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High school sports fans stuck between seasons and jonesing for some action should be happy to learn that, for the Pagosa Springs Pirates boys’ basketball team, practice started Nov. 9 and there have been 12 practices since.
“We have 35 kids in our program as of right now,” coach Randy Sorensen said. “This is the most players we have had for a few years and we are excited that our numbers are up.”
Of those 35 players, eight are seniors, four are juniors, 11 are sophomores, and 12 are freshman. The two returning starters from last year’s team are Kain Lucero and Zachariah Griego, both seniors.
“We are also expecting big things from the other seniors,” Sorenson continued, listing Quinn Smith, Garek Erskine and Dean Hampton specifically, but also mentioning Calloway Manley, Chris Mannara and Deangelo Guthrie.
“We also have some underclassman that we think can step up and help us at the varsity level,” Sorenson explained. Joey Cambell is one of the juniors. Keaton Smyth, Luke Devooght and Tate Drane are sophomores.
Briar Erskine, even though he’s only a freshman, also has a good shot at becoming one of the starters on the varsity team. Sophomore Trey Spears, who sustained an injury during the football season, will round out the varsity team once he recovers.
“We feel like we know who our starters are, but we will continue to evaluate day-to-day, and week-to-week,” Sorenson affirmed. “Nothing is set in stone and the competition is open.”
The Pirates will travel to Farmington, N.M., on Saturday, Nov. 24, for a series of scrimmages against the Farmington Scorpions, the Mancos Bluejays and the Cortez Panthers.
“We will be missing a couple of kids due to the Thanksgiving Holiday,” Sorenson explained, “but it will give some other kids a chance to step up.”
The first game of the season will be Nov. 30 in Sanford against the Indians. The first home game will be Dec. 8 against the Del Norte Tigers. The Pirates will then participate in the Buena Vista Varsity Basketball Invitational on Dec. 14 and 15, where they face the Knights from Denver Science & Tech, the Demons from Buena Vista, and the Jaguars from Jefferson Academy.
The Pirates will return to Pagosa Dec. 21 for a match-up against Ignacio then travel to Sargent on Jan. 11, Del Norte on Jan. 12, Durango on Jan. 15, Centauri on Jan. 19, Ignacio on Jan. 22, Bayfield on Jan. 25, and Alamosa on Feb. 1.
It isn’t until Feb. 2 that the Pirates begin a series of home games starting with Monte Vista, and followed by Sanford on Feb. 5, Centauri on Feb. 9, Bayfield on Feb. 15, and Alamosa on Feb. 21. The regular season will end with an away game in Monte Vista.
“We feel like we have a chance to be a good basketball team,” Sorenson concluded, “but we have a lot to improve on, especially defensively. If the kids keep working hard and doing what they are doing, we should continue to improve. Practices so far have been really good and we are looking forward to getting the season started.”