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The 2013-14 season is over for the Pagosa Springs boys basketball team, finally, and while it was a rough one for the Pirates compared to the previous year’s state championship season, it was also a chance for the young team to grow and learn.
Pirates vs. Pirates
While it was practically guaranteed the Pirate boys would win their final basketball game of the regular season, the question last week was which Pirates would it be — the Monte Vista Pirates or the Pagosa Pirates — and, unfortunately, as it turned out, the day did not belong to Pagosa.
“We played a pretty good game against Monte Vista, except for the first quarter,” coach Randy Sorenson admitted. “We got an early lead in the game but then Monte Vista applied some pressure.”
The Pagosa Pirates soon lost control and finished the first quarter behind 16-4.
“We turned the ball over time after time,” Sorenson explained, “and they ended up out scoring us in the first quarter.”
Pagosa fought back in the second and third quarters, outscoring Monte 13-9 and 13-12, respectively. However, Pagosa was unable to maintain the momentum through the fourth quarter, and the score at the buzzer was 46-38 in favor of Monte.
“We outscored them in the second and third quarters,” the coach said, “and they only scored one more point than we did in the fourth quarter.”
Once again, the Pirates put in a valiant effort, but it was too little and too late.
Luke DeVooght took charge of the offense, scoring 14 points, including two of two from the free-throw line.
Trey Spears put nine points on the board, including one from outside the 3-point line.
Briar Erskine had eight on the night and also went two for two from the charity stripe.
James Pongsalee added four and Gavin Ross got one 3-pointer.
The leaders switched positions on defense, with Erskine pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking one shot, while DeVooght grabbed nine rebounds and also blocked one shot.
Spears, Pongsalee and Jeremiah Miller each had two rebounds, while Spears and DeVooght also got credit for one steal each.
The most telling statistic, however, was turnovers — Pagosa committed 19 of them, while Monte only had five.
“We continue to turn the ball over too often,” Sorenson concluded, “and our rebounding is not very good. We also need to improve defensively. All of these things we can fix, we just need to decide to quit making the same mistakes.”
Then this week, as post-season action got started with the Intermountain League playoffs in Alamosa, Pagosa didn’t stay in that fight for very long, either.
A win there would have allowed the Pirates to continue on in the IML tournament, but as it turned out, a 44-34 loss put an end to the boys’ season.
“The pigtail game against Alamosa was just more of the same,” Sorenson said. “They got an early lead and we were never able to get caught back up.”
After scoring the first basket of the game, the Pirates allowed the Mean Moose to score on their resulting possession, and Pagosa never regained the lead. By the end of the first quarter, the score was 15-8 and by halftime the Pirates had only scored two more points and had fallen even further behind, 22-10.
After the half, the Pirates scored 14 in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth, while only allowing 12 and 10, respectively, but, once again the comeback attempt fell short, and the final score, 44-34, gave the Pirates their final loss of the season.
“We did cut a fourteen point lead to six with a couple of minutes to go in the game,” the coach pointed out, “and we missed easy shots on two different trips to cut the lead to four. After that we self destructed again and they were able to win by ten.”
DeVooght led with 14 points, including one 3-pointer and one for one from the free-throw line, while Erskine made eight points, L. J. Smith made four and Bryce Jacquez made two. Berndt and Spears each made 3-pointers.
On the other end of the court, Erskine pulled down eight rebounds, stole the ball twice and blocked two shots. DeVooght got four rebounds and two blocks, while Pongsalee and Berndt got three rebounds each.
“Still again we turned the ball over way too much,” Sorenson admitted. “Our defense was not great, we got out rebounded, and they got almost every 50-50 ball.”
The Pirates committed 17 turnovers all together, while the total for the Mean Moose was only 11.
“They were more physical and aggressive than us,” the coach concluded, “and that has hurt us all year. And for whatever it is worth, they shot twenty-seven free throws and made sixteen. We shot five free throws and made three.”
The Pagosa Pirates ended the regular season after losing all eight of their league games and only winning four out of 19 games overall.
The next lowest member of the Intermountain League was Alamosa with a 4-4 record in the league and a 10-9 record overall. Bayfield had a 5-3 record in the league and an 11-8 record overall. Monte also had a 5-3 record in the league, but was ranked slightly higher because of a 13-6 record overall. Centauri, with a 6-2 record, topped the league and had a 14-5 record overall.