Pirates sew up IML title with win over Centauri

Head and shoulders above other conference contenders, the Pirate boys’ varsity basketball team continued its perfect league record, pounding the visiting Centauri Falcons last Friday 59-34.

With the victory, the Pirates locked down first place in the Intermountain League for the season. With Pagosa holding a 5-0 conference record, neither 2-3 Bayfield or Monte Vista will be able to unseat the Pirates from the top spot. Even if Bayfield, smashed on their home court by Pagosa Jan. 30, 53-36, manages to beat the Pirates in Pagosa’s house tomorrow night, the Wolverines would still trail the Pirates by two games.

Last Friday’s game demonstrated why the Pirates are conference leaders: holding the Falcons to single digit scores for all but one quarter, Pagosa schooled their opponents both on offense and on defense. Taking a strong 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Pirates were never in danger of losing their first conference game. The second quarter saw the Pirates dropping the intensity a bit, but still keeping the Falcons below double digits, outscoring Centauri 14-9 in the second quarter and leaving the half with a commanding 33-15 lead.

With a season low nine turnovers, the Pirates showed an impressive command of the game. “It was the best game of the year as far as taking care of the basketball,” said Coach Jim Shaffer, “a good, big win.”

Despite a middling 59-percent result from the free-throw line and a less-than-stellar 35-percent from the floor, Pagosa still dominated the floor, outscoring Centauri 21-10 in the third period. With Pirate players coming off the bench to take the floor en masse for most of the final period, Pagosa was finally outscored in a quarter, 5-9, but handily took the game with the 59-34 victory.

“I was really proud of how our guys played,” Shaffer said, “We’re really playing well as a team, playing unselfishly as a team. As long as a Pirate scores, that’s all that matters.”

Bearing out the coach’s assessment, junior Taylor Shaffer led the team with five assists and 15 points, followed by senior John Jewell with 13 points. Senior Sackett Ross was third in scoring and led the team with eight rebounds, with seven rebounds logged by junior Dakota Ross. Finishing up team top scorers, junior Austin Jones scored 7 points.

The Pirates hope to finish their inter-league season, tomorrow night at 7 p.m. with a perfect record, when they host the Bayfield Wolverines. Returning home for the season closer Saturday, at 7 p.m., the Pirates get a chance for revenge against the Farmington, N.M. Scorpions.

SUN photo/Pat Artis
Tuesday night standout PSHS junior Taylor Shaffer takes a shot from within a swarm of Ignacio defenders. Although Shaffer scored a team high 19 points in the game, the Pirates’ 30-percent average from the field contributed to a 59-42 home game loss to the Bobcats.