Pirate girls face IML test tomorrow

“It was a team win,” said Coach Wes Lewis, emphasizing the effort by the Pirate girls’ basketball team that exterminated the Scorpions, 55-47, during last Thursday’s visit to Farmington, N.M.

Nonetheless, ignoring the noteworthy performance by sophomore Pirate standout Mary Brinton would be folly. Scoring 27 points against Farmington, while tallying 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots, Brinton made it clear to both teams that she’s a talent to be reckoned with, and a formidable weapon in the Pirates’ arsenal for years to come.

Never really struggling throughout the game, the Pirates tested their sea legs in a close first quarter, barely edging out Farmington 15-13 in the period. Breaking out in the next period, Pagosa held the Scorpions to 9 points while repeating their first quarter score, leaving the half with a 30-22 lead.

“I’m proud of the way they held their composure,” said Lewis. “Victoria Espinosa (senior point guard) played an excellent game and had great leadership out there.”

Although the Pirates gave Farmington a brief chance to catch up during the third quarter, allowing the Lady Scorpions to outscore them 10-14, Pagosa never lost sight of the prize, holding onto a 40-36 lead.

“We stayed focused,” said Lewis, “We were never shadowed by the point of no return.”

Indeed, accumulating their third 15-point quarter while holding Farmington to 11, the Pirates sailed to a 55-47 victory, smashing the Scorpions on the road.

Shining brightly in the shadow of Brinton’s outstanding performance, senior Allison Hart scored 13 points and logged an impressive 11 rebounds. Sophomore stalwart Breezy Bryant finished third in scoring with 5 points but tallied an impressive six assists for the game.

“Breezy was very unselfish,” said Lewis, “Passing up good looks to pass to the post.”

Inconsistent on the road and in conference this season, the Pirates fell to 1-3 in the Intermountain League Saturday after losing 66-45 on the road in Monte Vista.

Outscored in all four quarters, the Pirates were unable to gain momentum against a more seasoned Monte Vista team that had dominated Pagosa previously when they were hosted Jan. 16 in the PSHS gymnasium.

Coming into the game with a 12-4 overall record against Pagosa’s 8-5, Monte Vista controlled the floor, holding the Pirates to just 9 points in the first period while scoring 15 of their own. Continuing to exert their dominance on their home court, Monte Vista outscored the Pirates 13-10 in the second quarter, ending the first half with a 30-19 lead.

Relentless in their attack, Monte Vista scored 15 points in the third quarter while holding Pagosa to just 8 points. Despite some renewed offensive vigor on the part of the Pirates in the final period, Monte Vista still managed to best Pagosa in the fourth, 21-18, sending the Pirates back over the pass with a 45-66 defeat.

“Our girls did some good things,” said Lewis about the loss, “But they didn’t shoot well from the field,” referring to the Pirates’ paltry 29 percent from the field. Although the Pirates improved at the key, with 61 percent (Hart shooting 100 percent going 4-4 and junior Megan Bryant 4-5 and 80 percent), few games are won from the free-throw line. Conversely, Monte Vista shot 53 percent overall from the field, with an impressive 66 percent during the first half.

“Monte Vista shot extremely well,” said Lewis, “and we gave up 14 offensive rebounds. That’s not going to win us games.”

Brinton led the Pirates with 15 points, followed by Hart’s 8 and 6 each from sophomore Breezy Bryant and Megan Bryant.

Local fans must have had the impression they were watching a JV-varsity scrimmage in the PSHS gym Tuesday night, when the Pirates hosted the outclassed 2A Mancos Bluejays Tuesday night.

Playing a game that was pretty much over from the moment it started, the Pirates held the Bluejays to single digits during all four quarters. After fettering the Bluejays 15-3 in the first quarter, the Pirates never looked back, outscoring Mancos 12-8 in the second, leaving the half with a 27-11 lead.

No less ruthless in the second half, the Pirates outscored the Bluejays 17-7 in the third and 16-8 in the final period, annihilating Mancos with an overwhelming 60-26 victory.

Hart led in scoring with 18 points. “She’s been getting more and more solid the past three weeks,” said Lewis, “She’s really found herself at the three-point line.”

Breezy Bryant scored 14 points, followed by Brinton, who found herself double- and triple-teamed throughout the game. Megan Bryant rounded out the top scorers with 7 points and led the team with six rebounds. “Megan’s really showing some improvement,” Lewis said, “She’s gaining confidence, doing some really good things.”

Lewis also acknowledged Espinosa’s contribution, saying, “She’s a great defensive player and she’s unselfish offensively. She had a breakaway steal and an easy lay-up but ended up passing it onto Mary.”

Espinosa led the team with five assists and tied with Breezy Bryant with four steals.

The Pirates hope to gain ground in the conference standings when they host the Centauri Falcons tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. in the PSHS gym. When asked how his girls would improve their league record, Lewis said, “We need to handle their press and have to start shooting on the perimeter. But we’ve beat them once on the road and I think we stand a good chance, here.”

jim@pagosasun.com


SUN photo/Pat Artis
Pagosa Springs High School girls’ varsity basketball top scorer, sophomore Mary Brinton (161 points this season), takes an almost undefended shot during the Pirates’ decisive victory over Mancos. The Pirates easilly defeated the Bluejays 60-26 in the PSHS gymnasium on Tuesday night.