After an away game in Monte Vista on Feb. 21, the boys’ basketball season ended in Pagosa Country with a bang Monday night as the Pirates were finally able to host the Centauri Falcons after two previous cancellations due to inclement weather.
“Monte Vista played a good defensive game against us,” Coach Randy Sorenson explained, “but we also had a good defensive game, so that allowed us to get the victory.”
Pagosa took the lead early with a 15-7 score at the end of the first quarter, but Monte began to rally in the second quarter and outscored Pagosa 9-7. However, the trend did not continue after halftime, where Pagosa outscored Monte 15-6 in the third quarter and 15-13 in the fourth, for a final score of 52-35.
“It was not a very pretty game,” Sorenson admitted, “but the kids kept battling and competing and found a way to win.”
Zachariah Griego and Dean Hampton tied for high score with 12 points each, while Kain Lucero scored 11, Garek Erskine made seven, Quinn Smith got six, and DeAngelo Guthrie managed 4.
On defense, Erskine had 10 rebounds, one steal, and seven blocked shots. Griego grabbed seven rebounds, while Hampton got five and stole the ball three times.
The Centauri Falcons
“The Centauri game was another outstanding basketball game,” Sorenson said.
The Pirates jumped ahead 17-11 in the first quarter but began to slip in the second, allowing the Falcons 11 points while only earning 10 themselves.
“We were able to get up early in the game but Centauri kept fighting and they closed the gap by halftime,” Sorenson explained. “We were able to extend the lead in the third quarter, but again Centauri fought back and they cut the lead to three late in the game. Luckily we were able to hold on.”
After the half, the Pirates continued to charge ahead, scoring 16 and giving up 11, but things began to fall apart in the last quarter, and the Falcons nearly closed the gap, outscoring the Pirates, 16-9.
A Hail Mary toss from mid-court at the buzzer bobbled around the rim of Centauri’s basket for a heart-pounding, suspended moment of time, threatening to tie the score and send the game into overtime, but the ball finally did the right thing and bounced out.
“We had a ten point lead with a couple of minutes to go in the game,” Sorenson elaborated. “We went in to our delay game, but we were zero for eight from the free-throw line during that time and they hit some shots. If a last second three pointer by them would have stayed down the game would have gone into overtime. Not making those free throws could have very easily cost us the game.”
Hampton managed to earn 14 points and Lucero scored 13, while Griego and Smith tied with 10 each and Luke Devooght made three. As of press time the stats had not been broken down any further, so no information was available on how many three-pointers or free throws were made by each player.
On the other end of the court, Erskine grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five of Centauri’s shots, while Griego managed to pull down three rebounds.
“Centauri is a good team and they played well,” Sorenson admitted. “They have a bunch of athletic kids and they played tough, physical defense. They made it tough on us.”
The final score was 52-49.
“Bayfield beat Monte Vista in the pigtail game,” Sorenson said of Tuesday night IML action, “so we will play Bayfield in Alamosa in the first round of the league tournament.” That game is scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow night.
“Alamosa and Centauri will play that same night,” Sorenson said, “Then the two winners and two losers will play on Saturday to determine seedings into the top 32 teams in the state.”
In the 3A Intermountain League the Pirates are listed first with a 7-1 record (17-2 overall), followed by Alamosa with 5-3 (13-6 overall), Centauri with 5-3 (14-5 overall), and Monte Vista with 3-5 (10-10 overall). Bayfield is last with a 0-8 league record and 3-17 overall, but since the Wolverines defeated Monte in the pigtail, they will get a shot at the post-season action.
“The league tournament winner automatically gets to host the games the next weekend,” Sorenson finished, “so it would be a huge advantage to win the league tournament. It is easier said than done, though, so we will have to play really well to allow that to happen.”
The Pirates are ranked second in the state for the 3A division behind Kent Denver from Englewood. Centauri is ranked eighth and Alamosa is 12th.