Gage shoots out Knight light. On to State!

Feb 22, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
February 22, 2008 - Chris Pieterick drives to the basket past Charlie Hoffman's screen. Charlie scored 14 points, his season high, as the Pirates slip by Kings in overtime, 58-56.
Sophomore post player John Gage let rip with a 3 pointer from the top of the key as time expired to cap an exciting come-from-behind Pirate victory over the Kings Knights in the 1A Northwest Bi-District Tournament on Friday.  Pirate fans erupted in surprised jubilation as the ball passed through the net, realizing that the team goal of reaching State was now a reality.  The Pirates had not been expected to win over Kings, the number two rated 1A team in this week’s AP poll.  

Early in the game, it appeared that the predictions of a Kings victory would come true.  The Knights preyed on Vashon in the first quarter, stealing balls and converting them into fastbreak points. They were up 17-6 before Justin Calhoun’s 3, with 3 seconds to go in the quarter, brought some measure of pride back to the Pirates.

Freshman Alex Wegner, starting in only his 3rd game of the season, chipped another piece off the lead in the Pirates first possession of the 2nd quarter.  Driving the lane against his opponent, he banked a leaner off the glass for two.  However, this was followed by a scary Knight 10-0 run which threatened to shove the Pirates back down in the mud of a 16 point deficit. A 3-pointer by Max Burnham at the quarter’s midpoint ignited an 11-4 Pirate run.  This kept the Pirates to a somewhat more manageable 22-31 deficit at the half.  

The two teams traded turnovers starting out the second half.  Calhoun then picked a Knight pocket for 2.  Burnham buried another 3 later in the quarter.  Meanwhile, Kings exploited the fast break off rebounds and steals to keep the Pirates at bay.  When Charlie Hoffman drove and dumped in a little jumper late in the quarter, fans did not notice that his inner Nowitzki was awakening.  They were too busy fretting the 36-44 margin still separating the teams as the 3rd quarter came to a close.

Wegner started out the fourth quarter showing the same aggressiveness with which he started out the second.  He was fouled on his first drive, completing a freethrow, then attacked again for 2.  When Calhoun hit another 3 with 6:43 still on the clock, the Knight lead was slashed to 3 at 45-42.  At about this time, Gage picked up his fourth foul and had to come out of the game.

Meanwhile, the Pirate defense raised the decibel level on their efforts to pressure the ball.  Using a half court trap, they forced some critical Kings turnovers.  

The two teams battled through the next couple of pointless minutes, trading steals and turnovers.  As the clock wound down just below the two minute mark, Hoffman came alive.  Always a defensive presence with his long wingspan, he suddenly went on the offensive, dumping in a little baseline jumper and, soon after, driving baseline to the rack.  Missing the hoop on this contested layup, he grabbed his own rebound and put it back to tie the score at 50 with 1:20 remaining.  Kings called time out to strategize a sure-bet scoring play.  

Coming out of the time out, Kings conservatively moved the ball around the perimeter against ferocious Pirate defensive pressure.  With no clear path to the basket, the clock wound down.  When Kings called time-out the next time, only 11.5 seconds remained.  

Out of the time out, the Pirates stuck like flypaper to their Night counterparts.  Unable to convert their planned inbound play against this pressure, time ran out and the game was sent into overtime.   

Vashon again won the tip.  However, it was Kings who scored first with a deep 3- pointer followed up with a single foul shot to take a 54-50 lead.  When Hoffman once again drove the baseline for 2, and Calhoun hit another 3 at 28.3 seconds remaining, the Pirates were back to within one, 53-54, and Coach Andy Sears called a time-out to strategize.

Out of the timeout, the Pirates began fouling to gain possession.  The first potential Knight bonus points were left on the table.  On the ensuing possession, Burnham drove the lane with the intention of either making a difficult runner or drawing a foul.  Neither happened.  But he did have the presence of mind to immediately foul the rebounder, with only 13.9 seconds remaining on the clock.  

Failing to collect their bonus points a second time running, the Knights once again faced Burnham driving the land in an apparent attempt to score or draw the foul.  With their attention on Max, they didn’t notice Gage drifting to the top of the circle.  A late kickout by Burnham to Gage set up the game winning 3.  The Vashon side of the court erupted in pandemonium.



1st    2nd    3rd    4th    OT
Kings        17    14    13      6    6    FT = 11/21 (52%)
Vashon      9    13    14    14    8    FT = 11/22 (50%)

Kings:  Hardy 9, Hoff, Ayers 9, Fuhlendorf 24, Farid, McCutchen, Brugger, McDonald, Talbot 6, Mar 2, Oneil 2, Clocksin 4.

Vashon:  Pieterick, Weston, Calhoun 11, Kerns 6, Burnham 8, Hoffman 14, Gage 9, Wegner 3, Jacobovitch 2.

The Pirates never led the whole game…. Until the very end, when it counted.

The Pirates meet the Charles Wright Tarriers for the District Tournament championship on Saturday, February 23 at 6:00PM.