Pirates Roughed-Up in Oregon

Dec 30, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
December 30, 2008 - Chris Pieterick slashes to the basket versus the Roosevelt Roughriders in Gresham, Oregon. The Pirates lost a heart-breaker 53-51.
The Pirates boys’ basketball team ran into a Roosevelt High School (OR) basketball team that lived up to its “Roughrider” name at the Barlow Trail Classic basketball tournament in Gresham, Oregon on Tuesday.  The Roughriders, a 5-A school from Portland, came into the game undefeated and ranked #4 among 5-A teams in a recent Oregonian poll.  Vashon, also undefeated, has been ranked #1 among 1-A schools in Washington.  Using an aggressive physicality and blizzard of long balls (six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and nine overall), The Roughriders sunk the Pirates on a 3-point buzzer beater, 53-51.

From controlling the opening tip to the end of the first quarter, the Pirates showed again why they are a #1-ranked team.  They created a San Juan Hill on which the Roughriders were initially pinned down.  Roosevelt’s team could not penetrate the Vashon’s defense and were repeatedly forced into turnovers and poor shot selection.  

When Chris Pieterick and Elias Weston came off the bench at 4:30, the score was tied at 2-2.  Pieterick immediately broke the game open with two three-pointers in his first 45 seconds.  Big man John Gage followed with an inside “and-one”.  Smooth-as-silk Thomas Timm-Skove then burst through Roosevelt’s defensive press to go coast-to-coast for another two.  By the end of the quarter, the Pirates were up 14-2.  

The Roughriders turned their frustration into a Rooseveltian “bully fight” during the waning minutes of the quarter.  Gage was mugged by double and triple team pressure.  Roughriders bodied him low and hung off his arms high. Other Pirates were also pushed and grabbed.  Not being chastised for this physical style of play, Roosevelt rode roughshod over the Pirates during the remainder of the game.

Coming out of the first break, Gage rolled to the rim for two more points.  The resulting 16-2 margin was the largest for either team in the game.  But the Roughriders’ rode back into the game on the back of their physicality, pushing the Pirates off the ball, and going on a 16-4 run to close within 2 points by the half, 20-18.  Watching them hammer with impunity, an outsider could only conclude that they do things differently in Oregon.
Nonetheless, the Pirates showed their grit in standing up to the Roughrider onslaught.  Pieterick opened the Pirate second half with another score from beyond the arc, then took a charge to force a Roosevelt turnover.  Two defensive stops later, Timm-Skove sliced through three Roosevelt defenders to the rim.  Alex Wegner following Timm-Skove’s example, and rolled to the hoop in his right-to-left signature move for an “and-one” three point play. He followed that up with a 3 pointer from the top of the key to give Vashon a 31-18 lead.  The Roughriders appeared shaken at the brazenness of the Pirates and called time out at 3:58.  

Coming out of the time-out, the Roughriders reasserteded their wild ways.  They bullied the Pirates off the ball defensively and chipped away on offense.  This resulted on a 10-4 run that brought them back to only a 35-28 deficit by the end of the quarter.

The Pirates held off a ferocious Roosevelt attack throughout the fourth quarter, maintaining an 8 point margin to the midpoint.  Timm-Skove swung through the paint and scored with a little 6 foot jump hook.  Gage worked hard on both ends, including going to the floor under the Roughrider basket to tie up the ball.  Pieterick took a shot in the face in yet another bully “no-call”.  Following a time out at 3:27, the Roughriders took their attack to a new level.  Consistently setting mobile screens to free up shooters in the corners, Roosevelt sharpshooters let loose with heavy artillery, eventually sinking 6 3-pointers in the quarter.  And while the Pirates managed to match possessions with 2’s, the high-powered Roughrider assault had gained ground.  With only one and a half minutes remaining, the Roughriders were back within two at 49-47.

When an inbound half-court Roosevelt pass was picked off by a high-flying Pieterick,  Timm-Skove took possession to once again slice through traffic for two.  But another Roosevelt 3 pointer trimmed the Pirates lead to a razor-thin 51-50.  The Pirates deftly moved the ball around and were successful at running time off the clock when an official chose to make what many saw as a questionable Pirate travel call with only 9 seconds remaining.

Inbounding the ball, Roosevelt moved quickly up court against Pirate pressure.  To slow progress, and with one foul to give, Vashon fouled in the backcourt before Roosevelt could get off a shot.  Only 4 seconds remained.  Inbounding again, though this time from half-court, Roosevelt managed to get the ball to their hot hand, Larry Richards, who sunk a buzzer-beating 3 off the dribble to seal a heart-breaking Pirate loss.

Richards deserves credit for sinking 3 of 3 from beyond the arc in the critical fourth quarter in a display of confident efficiency.  The Pirates showed they could not only hang with a highly-rated large school, but beat them on level ground.  Vashon showed grit, tenacity, skill, and sportsmanship that the community should be proud of!