Expectations are High

Dec 2, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
John Gage dunks the ball versus Kentwood in the Kentridge Jamboree on November 29.
The Vashon High School Pirate boys, basketball team kicks off their season on December 3 in a home opener against the Seattle Academy Cardinals.  Game time is 7:00 PM at the VHS gym.

Expectations are high for the Pirates.  Many people who closely follow 1A basketball place this year’s team at the tops of their lists of elite 1A teams.  The Pirates bring a head-spinning blend of size, speed, depth, and skill to the hardwood unlike any Pirate team in recent memory. Having lost only one senior from last year’s Nisqually League 1A/2B championship team, this year’s Pirates have the makings to bring the big gold ball home from Yakima next March.  

Coach Andy Sears is visibly excited about the possibilities this year’s team presents to him. “I think it’s safe to say that this is my most talented team ever,” he comments.  Referring to his team’s speed and depth, he promises, “We’re going to exploit this team strength by going more up-tempo with frequent substitutions.”  Expect to see more full court pressure defense and running, transition offense.  

Junior big-man John Gage indicates that early season practices are reflecting coach’s strategy.  “We’ve picked up tempo and intensity from last season,” he observes.   As a group, the boys have high expectations for themselves.  They have been working hard in the off season to improve their game.  The team has had success playing in several high-level tournaments against some of the best high school teams in the state.  They have participated in both spring and fall league play against area teams under the supervision of parent, Jake Jacobovitch.  Several players, including seniors Thomas Timm-Skove, Max Burnham, and Charlie Hoffman, Gage, and sophomore Alex Wegner, have played with independent AAU teams to further hone their skills.  

Seniors Timm-Skove and Chris Pieterick recently discussed the goals they have set for themselves.  “We feel that anything less than a state title will be a disappointment to us,” says Pieterick.  When asked how the team will make that happen, he adds, “We gotta be committed and work hard every day at every practice.”  Timm-Skove observes that this year’s team is benefiting by the experience they gained last year. “We know more of what we’re trying to do.  There’s less learning and more improving.”  

When asked how it might affect his team to have a large target on their backs as THE 1-A team to beat, Coach Andy Sears does not shirk.  “That’s good!” he observes.  “It can be a motivator.  Hopefully, we can be ready for it and respond to it.”  He acknowledges that, despite this wealth of talent and commitment, “there’s a big gap between what we know we are capable of and where we might end up at the end of the year.  Hopefully, with team chemistry, freedom from injuries, and consistent focus on team excellence, we will be able to stand proud at the end.”