Pirates ground Falcons 57-45

Although a game between the top-ranked Pirate boys (6-0) and a Centauri Falcons team (1-5) that has embraced the bottom of the Intermountain League standings all season should have portended an utter rout, the outcome revealed a closer game than was predicted, 57-45, with Centauri fighting hard and the Pirates slightly off their game.

“I have to give Centauri credit,” said Pirate Coach Jim Shaffer. “They were real patient offensively, slowed the tempo a little.”

Blazing onto the Monte Vista High School gymnasium floor for the first quarter of the first round of the Intermountain League Tournament, the Pirates held the Falcons to just a single basket, while scoring 11 points of their own. However, Centauri was not discouraged and came back in the second quarter, outscoring the Pirates 11-10, down 19-30 at the end of the half.

“They did a real good job keeping us from doing the things we do well,” said Shaffer.

In fact, with the Pirates shooting just 40-percent from the field and 69-percent from the free-throw line, the Falcons did appear to knock the Pirates off course.

Going into the second half, both teams played a heavily defensive third period with only nine Pirate points scored to six for the Falcons. Conversely, the final period was an offensive showdown, with the Falcons scoring 26 points to 27 points by the Pirates. Effective as they were at knocking the Pirates slightly off kilter, Centauri was unable to move onto the second round of the league tourney.

“We didn’t play as well as would have liked,” said Shaffer, looking back on the game, “but we put ourselves in the second round with a twelve-point victory.”

Freshman Tyson Ross led the Pirates with 26 points and seven rebounds. “If we didn’t have him on the team, we might have had a much different finish,” said Shaffer. “The freshman really stepped up.”

Junior Jordan Caler led the Pirates with five assists and was second in scoring, with 13 points. Senior John Jewell finished third in scoring with eight points, followed by junior Taylor Shaffer with six.

Local fans will get a chance to see the Pirates play the first round of the State Basketball Tournament Friday night in the PSHS gym.

At 5 p.m., fans can watch a tournament showdown between Dolores Huerta and Erie, with the Pirates playing at 7 p.m. in a match against Saint Mary’s High School from Colorado Springs.

Winners of Friday night’s games will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon to determine who will advance to the Colorado 3A final eight the next weekend.

Ticket prices, per CHSAA guidelines, are: adults $6, students K-12 and senior citizens (60 and older) $5.

jim@pagosasun.com