The Pagosa Springs Pirates chalked up their sixth win of the season last Friday night against the Ignacio Bobcats, and even though they are ranked second in the state in Class 3A and they had the home court advantage, this ended up being their closest game so far this year with a final score of 53-50.
“The game against Ignacio turned out to be about what we expected,” coach Randy Sorenson said. “Pagosa-Ignacio games are always very competitive and the score is usually close. This was an exciting basketball game and both teams had a chance to win. I think the fans got their money’s worth.”
The Bobcats jumped to an early lead and by the end of the first quarter, they were ahead 17-8. By the end of the half, the Pirates still hadn’t clawed all the way back and the Bobcats were leading 24-23.
“We dug ourselves a deep hole early,” Sorenson admitted, “but luckily we found a way to dig ourselves out of it. We got behind 17 to 6 early and it took us the rest of the game to get caught up.”
Readers can only imagine what the halftime speech was like in the Pirate locker room, but when the the team took the court for the third quarter, they finally began to pull ahead, earning 16 more points while only giving up 11. The final quarter was the closest of all, with the Bobcats earning one more point than the Pirates, 15-14.
“Ignacio has a good team and they played well,” Sorenson conceded. “Coach Valdez always has them ready to play.”
However, even though it kept going back and forth, and it was either team’s game all the way to the bitter end, the 53-50 victory finally went to the Pirates.
“Our team never gave up,” Sorenson explained. “They continued to fight and again they found a way to win. This was a big win for us and it is nice to go into the break on a winning note. It would have been a very long three weeks if we would not have found a way to win.”
Kain Lucero was the leading scorer with four three-pointers, two two-pointers and three out of five free-throws, for a total of 19. He also had three assists. Dean Hampton had 13 points and six assists, Zachariah Griego had eight points and two assists, Quinn Smith had seven points, and Garek Erskine had six and three assists.
“Again, we struggled defending on the perimeter and we turned the ball over too much,” Sorenson confessed. “These are a couple of the things that we will continue to work on during the break.”
While the team had a total of 15 turnovers, Erskine led the defensive effort with eight rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Lucero only had one rebound but he did get four steals. Griego had two rebounds and one steal. Hampton had one rebound and two steals. Smith and Luke DeVooght each had one rebound.
“Hopefully we will continue to get better during the break,” Sorenson said. “Our schedule continues to be tough as we come out of the break. We have a long streak of road games and we are going to have to play well to get some wins during this time.”
The Pirates hit the road to play the Sargent Farmers on Jan.11, The Del Norte Tigers on Jan. 12, the Durango Demons on Jan. 15, the Centauri Falcons on Jan. 19, the Ignacio Bobcats again on Jan. 22, the Bayfield Wolverines on Jan. 25, and the Alamosa Maroons on Feb. 1, before finally returning to their home court to face the Monte Vista Pirates on Feb. 2.
“We are looking forward to the rest of the season and to starting league play,” Sorenson concluded. “The kids have done lots of good things early in the season and we are very proud of them. They are a special group.”