On to State!
Feb 21, 09


On to State!

Feb 21, 2009
by Charlie Pieterick
Thomas Timm-Skove takes a shot over a Port Townsend defender.
The Vashon High School boys Pirates basketball team took a giant step in their quest for a 1-A state championship on Saturday.  The Pirates beat the highly ranked Redskins from Port Townsend 59-38 in a winner-to-state, sub-district contest at the Orting high school gym.  

Walking into a high school gym in post season is like walking by one of those static generators in a science museum that makes your hair stand on end.  There is something about the atmosphere that is supercharged.  

Despite being well-prepared for the challenge, members of either team would be lying if they said they were unaffected by this.  The Redskins showed up with a vocal collection of red-garbed fans.  The Pirate cheering section, though spirited, was handicapped by the loss of fans to the Mat Classic at the Tacoma Dome that same evening where Pirate wrestlers were also competing.

As a result of the tension, both teams started off tentatively.  Offensively each was trying to figure out how to attack each others’ well-executed zone defenses.  Port Townsend found the answer first by sending in its leading scorer, Parker McClelland (17 ppg), for a pull-up two.  There would be another 2 ½ minutes of empty trips and turnovers by both sides before Pirate Max Burnham would convert 2 for 2 free throws to tie the score at 2-all.  The quarter ended with Vashon up, 6-5.

The Pirates asserted themselves in the second period by ramping-up their defensive intensity.  They forced several Redskin turnovers and opened with a 7-0 run on an 8 foot jumper by Alex Wegner, a step-through inside put up by John Gage, and a 3 pointer by Charlie Hoffman.  Port Townsend’s, Elan Solvik, temporarily stemmed the green tide with a 3 of his own.  But Vashon went back into attack mode, forcing Redskin turnovers, and getting inside points by Gage, Thomas Timm-Skove, and Wegner for a 12-6 run to close the half decidedly in control, 25-14.

Port Townsend must have drunk some red Kool-Aid during the half.  They came out with renewed intensity that caught Vashon standing flat-footed.  Playing with passion, they opened with a 14-5 run and closed within two by the midpoint.  Vashon stiffened up a bit but allowed Solvik free to hit a third 3-pointer as the quarter came to a close, getting within 4 at 35-31.  Pirate coach Andy Sears knew he had to deal with the Redskin’s hot hand.

Sears put Chris Pieterick on Solvik defensively to start the fourth.  Fighting through screens and exchanging shoves underneath, Pieterick hung with the Redskin like glue.  Solvik never had another good look.

Meanwhile, the Pirates unleashed Burnham who hit consecutive three’s before Port Townsend could answer with a McClelland “and-one” drive to the hoop for 3 Redskin points.  McClelland would finish the game with only 11.  The Pirates fired back with a 10-0 volley on the back of strong interior play by Hoffman who finished his scoring with an emphatic “on-to-state” slam.  

Pirate Points:  Gage 17, Timm-Skove 10, Hoffman 9, Wegner 8, Burnham 8, Pieterick 5, Quinn Holert 2, Michael Stoffer 5, Elias Weston, Matt Kerns, Odin Jacobovitch.  The Pirates were 13 of 16 (81%) on freethrows.

The Pirates next game is Friday, February 27th at 5:30 PM.  They will take on the District #1 top seed, King’s High School, at the Tri-District tournament at Mountlake High School.  At stake is the seeding placement into the WIAA State Tournament at the Yakima SunDome from March 4th through 7th.