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At 12-0 on the season, the Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirates have become a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court.
The team further solidified that status last Friday with a 50-25 victory over the Bayfield Wolverines.
Despite the strong point margin over the Wolverines, neither team scored in the first two minutes of the game and it wasn’t until late in the quarter that the Pirates took a lead they wouldn’t give up.
Pagosa’s Taylor Strohecker was the first to score in the game with a field goal.
After giving up the lead twice, the Pirates took charge with another shot by Strohecker with just over one minute on the clock, finishing the first quarter with a 10-5 lead.
Strohecker scored six of the Pirates’ 10 points in the quarter, with Madison Lewis scoring the other four.
Pagosa scored another six in the second quarter before Bayfield netted the ball, and the Pirates would go on to outscore the Wolverines 13-4 in the quarter to give Pagosa a 23-9 lead at halftime.
But the second quarter was not all fun and games for the Pirates. With just over five minutes left on the clock, Strohecker suffered a knee injury.
Calling it a “big scare,” coach Wes Lewis said, “Losing a player like Taylor would be devastating.”
But, after being examined by the school’s athletic trainer, Strohecker returned to the court in the second half.
Although Bayfield went on to score eight in each of the next two quarters, the Pirates outscored their conference foe with 13 points in the third and 14 in the fourth, giving the Pirates a final tally of 50-25.
Eight of the team’s 14 points in the fourth quarter came from the hands of Taylor Lee-Hammer at the free-throw line, who successfully shot eight of eight from the line during the scoreboard’s final minute and a half.
“Obviously, that’s outstanding,” Lewis said.
The win was the 12th of the season for the Pirates, who have outscored their opponents 694-331 on the season.
“I’m just really pleased with where our defense is at on the year,” Lewis said, adding that the team’s press was “very effective” against Bayfield, causing several turnovers and limiting Bayfield to 25 points.
The loss puts Bayfield at 1-1 in Intermountain League play.
In the game, Strohecker and Payton Shahan scored 11 points each, followed by Lee-Hammer’s eight.
Madison Lewis scored six points on the night, while Emily Bryant netted five, Morgan Schaaf tallied four, Shannel Wilson had three, and Anissa Lucero netted the ball once.
Helped by Lee-Hammer’s perfect night and Shahan shooting three of four, the Pirates were successful 68 percent of the time from the free-throw line — close to the coach’s goal of 70 percent.
“That’s getting close,” Lewis said. “We’re happy with that.”
The team was successful in 13 of 19 attempts.
The team also notched 26 rebounds in the game, led by seven from Strohecker. The team turned over the ball 24 times.
A technical foul against the Pirates in the game came from Lewis demanding an explanation from the referee’s concerning stopping the clock during injuries in the game, but Bayfield failed to score on the foul.
Now, the team has turned its focus to this weekend’s action, which begins with a home matchup against the Alamosa Mean Moose.
In the game, both Pagosa and Alamosa (fresh off a 40-31 loss to Salida) will look to keep their undefeated conference records alive. Both teams are 2-0 in league play heading into the game.
Overall, Alamosa holds an 8-5 record.
“Big game again this week. Alamosa’s playing well and much-improved,” Lewis said. “That’ll be a big game for us Friday night.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, the team will head to Monte Vista for another league matchup scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monte Vista is 0-3 in league play and 4-7 on the season.
Tuesday, the team will take a break from conference play for the season’s second game against the 2A Sanford Indians, whom the Pirates defeated 59-24 to start the season.
That game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in Pagosa.
With their 12-0 record, the Pirates are the No. 2-ranked 3A girls’ team in the state,according to the CHSAA coaches’ poll, behind 14-1 Holy Family.