The Pagosa Springs Pirates boys’ basketball team chalked up its second victory of the season last Saturday night, more than doubling the points they allowed the Del Norte Tigers to score against them on the home court.
“We did a lot of good things against Del Norte,” Head Coach Randy Sorenson explained, “but we feel like we have a lot to improve on.”
The end of the first quarter saw the Pirates leading 21-14, and that was the closest the Tigers ever got. By the end of the first half the score was 44-23, and after halftime the Tigers were held to six points in the third quarter and five in the fourth, while the Pirates scored 12 more in the third and 15 in the fourth, making the final score a solid 71-34 win.
However, the numbers don’t tell the full story.
“The game was sloppy at times,” Sorenson admitted. “Del Norte wanted to keep the game at a slow pace whereas we like to speed up the game. We tried to force the tempo early by pressing and we were able to get some turnovers early in the game that led to a couple of easy baskets.”
Garek Erskine led the defense with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Quinn Smith had nine rebounds and Dean Hampton had three rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot.
“But some of our starters got into early foul trouble,” Sorenson said, “so we had to get out of the press. We did not adjust to the way the officials were calling the game and that hurt us. We still need a lot of work defensively; we tend to play with our hands instead of our feet.”
At the other end of the court Erskine also led the scoring with 14 points, including two out of five free throws, followed by Kain Lucero with 12 points, and Smith and DeAngelo Guthrie each with 11 points.
“We were not as sharp offensively as we would like to be,” Sorenson continued. “We did not execute our offensive sets like we were hoping to, and that was one of our goals for this game.”
On the other hand, the Pirates only had nine turnovers.
“Overall, we are still very proud of the kids,” Sorenson concluded, “and they are continually getting better.”
This weekend, the Pirates travel to Buena Vista for the BVHS varsity invitational tournament, where they are matched up with the Knights from Denver Science and Tech Stapleton at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 14. Then, the next day, the Pirates face the Buena Vista Demons at 11:30 a.m. and finish up the tournament against the Jefferson Academy Jaguars at 5:30 p.m.
The tournament, “should be a very telling one for us,” Sorenson explained, “and all three games will be tough.”
Denver Science and Tech is ranked 24 in the state 3A division, but has only played one game so far this season, a 72-64 win against the Lutheran Lions.
“They have some talented players,” Sorenson admitted, “and they are getting better all of the time. We have not seen them play this year, but they came down to Pagosa for the playoffs last year.” Even though the Knights lost to Kent Denver in the first post-season game last year, the score was close, and Kent Denver went on to play in the championship game at the state tournament.
“On Saturday morning, we play Buena Vista,” Sorenson continued. “We know a lot more about them, as we have played them every year for the last few years. They are well coached and defensively they usually run a good 1-3-1 zone and zone trap. Their football team played in the state championship football game and they were missing kids until football was over, so they might be a little behind right now, but Coach Crites will have them ready to play.”
Finally, on Saturday evening, the Pirates play Jefferson Academy. The Jaguars are currently ranked fourth in the state in the 3A division, according to the Denver Post coaches’ poll.
“We don’t know a lot about them as of now,” Sorenson confessed, “but we will be able to see them play on Friday, and hopefully get a good scouting report on them. We will definitely have to play a great game to get a win.”
The Pirates are ranked eighth in the state 3A division, according to both the Denver Post and CBS Sports’ MaxPreps website.
“We are excited about the opportunity to go to Buena Vista and play these teams,” Sorenson finished. “It will give us a chance to see some teams from a different part of the state, teams that we don’t normally see until the playoffs. It is a great opportunity for us to see how we compare with some of the best teams in the state. It should be interesting.”