Pirates host first conference game Friday

Travelling to Salida after a long winter break, the Pirate boy’s varsity basketball team made a strong showing against the 4-1 Spartans but came up short in the final minutes of the game.

With the Pirates coming into the game holding a 2-2 record, coach Jim Shaffer was nonetheless pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “We played a lot better than we have all season, played with a lot more passion.”

The Pirates came out strong the first quarter, dominating the boards and outscoring the Spartans 15-11 in the period. From, there, the game was up and down for the Pirates, with the Spartans leading in baskets during the second period, 20-12, and ending the half with a 31-27 lead.

The Pirates outscored the Spartans in the third period, 14-13, shaving a point off the Spartans’ lead. Pagosa boys continued to dominate in the fourth quarter, taking the lead 54-52 at the 54 minute, 57 second mark. Unfortunately, that’s where their game scoring ended for the Pirates. The game went back to a tie with a Spartan drive down court and, despite a blocked shot, Salida managed to capitalize on the rebound. Less than a minute later, Salida repeated the play, taking the lead, finishing the game with a 61-54 win over Pagosa Springs.

Pirate standouts included junior Taylor Shaffer with 17 points, freshman Tyson Ross with 12 points, senior John Jewell scoring 8 points, with junior Jordan Caler and senior Sackett Ross both recorded with 7 points.

Coach Shaffer took the loss in stride, pleased with the amount of heart the boys put into the game. “We played good defense, much better than we’ve been playing. We played a lot more aggressive than we have been and attacked the basket better.”

“Defensively, we had some breakdowns,” the coach added, “But they’re all fixable things.”

The Pirates host Monte Vista for their first conference game, tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS) gym.

Regarding the game, Shaffer said, “Monte Vista is a huge game for us, important for us for a lot of reasons. It’s a home game and it’s our first league game of the season.”

Saturday night at 7 p.m. finds the Pirates back on their home court, hosting the 4A Mean Moose from Alamosa. The Pirates go back on the road for a 7 p.m. Tuesday match against the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers.

jim@pagosasun.com