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Pirate basketball teams end 2010 with victories

While the Pirate girls had little issue asserting dominance in the high desert last Friday, taking down the 2A Sargent Farmers 60-21, the Pirate boys struggled, eking out a 46-39 victory.

The Pirate boys may have walked onto the Sargent court assuming they would be going home with an easy victory — an unfortunate miscalculation. Unbeaten as of Friday, the Farmers had defeated the 3A Monte Vista Pirates on Dec. 9 on the Pirates’ home court.

Saturday’s match against the Salida Spartans was cancelled due to travel restrictions, allowing the Pirate boys to go into the Christmas break with an unbeaten (5-0) record. The cancelled Salida game has been rescheduled for Feb. 5 in Pagosa Springs.

“I told the boys that they needed to be prepared and I don’t know if they listened,” said Coach Randy Sorenson. “Sargent is an athletic team and they can shoot the ball. It was a real battle.”

Commenting on his team’s lack of consistency, Sorenson said, “We’ve been struggling in the first two quarters but then coming back for a strong third quarter. It seems all season that the third has been our quarter. But then, we give up too many points in the fourth quarter.”

Although the Pirates led the first quarter 12-7, they were held to just two points in the second and, with Sargent scoring seven points of their own, the teams went into the half with a 14-14 tie.

However, the Pirates gained significant ground in the third, outscoring the Farmers 16-5 to enter the final period with a 30-19 lead. While Sargent outscored the Pirates 20-16 in the fourth, it was not enough to overcome the Pirates’ strong showing in the previous period, allowing Pagosa to head home with the 46-39 win.

Zerek Jones led the Pirates in scoring with 16 points, followed by Zach Lucero with 11 points (also, tying his brother Kain, leading the team with five assists) and finishing with Tyson Ross who scored nine points and led the team with two steals.

When asked if he would be looking to create more consistency across quarters during Christmas break practice, Sorenson said, “Yes. We need to be more consistent, we just go through those lapses and we need to figure out how to get over that.”

Asked how the team would achieve more consistency, Sorenson said, “First of all, we need to overcome our slow starts. I don’t know if the guys are just not prepared when we go out there, but we need to figure out how to get off to a good start.”

Sorenson also said that, “I think we’re going to play more players, get some kids to step up and produce, give them a shot at playing.”

Whereas the Pirate boys struggled to pull off a tidy victory in Sargent, the girls had no such problems. With an indomitable defense that held the Farmers to single digits in all four quarters (and just a single point in the fourth) and a seemingly unstoppable offense, the Pirates were never in danger of giving up the game against the sorely mismatched Sargent team.

Leaving the half with a 29-13 lead after outscoring the Farmers 14-5 in the first quarter and 15-8 in the second, the Pirates went into the final quarter with a big 50-20 lead after outscoring their opponents 21-7 in the third.

With Coach Wes Lewis given the opportunity to flood the floor with second stringers in the final period, the younger girls proved their mettle on defense, preventing any scoring from the field, the Farmers gaining just one point from the free-throw line. With the Pirates scoring 10 more points in the quarter, Pagosa left Sargent with a clear 60-21 victory.

“We played really good D (defense), again,” said Lewis.

Breezy Bryant led the Pirates in scoring with 22 points followed by Mary Brinton with 20 points. Brooklyn DuCharme finished third with six points followed by Taylor Strohecker and Emily Bryant with four points each, Magan Kraetsch and Sienna Stretton each logging in two points.

With both the boys and girls at 5-0 in December, the Pirates will return from a long Christmas break with two road games, facing the 4A Demons in Durango on Jan. 6, then travelling to Salida to face the 3A Spartans.

While the girls easily matched the Demons during Thanksgiving week scrimmages, the 5-2 Durango team will not be looking to allow a 3A team (ranked second in state) to beat them on their home court.

Furthermore, Lewis said that the Demons were missing “some of their bigs” during the November scrimmage, adding, “They’re going to be a totally different team this time. I expect it to be a real battle ... probably the toughest team we’ve faced this season.”

Although the boys will face a 2-5 Demon squad that has shown anything but a consistent level of play this season, Sorenson conceded that it should be a tough game.

Sorenson also said his boys need to be prepared Jan. 8 when the Pirates face the 3-1 Spartans in Salida. Considering the Spartans defeated the Gunnison Cowboys by a six-point margin on Dec. 7 — two points better than the margin by which the Pirates defeated the Cowboys on Dec. 11 — the two teams should be well matched.

“I think they’ll play us man (defense) and try to press us,” said the coach. “I think we need to be prepared for that and handle the ball well.”

While Sorenson said that the Cowboys’ 35 turnovers had been a significant factor in the Spartan’s Dec. 7 victory, he added that the Pirates shouldn’t assume an easy victory — apparently a psychological factor in Friday’s narrow victory in Sargent.

jim@pagosasun.com