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Lady Pirates top Centauri in first league match

Staff Writer

SUN photo/Pat Artis Madison Lewis drives the ball past Centauri’s Kendra Garcia during the Lady Pirates’ 46-24 victory Saturday evening in Pagosa Springs. The Pirates are now 11-0 and face Bayfield this week for their second conference match of the season.

SUN photo/Pat Artis
Madison Lewis drives the ball past Centauri’s Kendra Garcia during the Lady Pirates’ 46-24 victory Saturday evening in Pagosa Springs. The Pirates are now 11-0 and face Bayfield this week for their second conference match of the season.

A trio of wins over the last week improved the Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirates to an unblemished, 11-0 record, with the second conference game of the season tomorrow night.

The Pirates remain the No. 2-ranked team in the 3A girls’ basketball coaches poll, and are the top-ranked squad in The Denver Post Prep’s media poll.

The first of the victories of the week came over the 2A Sargent Farmers (6-4 on the season) Thursday evening.

That game ended with a score of 46-29, with the Pirates outscoring the Farmers in all four quarters (7-2,15-12, 12-9, 12-6).

“I didn’t think we played particulary well that night,” coach Wes Lewis said, noting that he felt his team was anticipating the Saturday matchup against Centauri.

The team notched 22 turnovers in the game, which Lewis attributed in part to being out of sync and careless with the ball.

Lewis did feel the team was effective with its press in spurts.

Despite those weaknesses in the game, the Pirates again showed offensive strength across the board, this time led by Anissa Lucero.

Lucero scored 15 points in the game thanks in part to four three-pointers.

Emily Bryant followed with 14 points in the game. Taylor Strohecker had seven points in the game, Madison Lewis followed with six, Payton Shahan scored three and Taylor Hammer-Lee had one.

The Pirates also tallied 25 steals in the game and 19 rebounds, including seven by Strohecker.

Saturday night, the Pirates faced off in their biggest game of the season so far, against the Centauri Falcons (8-3).

The Falcons were one of two teams to defeat the Pirates last season.

The Pirates showed dominance early in the game, going on a 6-0 run before Centauri scored their sole basket of the first quarter, a three-pointer. The quarter ended 11-3 in favor of the Pirates.

The second quarter was not much different, with the Pirates scoring five before the Falcons struck with another three-pointer. The Falcons would go on to score one other three-pointer in the first half, and were outscored by the Pirates 11-6 in the quarter, giving the Pirates a 22-9 lead at the end of the half.

Centauri fought back in the third quarter and outscored Pagosa 11-9, but Pagosa regained their dominance in the final quarter to outscore the Falcons 15-4, leading to a final score of 46-24.

“We were just really, really locked in on the defensive end,” Lewis said. “It was just really, really good all the way around.”

Leading the scoring effort Saturday was Shahan with 15 points, including five points from the charity stripe. Strohecker followed with 10 points.

Bryant and Lewis each scored seven in the game.

Lucero, Hammer-Lee and Brennan Nicholes each contributed two, and Shannel Wilson added one to the team total.

The team had 20 turnovers in the game, but Lewis said the team countered that with 19 steals.

“They pressed us the whole game, Lewis said, noting that, with teams that press, more turnovers are likely. “That’s something you can live with.”

The team also had 28 rebounds, including eight from Strohecker.

Centauri has now lost two conference matches, also losing last Thursday to Alamosa.

“They’re still a top-ten team in my mind,” Lewis said.

Tuesday evening, the Pirates welcomed the 2A Ignacio Bobcats (2-9) to Pagosa for the second matchup of the season. The Pirates defeated the Bobcats 68-36 on Dec. 20, 2013.

Pagosa again defeated Ignacio, this time by a score of 56-31.

“I think they’re a very scrappy, athletic team and I think they’re better than their record indicates,” Lewis said of the Bobcats, noting that, while the team may lack size, they are quick and the Pirates are pleased with the win.

The Pirates outscored their opponent in all four quarters (13-4, 11-9, 14-8, 18-10).

Shahan led the Pirates in scoring with 12 points, including six free-throws (out of eight possible), followed by 11 from Strohecker and eight from Bryant.

Overall, the team shot 64 percent from the free-throw line — better than the Pirates’ success rate earlier in the season, but not as high as Lewis hopes to see this weekend against Bayfield.

The Pirates will face off against the Bayfield Wolverines (3-4) in Pagosa tomorrow night, with the game anticipated to start at 5:30 p.m.

“I think Bayfield’s starting to play better and better,” Lewis said. “We’re going to have to show up and play.”

Lewis said the Wolverines have a strong post and strong guard who are supported by good players.

“We’re going to have to be ready to go,” the coach said. “It’s going to be a big game for us.”

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on January 23, 2014.