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Fans of the Pagosa Springs Pirates had to hit the road once again in order to watch their favorite basketball team play last Friday night but, luckily, this time it was only a short trip to Bayfield where the boys nearly doubled the Wolverines’ score, 65-38.
It’s a good thing the Pirates play well on the road because tomorrow night’s game in Alamosa will be their seventh straight away game. When they finally return to their home court Saturday afternoon to host Monte Vista, it will only be their third home game of the season.
“We got off to a good start against Bayfield,” coach Randy Sorenson explained. “We talk a lot about how it is easier to play with the lead than it is to play from behind, so it was nice to play well early.”
The Pirates earned 16 points in the first quarter and almost skunked the Wolverines, letting them have only two points. By halftime, the Wolverines had managed to scrape together a mere13 points, compared to the Pirates’ 31.
The Pirates did even better in the second half, earning 17 points in the third quarter and 17 more in the fourth, while they gave the Wolverines eight in the third. The Pirate defense allowed 17 points in the last quarter, but it still wasn’t enough for the Wolverines to get close.
“We played well, but we still need to fix some things and to continue to improve,” Sorenson admitted. “We have got to start taking better care of the basketball and not turn it over so much. Every possession counts, and in close games turnovers can decide the game.”
The team had a total of 21 turnovers during last week’s game, and while that may not have much of an effect on the outcome against a team like Bayfield, the Durango Demons were able to take advantage of the 16 turnovers the Pirates gave them on Jan. 15 and handed the boys their only loss of the season so far with a final score of 52-44.
“We need to continue improving on defense as well,” Sorenson added.
Garek Erskine had six rebounds and seven blocked shots against Bayfield. Dean Hampton had five rebounds and one steal, Quinn Smith had four rebounds and two steals, and Zachariah Griego had four rebounds.
“Overall, though, the kids did some good things,” Sorenson said, “and we continue to be proud of them.”
Kain Lucero led the offense with 20 points, including three from three-point range and seven out of seven free-throws. He also got credit for seven assists. Hampton had 12 points and five assists, Griego had nine points and one assist, and Smith had seven points and one assist.
“This weekend will be another very important one for us,” Sorenson predicted. “Alamosa is ranked eighth and they have a good basketball team. They have a big kid that has lots of talent and they have some kids that can shoot the basketball.
“They play really hard and they get lots of rebounds even though they don’t have a whole lot of size. They are well coached and Alamosa is a tough place to play. They will be ready for us, so we must be well prepared in order to be successful.”
The Pirates and the Maroons both have two wins and no losses in league play, but overall the Pirates have a 91-percent winning rate with 11 victories and only the one loss to Durango, while the Maroons have a 10-3 record, for a 77-percent win rate.
According to Colorado Preps, Pagosa Springs knocked Brush out of the No. 2 rank in the 3A division, while Alamosa is ranked eighth.
“On Saturday night, we will finally get another home game,” Sorenson concluded. “It seems like we have been on the road forever, so it will be nice to not have to get on a bus and travel. It will be good to get to play in our own gym and to play in front of our own fans. Hopefully lots of fans will come out and support the kids.
“Monte Vista has some good young players. They are quick and they play hard and fly around the court. They also play good defense, so this will be another good league game.” Be at the Pagosa Springs High School gym by 4 p.m. to make sure you don’t miss any of the action.