Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Vashon wasn’t going to be fooled again.
“We felt like that was a loss,” Vashon Coach Tony Irons speaks on the last match up between his Vashon Wolverines and the Trinity Titans, which ended in a 2 controversial free throws that game Vashon the edge.
Coach Irons credits the first meeting as the spark that has lead the team this far. “The first game we played them, that was the turning point in our season. You play national competition, but when you come back home there’s another element, and I think they brought the fight to us the first time.”
The 70-53 final score paints a much different picture than the first meeting. The Wolverines knew they had to be better defending if they had any chance of making it to Springfield.
“We brought energy this time. Last time they outplayed us, and we just knew it wasn’t going to be like that this time.” Senior guard Donyae McCaskill compares this win over the last, “This game meant a lot to all of our seniors. We talked yesterday about everything, and we clicked in today.” McCaskill earned himself 12 points in the game.
Vashon opened the game with a 15-3 first quarter, a sign of things to come. As impressive as the offensive scoring was, it was the defense that kept the Wolverines out front. “When we’re guarding and making things difficult… we’re a really good defensive team. The first time they capitalized on a lot of our gambles and mistakes, and we wanted to limit that,” Irons says.
Trinity’s big man, Kyle Kalkbrenner, was kept to 7 points, only scoring 2 in the first. Normally a force in the paint, Kalkbrenner’s impact on Vashon’s scoring was limited. “We really wanted to be able to minimize his effectiveness around the rim because with him, it’s not the shots that he blocks, it’s the shots that he alters,” Coach Irons says. Trinity’s scorers could not figure out the V’s defense this time around. Rashad Weekly, who was the main source of pain in the first meeting, was kept to 7 points on Saturday compared to the 26 the first go around.
Junior guard Cam’ron Fletcher lead his squad with 24 points and says the early lead was pivotal in setting the tone. “It pumps us up and gives us motivation, even the bench players. It all starts with the bench.” Fletcher continues, “It’s a good feeling because there are a lot of people on this team who haven’t won state yet…winning state gives other people offers and scholarships.”
Vashon has competed at the highest level throughout the school year, but their sights are set on the district title. McCaskill says, “I’ve actually been to state twice [with Kickapoo High School], but we never won so I refuse to lose this time.”