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Lady Pirates remain undefeated, open at home Saturday

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirates remain undefeated this season, with three solid wins at the Buena Vista Tournament last weekend.

With the victories, the Pirates continue in good standing in Colorado girls’ 3A basketball rankings, as well as in the Intermountain League.

Saturday, the ladies will look to bring those winning ways to their home court for the first time this season.

“I thought we played pretty well over the weekend,” said coach Wes Lewis.

First up, the Pirates faced tournament host Buena Vista (1-4 on the season), soundly defeating the Demons 65-19.

The Pirates held the Demons to two points in the first quarter while scoring 20 of their own, and remained dominant through the remaining three quarters: 14-7, 20-2, 11-8.

Lewis praised the team’s transition play in the game, as well as its defense, noting the team did not employ the press early in the game in order to conserve energy for the rest of the weekend.

Continuing an emerging trend for this year, Pagosa’s scoring was well spread out amongst team members, with eight different Pirates contributing baskets.

“I really like how balanced we are,” Lewis said. “Everybody’s contributing offensively, and everybody’s contributing defensively.”

Payton Shahan led Pagosa with 17 points in the game, which included a five-for-nine stint from the free-throw line.

Anissa Lucero contributed 13 points in the game, including three three-pointers and going two for two from the free-throw line.

Taylor Strohecker added 11 points to the team total, with one three-pointer and a perfect night with two shots from the charity stripe.

Madison Lewis scored eight in the game, Taylor Lee-Hammer contributed six, Morgan Schaff tallied five points, Brennan Nicholes added three points and Emily Bryant put two on the board.

Overall, the team with 15 for 30 from the free-throw line.

The Pirates’ total of 38 rebounds (23 defensive, 15 offensive), bested the Demons’ 23.

Collectively, the team walked away from the game with 16 turnovers, compared to Buena Vista’s 30.

Saturday, Pagosa recorded two wins, over the Peak to Peak Pumas and Salida Spartans.

First up on the day, the Pirates faced off against Peak to Peak (3-1), which was ranked No. 7 in CHSAA polls, preying upon the Pumas with a final score of 50-16.

The Pumas pounced on the Pirates early in the game, taking a 10-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.

“We were pretty slow and sluggish,” Lewis said of the first quarter, noting the team stayed up late to watch the boys’ matchup against Buena Vista the night before.

But Pagosa adjusted, put forward an effective press and held Peak to Peak scoreless in the second quarter while scoring 15 of their own, taking a 17-10 lead into the second half.

The Pirates then held the Pumas to three points in each of the final two quarters while tallying 12 and 21 points of their own. That 48-6 run by the Pirates made for a final score of 50-16.

“To hold someone to sixteen points, I just really like where our defense is at,” Lewis noted.

Shahan again led Pagosa’s scoring efforts in the game with 13 points, followed by 12 points from Strohecker, six from Lucero on two three-pointers, and five each from Madison Lewis (including one three-pointer) and Taylor Lee-Hammer.

The ladies were again successful from the charity stripe only 50 percent of the time, going nine for 18.

The team tallied 24 rebounds on the day, with six offensive and 18 defensive, compared to the Pumas’ 11 total rebounds.

The Pirates turned over the ball 15 times, compared to 22 total turnovers by Peak to Peak.

Rounding out their tournament play, the Pirates emerged victorious from their battle with the Salida Spartans (4-1) with a 64-27 final score.

Lewis said the Pirates again began the game sluggishly, picking up the pace with about five minutes left in the first quarter, but Pagosa was able to outscore Salida in all four quarters of the game: 15-7, 16-5, 18-10 and 15-5.

Lewis again praised the offensive and defensive play by the Pirates, noting that Salida is a good team with strong guards and size.

“I think they’re going to win a lot of games this year,” Lewis said of the Spartans.

Nine different Lady Pirates scored in the matchup, with Shahan again leading the team in scoring with 14 points, followed by Strohecker with 12 (including six free throws).

Madison Lewis scored 10 in the game, Lucero notched eight (including two three-pointers), and Bryant added six. Schaff added five to the team’s total, followed by Shannel Wilson with four, Lee-Hammer with three, and Nicholes with two.

The Pirates improved slightly on their free-throw percentage in the game at 52 percent, going 14 for 27 from the line, compared to Salida’s 33 percent.

The Pirates finished the game with 16 turnovers, compared to Salida’s 30.

Lewis said he anticipates that the Pirates will commit fewer turnovers as the season progresses and the team is more effective at long passes and passing angles.

Friday, the team heads to Ignacio for a matchup against the 2A Bobcats (1-4) and, Saturday, the Pirates welcome the 2A Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds (3-1) to Pagosa.

Lewis listed the keys to the Ignacio game, scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m. — employing a pressure defense, including pressure in the press and a transition to a half-court defense, and effectively transitioning to half-court offensive play.

Saturday, the Thunderbirds, the current No. 5 2A team, will take the court against the Pirates in Pagosa, with varsity girls’ action expected to begin around 5 p.m.

“I think they’ll present a big challenge for us,” Lewis said.

Heading into this weekend, three IML teams remain undefeated — Pagosa (4-0), Centauri (5-0) and Bayfield, which owns a 1-0 record.

Alamosa sits fourth with a 3-1 record, followed by Monte Vista at 2-3.

In this week’s CHSAA poll, Holy Family remains atop the 3A girls’ ranks, followed by Pagosa in second and Centauri in third.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on December 19, 2013.