With no shortage of talent or potential, the Pagosa Springs Pirate girls’ basketball team seems to only lack identity — as in, “Who is going to show up tonight?”
Certainly, the varsity squad that took the floor at home in their first conference game against Monte Vista on Friday night was not the team it could be. Despite an early 7-3 lead in the first quarter, the Pirates had a difficult time connecting with the basket and allowed themselves to be outscored 10-7 in the period.
The girls’ momentum continued to slip in the next period, overwhelmed by Monte Vista’s intensity and cohesion on both offense and defense. Stealing a dropped Pagosa pass, Monte Vista junior point guard and standout Mandy Aguilar drove down to the bucket for an easy layup and two points. Continuing to smoke the Pagosa girls, Monte Vista again outscored the Pirates, 11-5 for the period, finishing the half with a 21-12 lead.
Despite a lead-off score by Pirates’ standout sophomore Mary Brinton, the girls fared no better in the third period, outscored again, 5-11, down 23-38 heading into the final quarter.
Plagued by bad passing, weak defense, and an inability to connect at the boards, the Pirate girls were overwhelmed by a tight and talented Monte Vista team. With more than enough room to breathe, Monte Vista cycled in players from the bench in the final period, allowing Pagosa to lead in scoring for the quarter, 15-14, but not the game, as Monte Vista trounced Pagosa 52-38.
“We just didn’t get the job done,” explained coach Wes Lewis, “We were weak on defense and couldn’t take care of the ball. We had way too many turnovers.”
With Brinton leading the girls with 12 points, followed by sophomore Breezy Bryant and senior Shelby Stretton with seven points each, the Pirate girls came up far too short to match Monte Vista’s level of play.
“When we let a player like Mandy Aguilar go out there and get 27 points,” Lewis said, “It shows we’re not on our game.”
The team that hosted the Alamosa Mean Moose on Saturday night was nothing like the team that played the night before. Having lost to the Moose back in December, the girls reinvented themselves, putting on a completely different game face.
With noticeable improvements on offense and defense, the Pirates held the Moose outside the key while producing at the offensive end of the court. With a lead-off assist from Brinton to Bryant for an easy two points, the girls carried their momentum through the quarter, leading Alamosa 15-3.
Pagosa chewed up the Moose in the second period, forcing a lot of mistakes from the Alamosa girls and capitalizing on those errors. Outscoring Alamosa 27-8 in the period, the Pirates left the first half with a 37-11 lead.
Quickly taking the initiative in the second half, the Pirates continued savaging Alamosa. With a lead off shot by Brinton and a steal by Bryant that led to another two points, all within the first minute of play, the girls played with a ferocity and aggression that had been all but absent the night before. Indeed, with two minutes, 45 seconds left in the third period and Alamosa down by 30, many must have been left wondering if it wasn’t time to consider a “mercy rule.” Adding another twopoints to that lead with 1:50 left, the Pirates could have well as just sat down for the final quarter.
Having pulled the Moose out of their zone, dazzling passing and spot-on shots drove the Pirates to an easy victory. With Pirates from the bench taking the floor in the fourth quarter, Pagosa still outscored Alamosa 7-6 in the period, giving the girls an outstanding 56-25 victory over the Moose.
Brinton led the Pirates with 12 points, followed by Bryant and freshman Brooklyn DuCharme with 11 points, each, and senior Allison Hart with 10 points.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” said Lewis, “They played hard, had fun, and took care of the ball. It was night and day between Friday night and Saturday night.”