The Trojans Boys' basketball team started their regular season in a Nov 3. bout against the visiting Vashon Island Pirates, led by highly recruited point guard senior 6'7 Alex Wagner, who averaged 14.5 points a game in the 2009 season. In last year's matchup, the Trojans met the same opponent on Pirates turf and came up short, losing 58-43, but they found their vengeance this year on their own home court, playing aggressive defense and proficient offense.
In the end, the Trojans proved their point, downing Wagner and company 49-35. Before the game, senior Trojans shooting guard Kevin McCrossin and guard Brad Finlayson shared their thoughts on the competition.
"The Pirates are coming into this game a respectable team, but we just got to bring it harder as we did last year," Finlayson said. "Both [teams] lost a lot of players to graduation, so we are going to need battle to win this game." "We are definitely going to be keying up on their point guard, Wagner. We know he is a threat. This past week, we have been working a lot on that strategy," McCrossin said. "This is the first game for the season, and we know we are going to make some mistakes, but we need to flush it and play hard."
The Trojans hit the ground running, led by senior forward Jimmy Branche (8 points) and junior Bryce Miller (16 points), both dominating in the postwith offensive put-backs. On the defensive side, Trojans shut down the Pirates' inside game, forcing Vashon to turn the ball over. The Trojans outscored the Pirates 14-5 in the second quarter, with help from McCrossin shooting 2-of-2 from behind the arc, accumulating a game total of 8 points.
The smaller defenders, Finlayson (3 points) and senior guard Jack Murrey (10 points) limited Pirates sharp shooter Wagner to 14 points. Miller ended the first half with 16 points and 3 blocks. The Trojans headed to the locker room leading 35-14 In the second half, the Trojans continued to dominate, using a productive offensive attack from the inside out, as well effective clock management to maintain their lead.
The Trojans outscored the Pirates 11-3 in the third quarter. In the final quarter, Trojans coach Mark Schelbert utilized his bench, while the Pirates continued to play their starters in an attempt to make a comeback, outscoring the Trojans 18-3. Nevertheless, Shelbert's Trojans managed to cannonball the Pirates to secure the first win of the season.
"I seem to be a master of being at the right place at the right time. My teammates just seem to be able to find me so I can get those easy layups," Miller said. "Our plan with Wagner was to get him to go to his right hand, since he is left-handed. We gave him no easy looks, and we were up in his face. That seemed to be the difference in the game."