Lady Pirates head into season ranked No. 2

SUN photo/Randi Pierce Madison Lewis and Payton Shahan work during a defensive drill at practice Monday morning. The Lady Pirates are heading into the 2014-15 season as the No. 2-ranked team in 3A girls’ basketball.

SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Madison Lewis and Payton Shahan work during a defensive drill at practice Monday morning. The Lady Pirates are heading into the 2014-15 season as the No. 2-ranked team in 3A girls’ basketball.

The Pagosa Springs High School girls’ basketball team may still be a little sad that they fell just short of last year’s state title, but you won’t see that slowing the team down this season.

In a preseason poll released Monday by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), the Lady Pirates are ranked No. 2 in 3A girls’ basketball for the 2014-15 season, behind Sterling, whom the Pirates beat in the Final Four round of last year’s state playoffs.

In fact, not only does coach Wes Lewis believe the sky is the limit for the team, he notes that this squad stands out among those he’s coached over the years.

“This will be the fastest team I’ve ever had,” Lewis said, explaining that the team can move from one end of the floor to the other in a hurry and with control.

Too, the team is building from a strong foundation — not only coming off of a No. 2 state finish, but from having a deep varsity squad that saw a lot of minutes of play across the team’s top eight.

Three starting players graduated from that team, but Lewis noted that several players on the bench were good enough to start on most teams, leaving this year’s team in good shape.

Lewis said eight of the 25 girls who went out for basketball this season are expected to play solely on varsity, with several others expected to make a splash while spending time on both the JV and varsity squads.

Among those eight will be five seniors — Payton Shahan, Shannel Wilson, Brennan Nichols, Morgan Schaaf and Paige Lloyd — as well as juniors Madison Lewis and Taylor Lee-Hammer and sophomore Megan Farrah.

And while no starting lineups have been announced, Lewis said the team is working on developing more depth and determining how to best use that depth this season.

“We’re kind of developing where we go when we go to the bench,” the coach explained.

To that end, the coach noted that Farrah is looking good early in the season and is “very complimentary to the other guards.”

Too, with an early season injury to Nichols, that depth may come into play more in the beginning of the season.

Several young players could also see time on both squads, with Lewis explaining that the swing players “have some quick learning to do.”

Beyond the overall depth of the team, Lewis said the team is also working on being strong defensively — something they have become known for.

“We stress defense, so we’ve got to continue to work hard on the defensive end,” Lewis said.

But while the team is putting in hard work on several aspects of the game, the coach is pleased with the team’s qualities so far.

“I think we have a lot of neat pieces,” Lewis said, emphasizing the size, speed and talent of the team.

Lewis said the team is scoring well on transition plays, is sharing the ball well and shooting well.

“They’re very unselfish,” the coach said. “It’s just really fun to watch.”

The team’s early season work will be put to the test this weekend in a preseason scrimmage day at Sangre de Cristo in Mosca.

“It will tell us a lot,” Lewis said of the preseason scrimmages, adding, “It’ll just tell us some of the things we need to emphasize a bit more.”

Following the Nov. 29 scrimmages, the Lady Pirates will open the season at home on Dec. 2 against Ignacio.

 

This story was posted on November 26, 2014.