The Pagosa Springs Pirates are a young team this year, having only one senior on the roster, and their lack of experience was prominent last week as the boys suffered a series of losses.
The Pirates went the distance and then some against the Farmers last Thursday, taking the game all the way through two overtime periods, but it wasn’t quite enough to secure the victory.
The boys dominated early in the game, doubling the Farmers’ score in the first quarter, 10-5, but then lost their momentum in the next two quarters where they were outscored 13-11 and 11-8. At the end of the third quarter the score was tied at 29, and the fourth quarter became a defensive battle with each team only scoring three more points.
With a 32-32 tie, the first overtime period saw both teams scoring six more points, throwing the game into one more overtime period. However, the Pirates couldn’t hold on, only scoring three more points while allowing the Farmers six, for a final score of 44-41.
“In the game against Sargent we got off to a pretty good start,” coach Randy Sorenson explained. “We led at the end of the first quarter and at halftime, but then we only managed to score eight points in the third quarter and three in the fourth.”
Briar Erskine led the scoring for the Pirates with 13 points, including one out of three free throws.
Trey Spears scored seven with one of two from the free-throw line, while Luke DeVooght had an 83-percent success rate from the stripe — five out of six — and Tate Drane went two for two. Ben Bard, Keaton Smyth and James Berndt also each scored four points.
“We had chances to win at the end of regulation,” Sorenson pointed out, “and at the end of the first overtime, but we were unable to get it done.”
Erskine also led the defense with nine rebounds and two blocked shots, while Bard had seven rebounds and DeVooght had four rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot.
“Defensively, we basically allowed one kid to beat us,” the coach admitted, “allowing him to score twenty-six points.”
The team had a total of 14 turnovers.
“It was a very disappointing loss,” Sorenson summarized.
Saturday’s match up against the Falcons followed a similar pattern.
“The Centauri game was actually closer than the final score appeared,” Sorenson argued. “We played a strong first half and led at halftime.”
While Centauri jumped into the lead in the first quarter, 15-11, Pagosa rallied in the second quarter and was ahead by two going into halftime, 26-24.
“We came out flat for some reason in the third quarter,” the coach continued, “and gave up four three-point field goals early in the third quarter.”
The Falcons outscored the Pirates 20-6 in the third quarter, and the Pirates were unable to stem the tide in the final quarter, when they were outscored 15-2.
“Once they gained the lead,” Sorenson said, “they basically went into their delay game so we had to try and get out and pressure them. This allowed them to beat us off of the dribble for easy layups or to dish to open guys for easy buckets.”
DeVooght put in a valiant effort, coming down with eight rebounds, stealing the ball twice and blocking one shot, but nothing could stop the Falcons once they got rolling. Bard managed seven rebounds, James Pongsalee got credit for six and Erskine had two.
“We had to foul and hope they would miss some free throws,” the coach explained, “so that we could get the ball back and try to score, but they made eight out of ten free throws in the fourth quarter and we were never able to get back into the game.”
Bard scored the most points for the Pirates with 14, while Pongsalee and DeVooght each earned six and Spears put one in from outside the three-point circle.
“We played without Keaton (Smyth) due to a foot injury,” Sorenson said, “and Trey (Spears) hurt his ribs during the game, so we were a little shorthanded.”
The Pirates gave up 16 turnovers, more than the totals from the Del Norte and Sargent games, but still not as bad as the turnover rate from the first part of the season.
“Centauri is a good basketball team and our kids battled until the end,” the coach concluded. “Our kids never gave up.”
Tuesday night’s 59-38 loss to the Bobcats was the latest in the three-game losing streak for the Pirates.
“We came out and played a little scared,” Sorenson confided, “and we got behind. I think it was fifteen to two early in the game.”
In fact, the Bobcats outscored the Pirates 15-2 in the first quarter and 15-7 in the second, giving them a 21-point lead at the half.
The action evened out in the second half, with the Pirates scoring 15 in the third while allowing 14, but in the fourth quarter those numbers reverse — the Pirates scored 14 and allowed 15.
“Ignacio is a really good basketball team,” the coach confirmed. “They’re ranked number one in the state in 2A. They’ve played together a long time and are really well coached.”
None of the Pirates managed to score in the double digits. DeVooght put up nine, Spears seven (including one three-pointer) and Bard six. As a whole, the Pirates went 14 out of 18 from the free-throw line.
“We’ve just got some young kids,” Sorenson admitted, “and it’s going to take some time to get some experience and some playing time. I think the kids are doing some nice stuff.”
On defense, Spears pulled down six rebounds and Erskine and DeVooght each grabbed four. DeVooght also had two steals and one block, while Erskine had two blocks.
“We just have to come out and play better early,” the coach concluded. “Right now it seems like we are coming out flat. We go through spurts where we just aren’t playing well. We need to limit that. Hopefully we can get steadier. We need to play with more confidence.”
The Pirates will host the Bayfield Wolverines in the Pagosa Springs High School gymnasium at 7 p.m. tomorrow night. The Wolverines have a 6-4 record overall and 1-0 in league action. They are ranked 21st in the state 3A division, while the Pirates are ranked 44th.