The Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirates rang in 2012 with two wins, bettering their record to 7-1, but the real challenges on the year have yet to come.
The first win of the 2012 portion of the season came against 4A Durango High School.
Pirate Emily Bryant was the first to find the net on the night, but Durango matched with a basket of their own minutes later.
A free throw by Taylor Strohecker, however, would be the last lead the Pirates would have until midway through the second quarter.
The Demons would go on to outscore the Pirates in the first quarter 8-5.
Pagosa rebounded, outscoring Durango in the three remaining quarters, including a 16-4 score differential in the second quarter, giving the Pirates a 21-12 lead at the half.
The Pirates would continue to outscore the Demons in the final two quarters, 10-9 and 5-4, respectively, giving them a final lead of 36-25.
Coach Wes Lewis said the team did well in the second quarter and “OK” in the third quarter, but added he thought the team didn’t execute very well down the stretch, with some “unfortunate” turnovers late in the game.
Only two Pirates reached double digit score contributions in the game — Brooklyn DuCharme with 12 (including a 2-for-4 night at the free throw line), and Strohecker with 10 (also going 2-for-4 from the stripe on the day).
Payton Shahan followed closely behind Strohecker with nine points (3-for-5 on free throws), while Bryant tallied one field goal and a 2-for-2 night with free throws. Haleigh Zenz contributed a free throw.
On the night, the Pirates found the net from the charity stripe 53 percent of the time, going 10-for-19.
On the positive, the Pirates notched 12 steals on the night, matching their season average — four by DuCharme (who has 26 on the season), three by Elle McGinn, two by Bryant and one each from Shahan, Anissa Lucero and Strohecker.
The Pirates tallied 16 turnovers in the game.
Bryant led with eight rebounds on the night, while Strohecker followed suit with seven. McGinn rebounded four times, DuCharme and Shahan rebounded three times each, and Zenz and Lucero contribute one rebound apiece.
“I’m certainly proud of the girls, proud of the effort,” Lewis said.
Saturday, the team made their way to Salida for a second matchup, coming home with a 2-0 record against the Spartans this season, despite what Lewis described as uncharacteristically unfocused play.
“We never could get in a rhythm,” Lewis said. “We never could get in a groove.”
Lewis noted that, while the Spartans played better on their home court, his team had an off night, missing numerous shots inside the paint, being uncharacteristically out of position, and showing poor mental preparation for the game.
Nevertheless, the Pirates walked away with a 27-22 win over Salida to better their record to 7-1.
“It was an ugly win, but I guess we’ll take it,” Lewis said.
In the game, Shahan led with nine points.
Other stats for the game were not available by presstime.
Now, the Pirates hope to rebound on the court before taking on what are considered to be their two toughest league opponents and beginning the conference-heavy portion of their schedule.
This weekend, then, will be key to determining if the Pirates can repeat for the third straight year as league and district champions.
Pagosa has not lost a league game in two years.
“Teams are gunning for us, I guarantee it,” Lewis said.
Friday, the 7-1 Pirates head to La Jara to face off against the 9-1 Centauri Falcons.
The Pirates are currently the sixth-ranked 3A basketball team in Colorado, followed by Centauri at number eight, according to Colorado Preps.
The teams will take to the court at 5:30 p.m. in La Jara.
Saturday, Pagosa hosts the 4-2 Bayfield Wolverines, who were the early season pick to take the league title, Lewis said.
Bayfield’s two losses on the season came at the hands of Piedra Vista and 4A Delta.
Action at Pagosa Springs High School starts at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s a big game for us,” Lewis said, adding, “Both of them.”