The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates may have fallen prey to the Centauri Falcons in Saturday night’s league championship game in Alamosa, but the playoff picture is still firmly in tact, with Pagosa hosting the first two rounds of the state tournament this weekend.
The Pirates will enter the tournament as the sixth-seeded team in the girls’ 3A bracket.
“I think that our body of work warranted what we got,” coach Wes Lewis said of the Pirates’ seeding for the tournament. “It definitely helps to play at home.”
With that seeding, the Pirates now take on 27-seeded. The University, from Westminster, at 6 p.m. Friday, March 8.
The winner of that game will then take on the winner of Lamar (the 11 seed) and Salida (the 22 seed), on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Lamar and Salida face off Friday at 2 p.m.
Lewis said it has been difficult to get information about the Academy Wildcats, who have an 11-12 season record and finished sixth in the Frontier League, but that they are the Pirates’ first priority.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re successful Friday before we worry about Saturday,” Lewis said, adding, “We’ve got to worry about Academy first and foremost, or there will be no Saturday.”
Beyond that game, Lewis said the Lady Pirates will be in attendance for the Lamar-Salida matchup, with the hopes of facing one of the two teams Saturday.
The Lamar Savages are 19-3 on the season, and won the Tri-Peaks- East conference with a 13-1 conference record.
“I’d say Lamar is certainly a very good basketball team that got upset in the district tournament,” Lewis said. “They’re a good basketball team. I think we’re capable of beating them.”
The Salida Spartans own a 13-10 record on the season and finished third in the Tri-Peaks-West conference.
“Salida’s young, playing better and better all the time,” Lewis said.
Records aside, Lewis noted the Pirates will have to play well to emerge victorious from the weekend and advance to Great-8 competition.
En route to hosting this weekend’s tournament, the Pirates defeated the Bayfield Wolverines and fell to the Centauri Falcons at the district tournament in Alamosa last weekend.
The Pirates defeated Bayfield by a score of 39-26 Thursday, earning the right to play Centauri Saturday.
The Pirates were down early against the Wolverines, being outscored 4-7 in the first quarter, but outscored or matched the Wolverines in each remaining quarter (9-4, 12-1 and 14-14) to take the win.
“I thought we played pretty good in the second half against Bayfield,” Lewis said.
In the game, Emily Bryant led with 13 points, followed by Anissa Lucero with 12 (helped by her two three-pointers). Taylor Strohecker and Payton Shahan each scored six in the game, and Madison Lewis notched two.
The team went 13-for-18 from the free-throw line.
Strohecker led the team with 9 rebounds, also notching one block and one assist.
Shahan followed with four rebounds, one steal and one assist. Madison Lewis and Haleigh Zenz each had three rebounds, with Madison Lewis adding two steals and one assist and Zenz adding one assist.
Emily Bryant rebounded twice, also tallying two steals and two assists. Anissa Lucero rounded out the Pirates with one rebound, one steal and one assist.
The team recorded 17 turnovers in the game.
With that win in the books, the Pirates took on the Falcons Saturday in the district championship — the only league team to have defeated the Pirates this season (the teams each defeated the other once this season).
The game favored Pagosa at the end of the first half, with the Pirates outscoring the Falcons 10-7 and 10-8 in the first two quarters to hold a 20-15 lead.
It was the third quarter, though, that momentum shifted to favor Centauri. In the quarter, Centauri outscored Pagosa 14-7, including hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Falcons went on to outscore the Pirates 6-3 in the final quarter of the game, winning by a score of 30-35 with the help of a Falcon three-pointer just before the final buzzer.
Calling the game a, “defensive juggernaut,” Lewis said his team played well, but also had some turnovers and missed opportunities.
While no other stats were available for the game by Wednesday morning, Lewis pointed out that Centauri was 72 percent on free throws, while the Pirates were only successful 45 percent of the time.
Centauri is entering this weekend’s top-32 play as the state’s No. 1 3A team.