The Lady Pirates are just over a week away from beginning the 2012-13 basketball season for Pagosa Springs High School, and several familiar faces are slated to take to the court for the team.
The ladies start their season against the Sanford Indians (although the school is listed in the 1A classification by CHSAA, the team is part of the 2A Southern Peaks League) on Nov. 30 in Sanford.
“I feel like the kids have worked really, really hard thus far,” Coach Wes Lewis said. “I’m really liking what we’re seeing.”
Lewis said he thinks the team is shooting well, working to the inside well and has a press that the coach states, “will give people fits.”
Leading the team on the court are five familiar faces who saw significant playing time last year.
“Our first five is very, very solid,” Lewis said, beginning with Haleigh Zenz, the team’s lone senior.
“She really worked hard in the off-season and she’s looking really solid,” Lewis said, highlighting Zenz’s shooting, ball handling and leadership.
Serving as co-captain alongside Zenz (as voted by her peers) for the upcoming season is junior Emily Bryant, whom Lewis dubbed the team’s best defender and one of its best shooters, as well as being the team’s second-best rebounder last season.
“Boy, she’s just strong in every aspect of the game,” Lewis said of Bryant.
Joining these two in the starting lineup is returning point guard Anissa Lucero, with Lucero’s shooting and ball handling highlighted by Lewis.
The team’s leading rebounder from last season is also slated to take the court as a starter on Nov. 30 — 6-2 junior Taylor Strohecker. In addition to being the team’s leading rebounder, Strohecker was second in scoring last year.
“She’s working hard and looking really good, as well,” Lewis said.
Rounding out the starting five on the team is sophomore Payton Shahan.
“She’s just a year older, a year stronger,” Lewis said. “She knows the system better. She’s a really, really athletic kid.”
Others vying for varsity playing time this year are junior transfer Kelly Goodell, sophomores Morgan Schaaf, Shannel Wilson and Page Lloyd, and freshman guards Taylor Hammer-Lee and Madison Lewis.
The Lady Pirates will look to start the season with a bang against the Sanford Indians and 2A Del Norte Tigers before beginning 3A play by taking on one of the top 3A opponents in the state — Denver Science and Tech — at the Buena Vista tournament.
“We’ve got more 2A opponents on our schedule than we like,” Lewis said, citing scheduling problems, but noted that the team’s schedule has changed several times already, such as moving the Ignacio game previously scheduled for Dec. 7 to Dec. 21, with the game against Durango moved from that date to Dec. 20.
Because of the early-season changes, Lewis is urging fans to double check the schedule before heading to a game.