Pirates roundball team squeaks by Foster Bulldogs

Dec 12, 2007
by Charlie Pieterick

The Vashon Pirate boys’ basketball team completed a perfect pre-conference season with a 62-57 win against the Foster Bulldogs in Tukwila on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

After winning the opening tip and putting up four quick points, Vashon looked poised to dominate the game until the Bulldogs unleashed their aggressively physical and athletic full-court press.

Shortening the court, the Bulldogs forced several Pirate turnovers and took the Pirates out of their rhythm. Following a 15-point Foster run, the Pirates found themselves in a deep hole.

Midway through the second quarter, juniors Max Burnham and Thomas Timm-Skove stepped in to steal two successive Bulldog possessions for coast-to-coast lay-ins.

This started a 13-2 Pirate run that was capped by a Justin Calhoun three- pointer to get the Pirates within four at the half, 27-23.

Coming out of the half, the Pirates continued to apply their own defensive pressure.

A pitched battle ensued, with every point contested.

When a critical Pirate turnover at 3:32 in the third quarter led to a 38-30 Pirate deficit, Coach Sears called for a time out.

With renewed resolve, the Pirates soon forced a Foster turnover in which junior Chris Pieterick poked the ball loose to sophomore John Gage who ran the court and finished with a two-handed slam.

This energized the sizable Pirate crowd whose cheering began drowning out the home crowd.

Gage then followed with a steal and lay-up on the next Foster possession. As the Pirates trimmed the deficit to two toward the end of the third quarter, the game had the feeling of a barn-burning district play-off.

Vashon briefly took the lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter on free throws by Timm-Skove and Gage.

The game was a nip-and-tuck contest to the end.

Pieterick forced a key Bulldog turnover late in the quarter when he took a hard charge that left him bruised and shaken.

A buzzer malfunction gave him time to shake it off, and on the next Pirate possession, he sank a three-pointer which gave the Pirates a lead they never relinquished.

Pirate defense and good foul shooting down the stretch sealed the victory.

“This was a great win for us,” said Pirate Coach Andy Sears after the game. “Foster challenged us the whole game and played with an intensity which you just cannot simulate in practice. For our boys to come back against that was a huge step forward in our growth as a team.”

Anticipating a tough Nisqually League schedule, Sears said, “We just want to get better with every practice and every game. From there, we’ll see where the season takes us.”

The Pirates opened their league season against Seattle Christian away last night (too late for today’s deadline), and will play Chimacum Friday night, Dec. 14, at Chimacum.