Having made the long haul to meet Salida on their home turf should have been tough enough for the Pirate girl’s varsity basketball team. Making the trip to face a team ranked sixth in the state must have made that challenge seem insurmountable.
Nonetheless, the Pagosa girls took the floor in Salida last Friday night with the kind of can-do attitude that is proving the team is not to be underestimated.
The Pirates made a strong showing in the first quarter, outscoring the Spartans 14-12. The Spartans made up a little ground, outscoring the Pirates during the second period 13-12, and bringing the game to a tie at the end of a strong defensive third period by again outscoring the Pirates, 7-6.
Undaunted, the Pirates dominated the court during the fourth quarter, outscoring the Spartans 19-7, defeating a state-ranked team with an impressive 51-39 win.
“We played a pretty good game, especially in the fourth quarter,” said coach Wes Lewis, “We were able to build on our momentum.”
The coach added that the Spartans, “Switched to a zone defense in the last quarter but we forced them out of the zone and they went into a delay game, forcing them to foul.”
Lewis pointed out that the girls shot a respectable 66 percent from the free throw line, adding to the Pirates’ victory.
Pirate sophomores Breezy Bryant and Mary Brinton were game top scorers, gaining 18 and 9 points, respectively. They were followed by junior Victoria Espinosa and senior Courtney Guilliams, both who scored 8 points each.
Lewis said, “We had a decent man offense but struggled with our zone offense,” but the coach seemed extremely pleased with the girl’s defensive game.
“Our goal is to hold them to 30 or less, but with a sixth-ranked team, we did pretty good. On average we’re going to try and hold them to 40 or less but that changes from game to game.”
Having beaten a state-ranked team, the girls move on to their first conference game when they host Monte Vista Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS) gymnasium. Saturday night the girls host the 4A Mean Moose from Alamosa at 5:30 p.m. in the PSHS gym. The girls get back on the road to challenge the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m.