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With two games remaining in regular season action, the Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirate basketball team hopes to improve on their seven-game win streak as they move into the playoffs.
The Pirates’ two remaining opponents for the season have opposite league records — the winless Monte Vista Pirates (0-7 league, 3-13 overall) and the undefeated Centauri Falcons (7-0 league, 17-1 overall).
The Pirates have a 5-1 league record and are 15-2 overall.
En route to that record, the Ladies defeated the Bayfield Wolverines and Alamosa Mean Moose last weekend in a pair of home games that included Wes Lewis’ 99th and 100th wins as head coach of the girls’ program.
First up, the Lady Pirates took on Bayfield Friday night, walking away with a 42-31 victory.
The game got off to a rough-and-tumble start, with the Wolverines outscoring Pagosa in the first quarter 13-10. But, the Pirates bounced back in the second quarter, outscoring Bayfield 15-5 to take a 25-18 lead into the second half.
The Pirates continued to outpace the Wolverines in the third and fourth quarters (9-6, 8-7), to complete a 42-31 margin.
“I thought we did a pretty decent job,” Lewis said, despite allowing Bayfield’s Destini McGheyhey to penetrate the lane and score nine. “It was just nice to get it.”
Again, Lewis spoke of the team leaving too many points on the floor, but playing solid defense in the game.
On offense, Emily Bryant led the Pirates’ scoring effort with 17, including a 5-for-9 stint on free throws.
Taylor Strohecker followed with eight points, Haleigh Zenz notched six, Payton Shahan tallied five, and Madison Lewis and Anissa Lucero each ended the night with three.
As a team, the Pirates were successful from the free-throw line 41 percent of the time, going 7-for-17.
Additional stats for the game were not available by press time.
The next night, the Pirates faced the Alamosa Mean Moose.
Despite the Mean Moose scoring first in the affair, the Pirates held their opponent to only two points in the first half, while scoring 19 themselves.
“I thought that our defense was as good as you could ever ask it to be,” Lewis said. “I thought our kids really locked in, locked down on the defensive end.”
Alamosa sought a comeback in the second half, however, when the Pirates looked to give the bench more experience, with Alamosa scoring seven in the third quarter (compared to Pagosa’s 11) and outscoring the Pirates 10-5 in the final quarter, for a final score of 35-19.
On Saturday, Strohecker led the scoring effort with 17 points, followed by Bryant with 11. Lucero, Shahan and Lewis each notched two points, and Taylor Lee Hammer added one.
On the night, the Pirates shot almost 64 percent on free throws, going 7-for-11.
No further stats were available for the game.
The game was Lewis’ 100th win as the program’s coach, which was recognized following the game.
“It’s the players. We’ve had some really good players here in the last six years. Without good players, this doesn’t happen,” Lewis said. “It’s a real credit to the players.”
In reaching the milestone, Lewis thanked other coaches he’s worked with in his six years as head coach, including current assistant coaches Charles Rand and Freddy Martinez, as well as past assistants Nicole Looper, Norma Shaffer and Cindy Galabota.
Lewis also thanked former boys’ coach Jim Shaffer, whom Lewis served as an assistant and from whom Lewis learned details about running the program and conducting practices.
“A lot of his blueprint is what we do right now,” Lewis said.
Those wins leave the Pirates in second place in the Intermountain League going into the final weekend of the regular season.
Centauri remains atop the league, while Alamosa (3-4 league, 7-11 overall), Bayfield (2-5 league, 8-10 overall) and Monte Vista trail Pagosa in that order.
The Pirates could tie Centauri atop the conference heading into district play next weekend (in Alamosa) if they walk away with two wins this weekend.
Today, the Pirates head to Monte Vista for a 4 p.m. matchup. Previously, Pagosa beat Monte Vista 54-10.
The next night, the team will welcome the Centauri Falcons to the Pirates’ home gym for a make up of the Feb. 9 game that was postponed due to inclement weather.
Centauri previously deeated the Pirates 26-24.
The team continues to take it one game at a time, however.
“We certainly can’t look past Monte Vista,” Lewis said. “We have to take care of business Thursday, first.”
Then comes what should be an intense affair against Centauri, the No. 2-ranked 3A girls team in this week’s Denver Post coaches poll. The Pirates are ranked fourth in the same poll.
“It’s about as good of basketball in this area … as will come along,” Lewis said.
Action against Centauri begins at 5:30 p.m.