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Lady Pirates start strong, face tough weekend

Staff Writer

The Lady Pirates basketball team established dominance early in their first regular-season game last Saturday, scoring 27 points in the first quarter en route to a 59-25 victory over the 2A Sanford Indians.

With its first win in the books, the team remains the No. 2-ranked 3A girls team in the state, behind Holy Family (2-0 on the season), and in front of conference rival Centauri (3-0 on the season).

“I thought the girls played hard,” said coach Wes Lewis. “I thought they gave it a lot of effort.”

After beating the Sanford Indians 27-10 in the first quarter thanks to a strong press out of the gate, the team went on to outscore the Indians in the three remaining quarters: 12-8, 9-6 and 11-1.

“I thought our press was pretty active, especially early,” Lewis notes, adding, “I was pretty pleased with that.”

The 59 points scored by Pagosa against Sanford came from nine different players.

“I really liked the way we were really balanced in scoring,” Lewis said.

Anissa Lucero led the Pirates with 15 points, with all 15 coming from three-pointers.

“She shot the ball really well from the floor,” Lewis noted.

Payton Shahan followed with 13 points, and Taylor Strohecker notched 10 points on the day.

Emily Bryant tallied seven points in the game, and Taylor Lee-Hammer contributed four points.

Morgan Schaff and Shannel Wilson each added three to the scoreboard, with Wilson’s coming from a three-pointer, and Megan Farrah and Madison Lewis each added two to the total.

“I thought that was pretty good numbers across the board for them,” Lewis added.

On the night, the Pirates went seven for nine from the free-throw line — a success rate of about 78 percent.

Lewis is pleased with that success rate, but said he wished the team had earned more opportunities from the charity stripe.

Sanford went three for 10 from the line.

Shahan led the team with seven rebounds — three offensive and four defensive. Schaff and Strohecker each rebounded six times, splitting those rebounds evenly between offensive and defensive.

Bryant notched four defensive rebounds in the game, while Wilson had one defensive and one offensive rebound.

Farrah, Lee-Hammer and Brennan Nicholes each added one defensive rebound to the team total.

In addition to the positives the first game of the season revealed, Lewis said the game also revealed areas for the team to improve in.

Lewis said he thought the team gave up too many offensive rebounds to Sanford.

Lewis said the team also turned over the ball more times than he would like, with 18 reported turnovers by Pagosa in the game.

Too, Lewis said the team is working to better communicate in the press in order to more aptly adjust to changes by the competition.

The next test for the Pirates will come in the form of this weekend’s participation in the Buena Vista Tournament, where the Lady Pirates will take on three teams in two days.

Friday, Pagosa will take on host Buena Vista.

The Demons have a 1-1 record, but may prove to be a challenge to the Lady Pirates because of offseason interaction between the two teams that makes the Demons familiar with Pagosa’s style of play.

“Buena’s always tough in Buena,” Lewis said. “I expect that to be a pretty tough game.”

Saturday, the Pirates will face No. 7 Peak to Peak, followed by Salida.

“Saturday’s going to be a tough day,” Lewis noted.

After taking on fellow top-10 team in Peak to Peak (1-0 on the season), the Pirates play their third game of the weekend against Salida, who will be playing their first and only game of the weekend.

Salida is currently 3-0 on the season.

“We’re not going to make excuses,” Lewis said. “We’re going to play.”

And, Lewis noted, if the team plays to its ability, it should emerge from the weekend in good shape.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on December 12, 2013.