Salida Spartan defense holds Pirates at bay

“We have definitely played better.”

So mused Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS) Pirate varsity boys basketball coach Jim Shaffer, regarding his team’s Tuesday night loss to Salida.

“We didn’t play as well as we’ve been, offensively,” he said. “We just played flat.”

Outscored in almost every quarter of play, local fans would probably have no issue with Shaffer’s assessment. Down 0-10 early in the first quarter, the Pirates seemed incapable of stopping the Spartans capitalizing on offensive rebounds. Mustering a slight comeback, Pagosa avoided being skunked in the first period, ending the quarter down 6-13.

Faring a little better in the second period, the Pirates managed to narrow the Spartans’ lead by besting Salida 11-8 for the quarter, but finishing the half behind 17-21.

Unable to gain back their momentum or work around strong defensive play by Salida, the Pirates found themselves down by 9 at the end of the third period, losing the scoring match 13-18 in the quarter, behind 30-39 going into the fourth.

Good defense from both teams marked a low-scoring final period. With a Salida wall built around the Pagosa key, the Pirates managed to only score 7 points to the 9 scored by the Spartans. With a disappointing offensive showing and a rash of turnovers, Pagosa finished the game with a 37-48 loss.

“We had 28 turnovers for the game,” said Shaffer. “We’re not going to win any games that way. We’re just not taking care of the ball.”

Freshman Tyson Ross led the Pirates in scoring with 13 points, followed by senior John Jewell’s 9, junior Taylor Shaffer’s 7, and 6 points by senior Sackett Ross. With a respectable 57 percent from the free-throw line, the boys were less accurate from the field and managed only a 42 percent field goal average.

The Pirates will be in Farmington, N.M. tonight for a first-time match against the Farmington High School Scorpions. The Pirates will then travel to Monte Vista for a league rematch Saturday night, hoping to improve their conference record to 4-0 and hold onto their top spot in the league.

“It’s a huge game against an extremely athletic team,” the coach said regarding the conference game. “We need to play really good defensively and defend the three-point line. They’re the team we need to beat at home in the conference final.”

Finally, the Pirates will return home to host the Mancos Bluejays Tuesday at the PSHS gymnasium. All games start at 7 p.m.

SUN photo/Pat Artis
Pirates pointman senior John Jewell takes a shot from the side during a home game against the Salida Spartans. The Pirates dropped to .500 with a 6-6 record after their 37-48 loss to the 4A team.