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Lady Pirates break into state rankings

Add three wins to the books.

Coming off a league loss to the Bayfield Wolverines the previous weekend, the Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirates began another win streak over the weekend, beginning Friday night with a 27-16 victory over the Alamosa Mean Moose.

The win came at a slow pace, offensively speaking, however.

By the end of the first quarter, the Pirates led by five — outscoring the Mean Moose 6-1.

Pagosa broke into double digits by the end of the second quarter, taking a 10-9 lead into half time.

Offense continued to be slow in the third quarter, with the Pirates adding four points and the Moose tallying two.

It was in the fourth quarter that the Pirates scored nearly half of their points on the night — outscoring Alamosa by a count of 13-5.

The lion’s share of the points on the night came from the hands of Taylor Strohecker, who contributed 18.

Brooklyn DuCharme added six points, including two from the free-throw line.

Haleigh Zenz contributed two from the free throw line and Emily Bryant added one from the charity stripe.

On the night, the Pirates went only 5-for-14 on free throws.

Bryant led the team in rebounding with six, while DuCharme rebounded five. Five other Pirates rounded out the team’s rebound total at 21 on the night.

Bryant and DuCharme also led the team in steals for the game, with six and four, respectively. The team’s steal total landed at 16 on the night, while Alamosa totaled 19 in the back-and-forth game.

“We were a little sluggish on offense, to say the least,” Coach Wes Lewis said, adding that the team’s defense was enough to keep them in the game.

The next night, Pagosa took on the Monte Vista Pirates in Monte Vista, again coming home victorious.

Monte Vista outpaced the visiting Pirates 9-8 in the first quarter, but Pagosa turned the game around in the second quarter and outscored Monte Vista 13-5 to lead 21-14 at the half.

Though Monte Vista was able to record double digit quarters in the latter half of the game (13 and 11), it was not enough to match the visiting Pirates, who notched 11 and 12 points in the latter quarters for a 44-38 win.

Bryant and Strohecker led the scoring effort with 11 points each during the game.

Bryant’s night included a 3-for-7 stint on free throws. Bryant also rebounded six times in the game and recorded four steals.

Strohecker contributed 10 of 11 points from the floor, hitting her only free throw attempt on the night.

DuCharme followed Bryant with 10 points, including a 4-for-6 night with rebounds. DuCharme led in steals with seven, and rebounded three times.

Anissa Lucero and Haleigh Zenz each tallied five points on the night, with Lucero’s points coming solely from a 5-for-7 night on free throws.

Rounding out the scoring, Payton Shahan contributed two.

Lewis indicated he was happy with the win, with the Monte Vista defense always effective on their home court.

“I do think the girls played very well down the stretch,” he said, noting the free throws near the end of the game that sealed the win for Pagosa.

Tuesday, Pagosa hosted the reigning 2A state champions and current No. 4-ranked 2A team — the Sanford Indians.

The match was evenly paced throughout, with no more than five points separating the teams at any point.

The Pirates held a slight lead after the first quarter, 10-8, but took a one-point deficit into the half, with a score of 16-17.

By the end of the third quarter, the evenness of the match was apparent, with 25 on both sides of the scoreboard.

With the crowd energy high, the teams continued the close battle in the fourth quarter (complete with five timeouts between the teams), with the Pirates edging out the Indians by a final score of 34-29, though the Indians were within one shot of a tie in the game’s final minutes.

“That was a big win for us,” Lewis said, adding that the majority of the members of the state championship team returned for the Indians. “It was a real dog fight.”

In the game, Strohecker and Lucero led the team with 10 points each, while DuCharme added eight, Bryant added five and Shahan added one.

Lewis also noted the Pirates’ defensive effort and ability to hold Indian senior Tori Mortensen to only nine points — roughly one-third of the amount she’s proven she’s capable of scoring per game.

The weekend’s wins landed the Pirates back in the Colorado Preps 3A rankings, this time at No. 10, according to rankings released Monday.

Within the Intermountain League, the 10-2 Pirates sit in second, behind Bayfield, which stands at 3-0 in conference play.

Pagosa holds a 3-1 conference record, with the loss coming at the hands of the Wolverines.

Centauri and Alamosa follow, with 1-2 records, while Monte Vista has yet to win a league match, at 0-3.

This weekend’s matchup is between the No. 10 Pirates and No. 8 Wolverines — a matchup key to the Pirates’ defense of their league (and district) title — Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Bayfield.

“It’s a big one for us with Bayfield,” Lewis said. “We would sure like to go over there and be successful.”

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