Pirates Impose Will on Wilson

Dec 31, 2008
by Charlie Pieterick
Max Burnham charges the paint past Wilson Trojan guards at the Barlow Trails Tournament in Gresham, Oregon.
The VHS boys’ Pirates basketball team finished the Barlow Trail Classic tournament in Gresham, Oregon with a convincing 57-41 win over the Wilson Trojans from Portland last Wednesday.  The Pirates got ahead early and stayed ahead most of the game, which was played in the rough and tumble urban Oregon-style.  The Pirates having closely battled a very physical Roosevelt Roughriders (OR) team the night before, showed they could compete with the best hoops played in our sister state.

Like the previous two games in the tournament, the opponents could not initially solve the Pirates soft-man help defense.  Attempts to attack the basket were repelled by Pirate defenders.  Passes around the perimeter were met with Pirates attacking the ball.  The Trojans started out with several empty trips down the court.   

After testing Wilson’s defense in the early going, senior point guard Max Burnham opened the throttle on his Pirate team to strike first.  He coolly pulled up to put down a 3-pointer, then followed with a defensive rebound for fast break to fellow senior Thomas Timm-Skove for 2.  Wilson gained ground on the Pirates behind two 3’s and managed to take the lead briefly as the quarter drew down.  Vashon sophomore Alex Wegner responded with a 3 of his own to reclaim a Pirate 12-10 edge at the quarter’s end.

Starting out the 2nd period, Timm-Skove stoked a fast break by pushing the ball up the length of the court on the run.  With defenders collapsing on him, he found big man John Gage out front and down low for a score.  Gage continued to work inside and out while Pirate assassins, Chris Pieterick (2) and Max Burnham (1), dumped in more threes.  By the half, Pirates appeared in control with a 31-24 lead.

Timm-Skove scored first in the second half by streaking to the hoop where Burnham found him with a perfectly placed pass.  In the early going of the second half, the Trojans continued to muscle up Vashon and attacked the boards to keep pace.   But as the quarter continued, the Pirates reasserted themselves on the boards and found success going to Gage who consistently hit from both near and middle distances.  Vashon wrapped up third quarter scoring when Wegner hit a 12 foot jumper off an inbound pass and Elias Weston, running the clock down, launched a 3 pointer to beat the buzzer.  The Pirates had opened their lead to 47-34.   

The remainder of the game was Vashon’s to lose.  They ensured they kept control of it by taking care of the ball offensively and harassing their opponents defensively.  The Pirates continued to push the tempo when they could.  On one fast break attempt that flew off the back of the rim, Burnham mopped up with a flying high speed put-back.  On another possession, junior Matt Kerns swooped in from the outside, and as he penetrated the lane on the dribble, found Gage waiting underneath for his final two points of the game.  Wilson was forced to foul as the Pirates began to let the clock wind down.  It was only Pirate misses on the front end of two one-and-one foul opportunities that kept the final 57-41 Pirate margin respectable.  
When asked to reflect on this final win of the tournament, Coach Andy Sears replied, “We got really good contributions from a bunch of different players.  We just valued the ball better.  We didn’t turn it over as much (as the earlier games in the tournament).  They were really good.   I think you’ll find that Wilson is as good a team as we’ll play… at least until we get deep into the season.”

Pirate Points:  Gage 22, Wegner 9, Timm-Skove 8, Burnham 7, Pieterick 6, Weston 3, Hoffman 2, Kyle Bakker, Quinn Holert, Odin Jacobovitch, Kerns, Michael Stoffer.