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Pirates win with best effort of season

Showing the explosive offense that got them notice early in the season, the Pirates made quick work of the Wolverines in Bayfield last Saturday, winning 69-42 to improve to a 11-2 season record.

Saturday’s win moved the Pirates back into the Colorado Preps standings with a No. 10 spot, while Denver Post Preps show Pagosa holding the ninth-ranked slot.

It was a game that saw the Pirates going ahead by 37 points as they neared the fourth quarter, allowing head coach Randy Sorenson to give his JV squad some court time.

“It was our best team effort to date,” Sorenson said after the game. “I thought it was our best offensive game all season.”

Getting out to an early 22-8 lead in the first quarter, the Pirates combined an intimidating inside attack with a stony defense to keep the Wolverines flustered and allow the Pagosa boys room to deliver points. Outscoring Bayfield 17-10 in the second, Pagosa went into the half with a 37-18 lead.

Bayfield had its only chance in the fourth after Sorenson flooded the floor with his younger players. After the Pirates completely dominated in the third, outscoring the Wolverines 27-11 during a huge quarter (Pagosa’s statistically best period), Bayfield managed to gain a slight 13-5 scoring edge in the fourth — not nearly enough after being pounded in the previous three periods.

“We really moved the ball well, we made the extra pass and that made all the difference,” Sorenson said, “and, again, we delivered on defense.”

Zachariah Griego led the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Tyson Ross scored 16 points and led with four steals. Kain Lucero finished third in scoring with 12 points and led the team with eight assists.

The Pirates travel to Alamosa tomorrow night for a rematch against the 11-4 Mean Moose and a battle for IML supremacy. With both teams 3-1 in conference, the Pirates hold a slight edge with won-loss points, but tomorrow night’s match will end with just one clear leader in the league.

Although the Pirates beat Alamosa 44-35 on Jan. 20 in Pagosa Springs, the Pirates will need to keep their focus as they bring their game to a Mean Moose team looking for revenge as well as conference bragging rights.

“We’re going to have to play our best basketball game of the season,” Sorenson said. “It’s a really tough place to play. Plus they’re a good shooting team and a good rebounding team.”

If the Pirates can get by the Mean Moose tomorrow night, they will need to hold that focus when they host the 10-4 Centauri Falcons on Saturday night if they hope to hold onto a hard-earned top conference spot. After losing 52-50 in Centauri on Jan. 13, the Pirates will certainly be looking to hand out some comeuppance to a team that has played some surprisingly good basketball this season given their age and size.

Saturday’s game starts at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School gym, the bookend to what will arguably be the most important weekend this season for the Pirates.

jim@pagosasun.com

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