Lady Pirates take first conference win of season

Pushing their overall record into the winning column, the Pirate girls’ varsity basketball team made a respectable showing against the Centauri Falcons on Saturday, bringing home their first conference win for the season.

Sophomore standouts, Mary Brinton and Breezy Bryant, gave outstanding performances, each scoring 14 points, suggesting a formidable Lady Pirates team for the next couple of years. Junior Victoria Espinosa followed up with five points scored and senior Courtney Guilliams rounded out the top scorers with four points in the game.

The girls got off to a shaky start, losing an early lead to Centauri and finishing down 9-11 at the end of the first quarter. Keeping pace in the second period but unable to gain the edge, the girls left the first half down 15-17, tied in scoring at 6-6 for the quarter.

“We didn’t play very well in the first half ... we had too many turnovers,” said coach Wes Lewis. “Mary was the difference in the second half,” highlighting Brinton’s four offensive and seven defensive rebounds, seven blocked shots and three assists.

And quite a difference there was in the second half. With improved control of the floor and the boards, the Pirates outshot the Falcons in the third period, 12-6, taking a 27-23 lead. The girls widened that lead in the final period, enough to allow the coach to put JV players in late in the game, as the Pirates outscored the Falcons 16-8 in the quarter, finishing the game with a 43-31 win.

“We were able to hit well from the outside,” Lewis said, “We definitely shot better than we did against Cortez.”

Happy with the win, Lewis was nonetheless cautious about the girls’ prospects down the road. When asked about the girls’ dismal 36 percent from the free-throw line, Lewis said, “Yeah, we really need to work on that. We’re shooting good in practice but it seems to fall apart during a game.”

Reflecting on the win, Lewis added, “We need to get where we play four quarters instead of two.”

The girls meet the Wolverines Saturday night in Bayfield for a league game, then return home for a Tuesday night match against the Salida Spartans from the 3A division. Both games are set for 5:30 p.m.

jim@pagosasun.com