Pirates Boys Sweep Victoria Basketball Tournament

Dec 22, 2007
by Charlie Pieterick
John Gage throws in 2 points for the Pirates.
Victoria, B. C. December 19, 20, and 21

The Vashon Pirates boys’ basketball team had tongues wagging in Victoria, B. C. after sweeping three games by large margins in the Santa Slam holiday tournament which took place their last week. The Pirates might have felt like they had dropped down to a different planet, playing international (FIBA) rules… 10 rather than 8 minute quarters, a 30 second “shot clock”, double bonus at the line starting after 5 fouls each quarter, and an extended 3 point arc. Whatever! They certainly played out-of-this-world basketball, laying the big hurt on each of their Canadian rivals

In each of these games, the Pirates showed inside dominance. Sophomore John Gage controlled the opening tips allowing the Pirates to score first and never trail in any of the contests. Juniors Charlie Hoffman and Michael Stoffer joined Gage in the heavy lifting inside to contest shots, grab rebounds, and score putbacks. Each of these three big men visibly developed in their game over the tournament. Gage, in particular, played well with his back to the basket. He pumped in point after point on pivot moves to the hoop, some on layins and others with his signature floating jump shot above the outstretched arms of his opponents.

As a team, the Pirates took their characteristically aggressive defensive effort into the stratosphere. They forced their opponents into repeated turnovers and poor shot selection. They chased down long balls. They out-positioned their opponents on the boards.

On Thursday, the Pirates faced the Highland Raiders, a 3-A team from Comox, B.C. The Raiders were coming off strong showings in two tournaments earlier this month. They had placed second among 8 teams in the Roundball Classic in Abbotsford, B. C. and first among 10 teams in the Carihi Invitational on the Island. They came into the game rated 4th among 3-A teams on Vancouver Island.

The Raiders were no match for the Pirates who dominated them in every aspect of the game. The Pirates successfully worked the ball into the middle and massively outrebounded the Raiders. Any attempt to collapse into the middle was paid for by one of eight three-pointers dumped in by 5 different Pirate sharpshooters. Midway through the first half, the whole Vashon bench was in on the action, extracting Raider blood on the Pirates’ behalf. Final score: Pirates 94, Raiders 46.

Pirate Points: Gage 24, Chris Pieterick 14, Max Burnham 12, Hoffman 11, Stoffer 10, Thomas Timm-Skove 8, Justin Calhoun 5, Quinn Holert 4, Elias Weston 4, Matt Kerns 2.

On Friday, the Pirates met the Rams from Victoria’s 3-A Mount Douglas Secondary School. In a repeat of the previous night, the Pirates worked this same “inside-out” game. And while the Rams put up some resistance, keeping the Pirates to a slimmer 23-10 margin by the quarter break, they never mounted a serious challenge. The Pirates exerted their dominance in the second quarter, going on a backbreaking 23-3 run to end the half with a comfortable 50-17 cushion.

With this game firmly in hand, Coach Sears went to his bench to give them some valuable playing time. Initially struggling with turnovers and poor shot selection, Mount Douglas managed to play the Pirates even in the third quarter. But sophomore Quinn Holert’s over the shoulder jump-hook put-back, at the 3rd quarter buzzer, seemed to refocus the younger players. Coming out in the fourth, they resumed their Pirate ways, forcing Ram turnovers on the defensive end, while pushing the ball offensively. Final score: Pirates 85, Rams 42.

Pirate Points: Gage 23, Pieterick 18, Kerns 10, Stoffer 10, Timm-Skove 9, Burnham 6, Hoffman 4, Holert 4, Weston 1, Calhoun.

Saturday’s game was against the number one rated 2-A team in British Columbia, the Fulton Maroons from Vernon, B. C. Fulton proved to be a worthy opponent. What they gave up in height, they made up for with hops and athleticism. Junior point guard Max Burnham, set the tone for his team with his scrappy play and 9 first quarter points to give the Pirates a 23-19 first quarter lead. Vashon never let up, nudging the lead to 41-28 at the half and the eventual 93-68 victory.

Pirate Points: Gage 31, Burnham 18, Timm-Skove 11, Kerns 8, Stoffer 8, Hoffman 6, Calhoun 5, Pieterick 4, Holert 2, Weston.

When asked to assess the boys’ play over the tournament, Coach Sears commented, “This was a good outing for us. Right now the guys are pushing each other. They are competing for minutes and playing time. That can only make us better. We had 7 of our players score double digits in one or more of these games. On any one night, we never know who is going to step up. It is really fun for the boys and for us coaches.“

As for their progress, he cites the fact that the boys are experiencing what it is to play ball at a high level. And based on this experience, they are also correcting themselves in situations where they are not at their best. “That shows me that this team is maturing,” he adds.

The Pirates are taking a breather this week, and resume Nisqually League play on Friday, January 4th at 7:00 PM against the Cascade Christian Cougars. AhC