The Pagosa Springs girls’ basketball team is off to a 1-1 start on the season following last weekend’s Buena Vista tournament, but hopes to better its record at this weekend’s 24th Wolf Creek Classic.
The team’s first loss came in the fourth quarter of its opening game against the Gunnison Cowboys on Friday.
The Pirates looked on par with Gunnison throughout much of the game, taking a 14-12 lead into halftime, but were unable to carry that lead to a victory.
The Cowboys outscored the Pirates 6-4 in the third quarter to enter the fourth quarter tied at 18 all.
“The first three minutes of the fourth quarter was kind of the difference in the game,” Coach Wes Lewis reported, adding, “We just couldn’t get it any closer than that.”
As the fourth quarter got underway, the Cowboys took a 10-point lead over the Pirates.
The Lady Pirates cut the Gunnison lead to five, but were unable to match the cowboy’s 15 points in the quarter (the only double-digit quarter for either team), resulting in a 7-point loss.
In the game, the Lady Pirates were just 7-for-13 from the free-throw line and recorded 18 turnovers.
“We need to make our free throws,” Lewis said of the team’s performance from the line.
In the game, senior Brooklyn DuCharme and sophomore Anissa Lucero led the Pirates with nine points each, while sophomore Taylor Strohecker notched four and sophomore Emily Bryant and junior Ellie McGinn recorded one field goal apiece.
Strohecker led the Pirates defensively with three offensive and four defensive rebounds.
“I think we’re just young right now and it’s going to get nothing but better,” Lewis said.
The next afternoon, Pagosa took on Woodland Park in the tournament’s consolation game.
“The girls played hard and got after it defensively,” Lewis said.
The only quarter the Pirates trailed in in the game was the first, when Woodland Park out scored the team 9-7.
From there, Pagosa put double digits on the scoreboard, while holding the Panthers to just five and six points in the second and third quarters.
While not enough to compromise the Pagosa lead, Woodland Park bested the Pirates in the fourth quarter 16-14, leaving the final score at 49-36 in favor of Pagosa.
Lewis said his team was more patient on offense in the fourth quarter, opting to run the clock more. The team also went deep on the bench in the final quarter.
The Pirates increased their free throw success in the game, going 18-for-24 and recorded 22 turnovers.
Leading Pagosa on the scoreboard was DuCharme with 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers and 9 points from the free throw line.
Freshman Payton Shahan followed DuCharme with 10 points, while Lucero notched seven, Strohecker added six to the team total, and junior Sienna Espinosa contributed five.
Bryant, junior Haleigh Zenz and McGinn rounded out the Pirate offense with three, two and one points, respectively.
“We were glad to come away with a win,” Lewis said, noting that, early in the season, the focus is on improving and finding added confidence. “We’re young right now, but there’s a lot of talent.”
Starters Bryant, Strohecker, Lucero, McGinn and DuCharme will lead the Pirates this weekend as they take the floor against the Dolores Bears Friday night at the Wolf Creek Classic.
“We’ve got to come ready to play that night,” Lewis said, adding, “We’ve just got to go do what we do and do it well and we should come out on top.”
The Wolf Creek Classic kicks off with a matchup between the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers and the Gunnison Cowboys Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Pirate action gets underway at 6:30, when Pagosa takes on the 1-1 Dolores Bears.
The tournament’s consolation game for the girls’ bracket will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, while the championship game will take place at 5:30 p.m.
“I’d love another crack at Gunnison and redeem that loss, but we’ve got to worry about Friday night first,” said Lewis.