Yes, the Peninsula Pirates are the NWAACC men’s basketball champions for the first time since 1970. Our congratulations go to coach Lance Van Vogt, his staff and the Pirates who went into the 16-team tournament sort of under the radar, but really scrambled the radar screen with four heart-pounding victories to claim the title.
One year ago, coach Peter Stewart took the Bucs to the state in Kennewick and they promptly lost two, 75-49 to Tacoma and 64-56 to Big Bend.
The only first-team players left from that team were Trevant Musgrove and Jeremiah Johnson as Von Vogt, the new head man, went out and brought in the likes of DeShaun Freeman, Thad Vinson, Mitrell Clark, Sammeon Waller, Jerry Johnson and Tony Williams.
Little did Von Vogt know that Clark would be named the MVP of the tourney and that freshman Freeman would be on the all-tourney team and Vinson on the second team.
With seven losses, the Pirates didn’t get much respect, but they topped Yakima Valley, 58-54, then shocked Tacoma, 63-57, then beat Spokane, 78-74, and by that time, tourney fans and other teams were saying, “Where did these guys come from?”
The title game was a classic and the Pirates held off Pierce, 80-76, showing gutsy performances down the stretch of each game and winning each game with a late three-point shot and free throws.
Can Van Vogt do it again? With some key returnees and some red-shirts who might have started for other teams and the ability to recruit solid players to the program, he might not get back-to-back titles, but when the Pirates go to state again next year, they won’t go in under the radar.
The basketball champions have been crowned and spring sports teams are under way as the 2010-2011 high school sports seasons wind down to June and end of school for the year and memories.
Before we leave the winter sports, a few comments about the Hardwood Classic basketball tournaments.
The WIAA is seeking input from teams, fans and media on how the new eight-team finals in three days worked as against the old four-day tournaments.
Here are my takes — I would be interested in yours.
Teams should NEVER be allowed to play state tournaments, regionals, etc., on their home court.
Puyallup, for instance, played two games at home in the first and second round, made it to the elite eight and proceeded to lose two games.
On the 2A side, Tumwater’s boys played two games at home and won a berth on the second night, then lost two straight in Yakima.
It was feared that a team with an opening loss could then win four straight and win the title. It happened in three cases as Reardan (2B) and Colton (1B) girls lost their openers and went on to win titles.
On the other side, Clover Park lost to Squalicum by two in the first round, then won four straight, beating, yes, Squalicum in the final. It was the Warriors dumping out Port Angeles.
With so many regional games, it was hard for fans to find some of the high school gymnasiums and most big city newspapers didn’t do advance stories so fans could find out where their favorite teams were playing.
Schools with two teams in the regionals were split up. The P.A. girls played their first game at Foss High at 8 p.m., while the Rider boys were playing down the road at Mount Tahoma at 6 p.m.
It would’ve been rather easy to move the Olympic/Tumwater girls game from Foss at 6 p.m. to Mount Tahoma at 6 p.m. and put the Rider boys at Foss. As it was, Rider fans who went to the boys game really had to hustle to find Foss in time for the start of the distaff game.
I hope the WIAA will address some of the problems that were encountered and when I get a financial statement, I’ll pass it on.
Sequim hoop fans should be very interested in the WIAA decisions as I have a hunc h there could be two Sequim teams playing in the 2012 tournament and even the Riders might get a couple of teams in again.
Congrats to the Neah Bay boys and girls, finishing second and fourth in the Spokane tournament. By the way, most of the small schools would prefer to have four-day, 16-team tournaments instead of the regional set-up.
Scooter Chapman can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
Plenty of Irrigation Fest activities for sports fans
Wed, May 2, 2012
Opening day choices: M’s and the horses
Wed, Apr 4, 2012
Prep hoops seasons come to an end
Wed, Mar 7, 2012
Road-weary Riders move on to state
Wed, Feb 29, 2012
Can the Pirates peak at the right time?
Wed, Feb 15, 2012
Enjoying a Giant party at 7 Cedars
Wed, Feb 8, 2012
When the Super Bowl was ‘super’
Wed, Feb 1, 2012
Introducing P.C’s Wally Sigmar Field
Wed, Sep 21, 2011
Last waves for old Husky Stadium
Tue, Sep 13, 2011
Rekindling fond memories of Lake Mills
Wed, Jul 20, 2011
Odds, ends from the sports desk
Wed, Jun 22, 2011
In praise of racers
Tue, Jun 14, 2011
To parents, from a player’s point of view
Wed, Jun 8, 2011
What a year!
Wed, Jun 1, 2011
WIAA making smart changes
Wed, Apr 27, 2011
Just one number away at the Downs
Wed, Apr 20, 2011
The perks of covering an opening day
Wed, Apr 6, 2011
Time to play ball, Mariners
Tue, Mar 29, 2011
Opening the Ridge: a 2010-2011 review
Wed, Mar 23, 2011
Pirate pride at an all-time high
Wed, Mar 16, 2011