Pirates take second at Classic, face Salida Saturday

The Pirate basketball team took second place in the Wolf Creek Classic at Pagosa last weekend and is now preparing for a Saturday home game against the unbeaten, Class 3A Salida Spartans

Pagosa lost last Saturday’s Classic championship to the Cortez Panthers, 43-34, putting the home team’s season record at 2-2 for the season.

The Panthers led early in the game, but midway through the first period the Pirates pulled ahead, 5-3. The Pirates jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter. Cortez struck back but baskets by Taylor Shaffer, Tyson Ross and John Jewell gave the Pirates a 10-9 margin as the quarter ended and still led 16-14 at the half.

In the second quarter the Pirates added six points; Cortez managed seven points and Pagosa Springs had a 16-14 lead at the half. Jordan Caler and Shaffer produced the main offense for the Pirates in the first half as the Panthers began to rally.

In the third period the Panthers moved ahead with 14 points, holding the Pirates to five. The only Pirate field goals in the third quarter were by Shaffer, one for two points and one a three-pointer. By the end of the third quarter Cortez held a 28-21 lead. The Panthers were paced by Micah Conrad, who had 22 points by the end of the game.

The final quarter the Pirates tried to rally, succeeding with their most productive quarter —13 points. The Panthers put 15 points on the scoreboard during the quarter to seal the win.

Tyson Ross, Zach Lucero and Shaffer hit fourth-quarter field goals for the Pirates. By game’s end, Shaffer led the Pirate offense with 14 points, including included one three-pointer, four two-point baskets and three free throws.

According to Pirate Coach Jim Shaffer, “We have ten players who can play good ball but we need more who can score from the field. We are still a better team than last year at this time. We used a man-to-man full court press all the way, but it wasn’t enough to win,” the coach said.

The Pirates committed 17 turnovers against the Panthers. In addition to Shaffer, the other Pirate scoring were Caler, 7; Sackett Ross, 6; Tyson Ross, 3; Zach Lucero, 2; and Dakota Ross, 2.

Overall, the Pirates made 22 percent of their shots from the field and 40 percent from the free throw line.

Sackett Ross (6) and Caler (5), paced the Pirate rebounding in the title game.

In Friday’s first-round game at the Classic, the Pirates defeated the Gunnison Cowboys 49-45.

In the first quarter the Pirates built a 16-9 lead on effective shooting by Tyson Ross, Dakota Ross, Shaffer and John Jewell.

In the second quarter the Pirates outscored the Cowboys 10-9 with baskets by Jewell and Shaffer. The Pirate lead at halftime was 26-18.

Pagosa continued to outscore the Cowboys in the third quarter, 12-10, with baskets by Sackett Ross, Shaffer and Jewell. Shaffer also added several free throws.

Overall, three Pirates were in double figures: Shaffer with 19; Jewell with 10; and Tyson Ross, with 11. Also adding points to the Pirate total were Caler, 4; and Sackett Ross, 3.

The Pirates had 18 steals against Gunnison, led by Lucero with eight. Sackett Ross had three steals.

“We have more depth this year than last year, but we need more people who can contribute baskets,” said the coach. “Still, we can do a lot of things well.”

Taylor Shaffer was named to the Wolf Creek Classic all-tournament team.

Saturday’s game against Salida will be at 7 p.m. Following this weekend’s contest, the Pirates will be on a Christmas break, returning to action Jan. 9 at Salida.

SUN photo/Pat Artis
Tyson Ross takes a jump shot against the Gunnison Cowboys during the Pirates’ victory in the opening round game of the Wolf Creek Classic. Following a game Saturday at the PSHS gym against Salida, the Pirates head for the holiday break.

SUN photo/Pat Artis
Zach Lucero has the speed and the advantage and scores two points during the Pirates’ Wolf Creek Classic final against Cortez. Don Ames follows the play. Pagosa takes on unbeaten Salida Saturday at the PSHS gym, then opens the 2009 portion of the season Jan. 9 with a rematch against the Spartans, at Salida.