Vashon Pirate Boys Basketball 2009 Pre-Season

Nov 23, 2009
by Glenna Mileson
Five Vashon High School varsity basketball players returned from the 1A State Champion 2008-09 team. They are from left to right: Eiias Weston, Alex Wegner, John Gage, Quinn Hollert and Matt Kerns.
The Vashon high school boys started what promises to be another exciting season of basketball last week. They hit the courts ready to work hard to defend their state title.

There are only 13 days from the first day of basketball practice on November 16th until the Rainier Beach Jamboree on Saturday, November 28th. To make the most of the little time he has, Head Coach Andy Sears set up team practices for every day except Sunday, including Thanksgiving Day, and twice a day on Saturday and the day after Thanksgiving.

The Pirates return five players from last year’s State Championship basketball team: Seniors John “Forty” Gage, Elias “Sly” Weston, Quinn “Hooolert” Holert, Matt “Kernal” Kerns and Junior Alex “Water” Wegner. This is the third year on the Varsity team for all of them.

“The returning players are extremely talented,” said Coach Sears, “One of our challenges is going to be to continue to push them while developing the new faces.”

The new additions to the team include Seniors Matt Amick, Christian Hasson, Cory Williamson, Juniors Hamzah Griffin, Tyler Stoffer and Sophomores Jesse Hazzard and Dan Lofland. Juniors Zach Stackhouse and Patrick Byrnes will be team managers.

“I think the guys look really good,” says Assistant Coach Shawn Hoffman, “they worked hard in the off season and it shows.”

Fans coming to watch the home games are sure to admire the large State Championship trophy housed in its own case just outside the gym entrance. Referred to as “the gold ball”, the trophy stays with the team that won it until the next state tournament held each year in Yakima in March.

Earlier this year, the Greater Seattle area edition of ESPN Rise, a sports magazine focused on high school athletes, featured the five returning players in a two page color photo spread and recognized them as a team that will demand attention. Gage was named to the all-area first team and Wegner was included in the top-50.

“It was great that the kids got some recognition, they work so hard and sacrifice so much.” said Sears.

But Coach Sears also sees that the team has a lot of work ahead of them to be ready to face some of the tough opponents this season.

“We’re not where we need to be, yet. Our goal as a team is to get better every time down court and maximize our potential. If we do that everything else will take care of itself.” says Sears.

Hoffman agrees, “It’s a long journey and we’re taking one game at a time.”

The season kicks off with the Rainier Beach Jamboree where they will take on Renton and Mt Rainier in short 10-minute showcase games.

League play starts with a road trip to Chimacum on December 15th followed by a home game on December 18th against league rivals Cascade Christian.

One of the toughest non-league challenges comes on December 12th at the annual Les Schwab Hoop Challenge held at Bellevue Community College. Vashon matches-up with Squalicum, the 2009 2A State Champions who are returning most of their players this season.

Vashon also faces off against Kings, the team’s opponent in last year’s state title game, at the King Holiday Hoopfest at Hec Edmondson on Martin Luther King Day.