Pirates end IML schedule with perfect record

Exhibiting the level of play that has put them at the top of the Intermountain League, the Pirate boys’ basketball team finished conference play for the season with a perfect record after trouncing the visiting Bayfield Wolverines 71-58 last Friday night.

After a sloppy, shaky start, the Pirates evened out their tempo following a courtside chat during a Shaffer-called time out. Showing confidence and skill, Pagosa held Bayfield back from a goal for over two minutes into the first quarter, with the Wolverines finally breaking a goose egg with a single point foul shot. With the Pirates playing a cohesive, steady offense and defense, the Pagosa boys finished the quarter with a 13-9 lead.

“We weren’t very patient there towards the end,” coach Jim Shaffer said, “At the timeout, we talked about slowing down, getting the ball to our guys on the inside. The guys turned it around after that, showed some patience, took back control of the ball.”

Building on that momentum, the Pirates scored another 20 in the second quarter while continuing to keep Bayfield outside their perimeter, holding them to just 8 points. With an almost impenetrable defense and a powerhouse offense, the Pirates left the first half with a commanding 31-17 lead.

Maintaining the pressure in the third period, Pagosa prevented a Bayfield comeback, outscoring their opponents 20-14 in the quarter. Just three minutes into the final quarter, with the Pirates up by 20, Shaffer pulled his starters, giving his up-and-coming talent some floor time.

“It was good to let those young guys get in and play,” Shaffer said.

Despite a rash of 3-point gifts, in the final minutes of the game, giving Bayfield a 27-20 edge for the period, the Wolverines went home with the 71-58 defeat at the hands of the Pirates and a 2-4 conference record for the season.

Conversely, Pagosa illustrated to the home crowd why it finished 6-0 in conference. The Pirates’ less-than-stellar 49-percent from the field was balanced out by their stunning 86-percent from the free-throw line and 18 assists. Compounded by just 11 turnovers and 26 rebounds, Pagosa gave the kind of performance worthy of clear conference champs (Monte Vista trails, a distant second in conference at 3-3).

Senior post John Jewell led the team with 15 points for the game and 8 rebounds. Junior Taylor Shaffer followed a close second in scoring with 14 points and also led with 9 assists, half the total for all of Pagosa assists. Junior Jordan Caler finished third in scoring with 11 points, closely followed by sophomore Zach Lucero and junior Austin Jones, both with 10 points each.

The Pirates travel to Monte Vista Friday night for the Intermountain League tournament, facing the Centauri Falcons at 6 p.m. in the first round of play. If the Pirates defeat the Falcons, they will face the winner of Friday’s Monte Vista/Bayfield match, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, in Monte Vista.