Vashon Nips Steilacoom Sentinals

Jan 2, 2010
by Charlie Pieterick
Alex Wegner drives through the Steilacoom defense for 2 points.
The VHS Pirate boys’ basketball team came from behind to nip a strong Steilacoom Sentinels team at the wire, 47-44, on Saturday. The non-league contest between former conference rivals, was exciting but not always close. The experienced and aggressive Sentinels came in rated 8th in 2A state. They pushed the Pirates to the wall, building a 12 point lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Pirates battled back and finally caught the Sentinels in the final minute, holding on for the win.

Pirate turnovers were the story in the early going. Picked off passes by the Sentinels, including one for a score with 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter, threatened to sink the Pirate ship before it even left the dock. The Pirates could not find their rhythm, but it was not for lack of trying. When they did try to pick up the tempo, they created even more turnovers by forcing things.

Fans witnessed a classic battle in the paint between last season’s 1A and 2A Nisqually League MVPs. Stanford-bound 6’9” Pirate bigman, John Gage, was up against an athletic Sentinel 6’5” Kelvin Penn. Each player had a huge impact on both ends of the court. Gage came out on top in blocks and points (19 pts. vs. 14 for Penn).

Pirate Alex Wegner had a monster game on defense, rebounding and blocking shots throughout the game. During a short sequence in the final minute, he managed to block two shots and come up with a huge rebound to get the Pirates on top. While Gage and Wegner were occupying Steilacoom’s attention, Pirate Quinn Holert repeatedly slipped between Sentinel defenders to position himself for his 12 points in the game. The crowd’s favorite of the night, however, was a rebound by Matt Amick with 10 seconds to go in the 3rd. Amick dribbled the length of the court and scored on a 12 foot runner just as the buzzer sounded. The crowd erupted and chanted, “Let’s go Pirates!” over and over throughout the break. Just the motivator the Pirates needed to claw their way back into the game!

After the game, Pirate coach, Andy Sears, lauded his boys’ “toughness” in pulling out the win. He also took his hat off to Steilacoom, saying, “Give them a lot of credit, they are a really good team.” In assessing his team at this point of the season, Sears pointed out the need to be more consistent. “We have some really good stretches. We play pretty awesome at times. We got one of those at the end of this game that put us over the top.”

Pirate Points vs. Steilacoom Sentinels:
Gage 19, Wegner 9, Kerns 2, Holert 12, Weston 3, Amick 2, Stoffer, Griffin.