Pirates Take the First Bite Out of the Season

Dec 3, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
December 3, 2008 - John Gage assures the opening possession to start the season.
The Pirate boys basketball team skated to a 70-54 victory, in their home opener against the Seattle Academy Cardinals on December 3.  The game was characterized by an inexplicably slippery north end of the court, which left both teams’ players struggling at times for traction.  Fortunately, no injuries resulted from the condition.

A sizeable crowd, eagerly anticipating Coach Andy Sears’ unveiling of this year’s team, made its way to the high school for the game.  The VHS pep band, under the direction of first-year band teacher Ken Quehrn, injected fans with aural adrenalin, as they filed into the gym.  By the time junior post player, John Gage, controlled the opening tip to start the game, the atmosphere was at a fever pitch.

Senior point guard Max Burnham scored the first points of the season on the opening possession, a 3 pointer on a kick out pass.  Gage scored the next 8 of 9 Pirate points to stake the Pirates to an early 12-5 lead.  The team showed energy and focus throughout the first half as they relentlessly pressured the Cardinals into poor shot selection and turnovers. They were aided by the student pep club, “Green Machine,” and Pirate cheer squad who kept the crowd involved in urging the players on.  

Coming into the second half with a 37-24 lead, the Pirates maybe tried to push the ball a little too hard.  Junior Thomas Timm-Skove and sophomore Alex Wegner were called for offensive charges on back-to-back possessions.  Meanwhile, Seattle Academy battled back and closed within 6 by the end of the quarter, 49-43.

Wegner opened Vashon’s scoring in the fourth on an assist by Timm-Skove, who showed an uncanny ability to find the open man throughout the game.  Timm-Skove soon benefited from similar largesse, taking a long Gage outlet pass off a Cardinal miss for an uncontested layup.  This put the Pirates up 57-45 from where they never looked back.  A final loud cheer went up for sophomore wide-body Kyle Bakker, playing in his first varsity game.  In a game marked by repeated attempts to mop up the slippery floor, Bakker did a little mopping up of his own.  Clearing an offensive rebound, he put it back for his first varsity points as the final buzzer sounded.  

Coach Sears later commented, “Good game.  Good tough game to start the year.  I thought we played really hard…which is good.  We’re doing some new things, so there’s going to be a steep learning curve.  At times we were really good, but at other times we didn’t adjust too well to what they were doing.”  He added, “I told the boys after the game, ‘Don’t worry about the score.  We’re playing hard and we’re playing good basketball.  I feel pretty good but we need to improve.  Each game’s going to be a little tougher.’”

Sears singled out the play of Gage, a junior who is being recruited by NCAA division I schools, and is clearly the center around which the Pirate game swirls.  “I thought John played really well, really efficient.  I think he only missed a couple.”

Pirate Points:
Gage 27, Burnham 14, Wegner 11, Chris Pieterick 7, Weston 4, Timm-Skove 3, Bakker 2, Charlie Hoffman 2, Quinn Holert, Odin Jacobovitch, Matt Kerns, Michael Stoffer.