Pirate Win in the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge

Dec 13, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
Thomas Timm-Skove lays in the ball for two of his 11 points.
The VHS Pirate boys’ basketball team demonstrated their size and quickness against a non-league opponent last week.  Saturday, they brought down the Jackson Timberwolves, 64-55, at the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge at Bellevue Community College.  A significant coterie of the Pirate Nation, led by the Green Tide and Pirate Cheer, traveled to the game in support of their team.

The Hoop Challenge is a showcase invitational for some of the best high school teams in the area.  College coaches, including UW Husky coach Lorenzo Romar, could be seen scouting the local talent.  

Vashon was paired against the Jackson Timberwolves, a 4A team from Mill Creek.  The Timberwolves are a favorite to win this year’s Wesco South Division title.  They feature sophomore guard, Brett Kingma, a 24-points-per-game perimeter scoring machine already drawing division one college interest.  Pirate junior, John Gage, also a division one prospect, provided a Pirate counterpoint with his lanky inside presence and ability to go to the rim.

Both teams came ready to play.  Vashon’s Thomas Timm-Skove put defensive handcuffs on Kingma early to neutralize Jackson’s perimeter game.  This left both teams aggressively attacking the basket.  Pirate sophomore Alex Wegner and senior Timm-Skove were particularly effective, swooping in from the wings for scores or locating Gage underneath for assists. They combined for 27 Pirate points in the game.  

While Vashon controlled the first quarter 15-11, the second was a close fought battle.  Jackson caught and passed the Pirates, 28-26, as the half came to a close on a Kingma downtown three and a Timberwolf steal for an easy two.

Throughout the third quarter, Jackson could not separate from the Pirates.  Vashon finally caught the Timberwolves with 1:20 on the clock, when Timm-Skove drove the length of the court for two off a steal.  On the ensuing Timberwolf possession, Gage swatted Kingma’s drive to the hoop.  With time running down, senior Michael Stoffer saved an errant pass on the Pirate end and flicked it to Wegner who scored a tough “and-one”.  The Pirates were up 42-39 by the quarter break.  

The Pirates opened the fourth with a brilliant feed from senior point guard Max Burnham to classmate Chris Pieterick running the baseline for another “and-one” play.  This ignited a 12-4 Pirate run on which they sailed to the 64-55 win.

Gage’s game-high 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks earned him “Player of the Game” honors.

Pirate Points:
Gage 19, Wegner 16, Timm-Skove 11, Pieterick 8, Burnham 6, Hoffman 2, Holert 2, Kerns, Stoffer, Weston.

Following the team’s Saturday performance, Pirate Coach Andy Sears was basking in the afterglow. “They (Pirates) exceeded even my expectations,” he exclaimed.  “We were 15 for 19 from the line and we played better than the last game.”

He singled out Timm-Skove, who drew the defensive assignment against Jackson’s Kingma. Noting that Kingma ended up with only 11 total points, he exclaimed, “Thomas’ defense was fabulous! He held a really good player to 3 of 17 (shooting).”  

When asked for his assessment of his team as they head into league play next week, he comments, “We continue to get a lot of contributions from a lot of different players. It’s hard to guard (us) when (we’ve) got 5 players, who can play, on the floor at any given time.”