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The Pagosa Springs Pirates evened up their record at 2-2 after last weekend’s Buena Vista Varsity Invitational Basketball Tournament, falling first to the host, 66-59, but rallying to defeat Peak to Peak, 55-45, and Salida, 56-22.
“We feel like we had a pretty successful weekend in Buena Vista,” coach Randy Sorenson said. “We won two out of the three games and had a really good chance to win the third game.”
“The game against Buena Vista on Friday night,” the coach admitted, “was a pretty well played game by both teams.”
The boys fought hard against the Demons, pulling slightly ahead by the end of the first quarter (11-10) and keeping the score tied at 27 by halftime.
The third quarter belonged to the Pirates, who scored 12 more points while only giving up three, but the momentum shifted in the final quarter, and the Demons came back to tie the score again at 51.
“We had a nine-point lead going into the fourth quarter,” Sorenson said, “but unfortunately we were not able to finish the game. We got outscored 21 to 12 in the fourth quarter.” They were outscored 15-8 in the overtime period.
“We gave up two offensive rebounds in two trips down the floor,” the coach explained, “and both times they were able to kick the ball out to wide open shooters and they cut the lead to four points in a matter of seconds.”
Briar Erskine led the defensive effort with 11 rebounds and one blocked shot, while Ben Bard had nine rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal. L. J. Smith had seven rebounds. Luke Devooght and Tate Drane each had four rebounds; Keaton Smyth and Trey Spears had three each. Smyth had three steals.
“We failed to make some wide open shots,” Sorenson conceded, “and we missed free throws down the stretch. We were able to hold on and get the game into overtime. We built a four-point lead early in the overtime but again we failed to finish. Turnovers hurt us in the overtime.”
Bard led the offense with 23 points, including five of 10 free throws. Smyth had 14 points, with six of seven free throws. Devooght had seven points, including one three-pointer.
“Our kids have never really been in a close game at the end and our inexperience showed,” the coach said.
Peak to Peak
In their second game of the weekend, the Pirates pounced on the Pumas, taking an early lead and ending the first quarter 20-11. Peak to Peak held its own in the second quarter and by the end of the half, the score was 28-21.
The second half mirrored the first, with the Pirates coming on strong in the third quarter, scoring 15 while only giving up 10, and then holding their ground in the final quarter, finishing the game with a 10-point lead, 55-45.
“The next morning we were able to come out with a lot of energy,” Sorenson said, “and to beat a pretty good Peak to Peak team. They had an athletic, big kid and a couple of good shooters, but our kids found a way to win.”
This time Smyth led the scoring with 17 points, including two from beyond the three-point line. Devooght scored nine points, including of three free throws. Erskine scored eight, with six out of nine free throws.
At the other end of the court, Erskine had eight rebounds and one steal, Devooght had seven rebounds and one blocked shot, Smith and Smyth each had five rebounds.
“You have to give them a lot of credit,” the coach said, “for coming out and playing hard and playing pretty well after a tough overtime loss the night before.”
For the final game of the tournament the Pirates schooled the Salida Spartans, dominating all four quarters — 9-3, 20-6, 15-9 and 12-4 — for a final score of 56-22.
“On Saturday night, we were able to beat a really young Salida team,” Sorenson said. “We were able to play all of the kids and get them some playing time.”
Smyth, Spears and Devooght chalked up eight points each. Smyth and Spears each had one three-pointer, while Devooght made two. Smith and Bryce Jacquez each scored five points. Bard, Drane and James Berndt scored four points each, while Erskine, Gavin Ross, James Pongsalee, Matt Breman and Jeremiah Miller all managed two points.
On defense, Smith got credit for six rebounds and five steals, while Breman and Devooght each had five rebounds. Devooght had two steals; Bard had four rebounds, Pongsalee three. Marcos Quezada had three steals, while Jacquez and Berndt each had two.
“Throughout the weekend, we had many compliments about how hard our kids played,” the coach said, summing up the tourney. “In our mind, that is one of the best compliments you can receive. Great effort can fix a lot of mistakes.”
“We have another tough weekend coming up,” said Sorenson. “Ignacio is a very good basketball team, they have a lot of returning players and Ignacio is a tough place to play. We are looking forward to our first home game of the season on Saturday against Sangre de Cristo. They have one of the best coaches in the state and we will have to play really well to win.”
The boys head to Ignacio tomorrow for a game against the Bobcats at 4 p.m. before returning home to host the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“If our kids keep working hard in practice and playing hard,” Sorenson said, “they will see the fruits of their labor. As they get more varsity experience and get put in different game situations, it will help them immensely. We have a lot to work on and we have to keep getting better fundamentally. We really need to work on taking care of the basketball.”