With a loss to Sanford to round out the regular season, the Pagosa Springs High School girls’ basketball team now faces a more important challenge — the Centauri Falcons and the district tournament.
Coming off a 24-34 loss to the Sanford Indians Saturday in Sanford, the Pirates now must rebound and beat Centauri to have a chance at meeting their goal of claiming the district title.
The Pirates got off to a slow start in Saturday’s affair against Sanford, not scoring until the end of the first quarter, but allowing Sanford to score nine, thus ending the quarter 9-2 in favor of the Indians.
Pagosa was able to quell the Sanford offense some in the second quarter, while picking up their offensive steam, outscoring the Indians 7-5 in the quarter to take a 14-9 deficit into the half.
The Pirates started off the third quarter with a two-pointer from Taylor Strohecker to cut the Indians’ lead to three, but the Indians quickly rebounded, even handing the Pirates a 13-22 deficit to contend with.
The Pirates were able to cut Sanford’s lead to six by the end of the quarter. In the quarter, the Indians outscored the Pirates 8-7.
Strohecker started the fourth quarter with a two-pointer to help her team, but Sanford, again, was unwilling to relish the lead, though the Pirates made it to within two points in the quarter, 20-22.
From there, Sanford again built their lead and outscored the Pirates 12-8 in the quarter to end the game with a 34-24 win over Pagosa.
“The last four minutes got away from us,” Coach Wes Lewis said, adding that his team didn’t handle the full-court pressure well, primarily in the final four minutes and tallied 28 turnovers throughout the game.
Lewis said other than the first and the final four minutes, his team played well and he thought the defense did a good job, though the offense struggled.
“Sanford is as good a team as any in the Intermountain League,” Lewis said, adding that the team was fortunate to split the season series with the Indians.
Only three Pirates scored in the game. Senior Brooklyn DuCharme led the Pirate effort with 12 points, including a free throw and a 3-for-4 night at the charity stripe.
Strohecker followed closely behind with a 10-point night, with Anissa Lucero contributing two points and three assists.
DuCharme also led the team on rebounds with seven, with Strohecker and Emily Bryant contributing three each, Elle McGinn rebounding twice, and Payton Shahan rebounding once.
Now, the Pirates head to Bayfield for the district tournament, where they face off against the Centauri Falcons at 6 p.m. on Friday night.
“We know it’s going to be a tough one,” Lewis said. “They’re a good basketball team, with a good coach.”
Lewis said the keys to advancing in the tournament are cutting down on turnovers, executing half-court defense, and stepping up the offense.
“We’re going to have to put everything together,” Lewis said. “It’s that time of year ... we need to be playing our best basketball offensively and defensively.”
Pagosa and Centauri face off Saturday night, with the winner of that game advancing and playing at 6 p.m. Saturday night.
The Pirates split their season series with Centauri, besting the Falcons 42-27 on Jan. 13, but losing to the Falcons 24-29 on Feb. 4.
The bracket for the tournament is as follows:
• Wednesday, Feb. 22:
Monte Vista vs. Alamosa tie-breaker to determine who advances to the district tournament (both teams ended the regular season with a 1-7 conference record). Results of the game were not available by presstime Wednesday.
• Friday, Feb. 24:
No. 3 Pagosa (5-3 conference, 14-5 overall) and No. 2 Centauri (6-2 conference, 15-4 overall) face off at 6 p.m.
At 7:45 p.m., No. 1 Bayfield (7-1 conference, losing only to Centauri, 16-3 overall) plays the winner of Wednesday’s game between Monte Vista and Alamosa.
• Saturday, Feb. 25:
Friday’s winning teams face off in the championship game at 6 p.m.
The consolation game between Friday’s losing teams takes place at 2 p.m.