The Pagosa Springs varsity boys’ basketball team launched their season with a 61-43 victory over the Sanford Indians in the season opener last Friday night in Sanford.
“Even though it was our first game of the year, we felt it was a big game for us,” Coach Randy Sorensen explained. “We felt that it was really important to get the season started on a good note and the kids did that.”
The Pirates dominated the first three quarters of the game, outscoring the Indians 19-10 in the first, 14-9 in the second, and 18-11 in the third. They didn’t slow down until the final quarter, when they only scored 10 compared to Sanford’s 13.
“As I said last week,” Sorensen continued, “Sanford is a good team that is well coached, they play hard, and they have some talented players. We feel very good about getting out of there with a win. They have a lot of tradition and that is a tough place to play.”
Kain Lucero led the scoring for the Pirates with 23 points—seven two-point field goals, one three-pointer, and six out of seven free-throws. Zachariah Griego was next with 12 points, followed by Dean Hampton with 10. All three players are seniors this year.
“The older kids did a really nice job of playing their roles and of being leaders on the court,” Sorensen said. “We were able to get our running game going and we really shared the ball, so we were able to not only get baskets in transition, but scores out of our set offenses. Lots of good things happen when we share the ball and get everyone involved.”
On defense, senior Garek Erskine led with 10 rebounds and five blocked shots, while senior Quinn Smith had six rebounds and Hampton had two rebounds and six steals.
“We felt that we rebounded the ball pretty well,” Sorensen admitted, “but we can still do a better job of that. Our defense was better, but we still need to improve in that area. We have players that can defend if they will just decide to do that.”
Briar Erskine, the only freshman on the varsity team, scored five points and had three rebounds. Sophomores Tate Drane and Keaton Smyth were the other non-seniors.
“We are really proud of the younger kids, as most of them were playing in their first varsity game ever and they did a good job,” Sorenson explained. “We got some good minutes out of them so that we were able to give our starters a couple of minutes of rest at times. If those kids will keep getting better, it will be a huge asset to our team.”
The Pirates will face the Del Norte Tigers Saturday night here at Pagosa Springs High School. The Tigers have already played three games — losing 80-34 to Centauri, winning 56-40 against Antonito, and winning 50-44 against Sangre de Cristo — and will have two more under their belt by the time they play the Pirates, one against Alamosa today and the other against Sierra Grande tomorrow.
“This week, we are concentrating on getting better defensively, trying to get in better shape, and to learn our offensive sets and specials in greater detail,” Sorenson outlined. “We have not played Del Norte in the last few years, so we don’t know much about them, especially this early in the year, but we know that they will be doing their very best to try and beat us in our own gym.
“We are looking forward to our first home game of the year and hopefully the fans will come out and support both the boys and girls teams.”