reaching the state tournament in Yakima later this month.  

It was Senior Night on Tuesday when the Pirates hosted the Orting Cardinals.  They took the occasion to celebrate their lone senior, Justin Calhoun.  Teammate Max Burnham cites Calhoun for assuming a leadership role, particularly with the younger Pirates.  “He is fundamentally solid and a great model both on and off the court,” he adds.  

Against Orting, Vashon quickly sprinted out to a 14-8 lead.  Sophomore post player John Gage absolutely owned the paint.  The Cardinals could not contain him.

Other Pirates joined the feeding frenzy.  Odin Jacobovitch, recently back from prolonged injury, chipped in a nice drop-step 2 pointer after backing down his man inside.  Elias Weston banged in a buzzer beating 3 off a drive-and-kick-out from Burnham.  Max later followed that up by rebounding and putting back his own slick, but errant, baseline lay-in attempt.   Despite this often brilliant offensive play, the Pirates broke down defensively, allowing Orting to close the half on an 8-2 run and come within 2 points, at 26-24.

 The 3rd quarter started out with another Burnham assist, this time to Chris Pieterick underneath.  Burnie then showed his own shooting prowess, when he lofted a floating teardrop for 2, off a fastbreak.   But the Cardinals did not go away and managed to stay within a point by the start of the 4th quarter.  

Apparently upset that they let the Cardinals hang around for 3 quarters, the Pirates kicked it into gear in the 4th.  Gage continued to do the heavy lifting inside while Calhoun delivered two daggers from beyond the arc.  Slashing lay-ups by Burnham and Pieterick finished out the Pirate scoring in a 56-44 win which garnered the Pirates sole possession of this year’s Nisqually League title.  

Pirate Points:  Gage 20, Burnham 15, Calhoun 8, Pieterick 8, Elias Weston 3, Odin Jacobovitch 2, Charlie Hoffman, Matt Kerns, Alex Wegner.  

At Charles Wright Academy on Friday, the Pirates took on a talented Tarrier team that has not yet realized their pre-season potential.  The Tarriers clearly looked to garner some respect by knocking off the newly crowned league champs.  

The first half was an intense and closely fought battle.  Two 3 pointers by mainmast Gage, and offensive putbacks by mizzen mast Charlie Hoffman gave the Pirates a 1-2 offensive punch.  A slashing drive by Burnham and no-look assist by Pieterick to Hoffman for 2 completed the Pirate first half scoring, down 22-23.  

The  Pirates came out of the half stone cold.  Even free throws clanked sideways off the rim.  The Tarriers bullied the Pirates in pursuit of boards and loose balls.  They then took advantage of these extra possessions to go on an opening 13-0 run.  Justin Calhoun scored all of the Pirate’s 3rd quarter points in one stroke, when he nailed a 3 pointer as the quarter expired.  The Pirates had dug a 25-36 hole.  

Vashon continued to desperately grope for the basket in the 4th quarter.  Brilliant defensive steals were negated by sure-bet lay-ins lipping off the rim.  Multiple open-look 3 point attempts wandered astray.  The Pirates did manage to close within 6, however, when Pieterick stole a Tarrier inbound pass and converted it for a quick score with 1:32 remaining.  But those proved to be the final Pirate points in a disappointing 38-47 loss.

Pirate Points:  Gage 16, Pieterick 9, Hoffman 6, Calhoun 3, Burnham 2, Weston 2, Jacobovitch, Kerns, Wegner.  

In assessing the boys’ efforts, Coach Sears points out to the emotions the boys are going through in adjusting to the loss of their former teammates.  “I’m aware that this week’s events have taken a tremendous toll on me. More than I would have thought, even.  So it has to be affecting them.”

Coach Sears sees a learning process happening as the boys explore the shape of their new roles on the team.  As evidence of this, he cites a more aggressive Charlie Hoffman taking the ball to the hole and the poise of freshman, Alex Wegner, who saw additional minutes on Friday.  “Alex did really well.  They pressured him and he didn’t back down.”  

He also praised the defensive efforts made by Burnham and Pieterick in holding Tarrier lead scorers, Patrick Philley and Gerald Hill, to well below their season averages.  

The boys will have a week to regroup before facing Seattle Christian on Saturday, February 16th, to determine seeding into the bi-district tournament the following week.  The game takes place in the Seattle Christian gym at 5:00PM.  

Pirate Points:  Gage 16, Pieterick 9, Hoffman 6, Calhoun 3, Burnham 2, Weston 2, Jacobovitch, Kerns, Wegner.