Pirates win one, lose one in Wolf Creek Classic

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SUN photo/Mike Pierce Isaiah Griego (5) battles his way through a crowd of Demons and shoots as Ty Kimsey (4) prepares for the rebound during Saturday afternoon’s 61-54 loss to Buena Vista. Griego’s real talent during the game, however, was on defense, where he pulled down 15 rebounds and grabbed two steals.
SUN photo/Mike Pierce
Isaiah Griego (5) battles his way through a crowd of Demons and shoots as Ty Kimsey (4) prepares for the rebound during Saturday afternoon’s 61-54 loss to Buena Vista. Griego’s real talent during the game, however, was on defense, where he pulled down 15 rebounds and grabbed two steals.

The Pagosa Springs Pirates hosted the Wolf Creek Classic tournament last weekend, where they took on the Gunnison Cowboys Friday night and then faced the Buena Vista Demons the next afternoon.

The Friday night game began with the Pirates jumping to an early lead over the Cowboys, ending the first quarter 17-5. The pace slowed a bit in the second quarter, but the Pirates continued to expand the lead and the score was 26-11 by halftime.

“We played a pretty good game against Gunnison,” coach Randy Sorenson explained in an email. “Early in the game we were able to get some turnovers out of our pressure defense and to convert baskets out of the turnovers.”

After the break, the Pirates scored 17 more in the third quarter and 13 in the final quarter, while only giving up 12 and six, respectively, making the final score 56-29.

“We were able to get an early lead and to maintain this lead throughout the game,” the coach continued. “We were well balanced in scoring and played well as a team. It was a good win.”

Ben Bard led the offense with 15 points, including three out of four from the free-throw line, while Isaiah Griego scored nine points and hit one out of two free throws. Luke DeVooght and L. J. Smith both had seven points total and made three from the charity stripe, while Keaton Smyth and Ty Kimsey scored five points each. Briar Erskine, Bryce Jacquez, Keaton Laverty and Mike Kuhl also contributed to the win.

On the other end of the court, DeVooght led the defense with eight rebounds and two steals, while Griego pulled down seven rebounds and grabbed two steals. Josh Lane had four rebounds and one steal, while Smyth had three rebounds and one steal.

One stat that improved quite a bit compared to the previous week was turnovers. The Pirates only turned the ball over 11 times total against the Cowboys, whereas in the game against Ignacio last Tuesday they committed 20 turnovers.

The next afternoon, however, the Pirates weren’t quite as successful when they took the court against the Demons.

“Unfortunately on Saturday afternoon we were not able to play as well,” Sorenson admitted, “and we lost to Buena Vista.”

Pagosa started out with a 12-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, but by halftime the score was tied at 24 each. Then, in the second half, the Pirates were outscored through both quarters, allowing the Demons to jump ahead, 16-12 in the third and 21-18 in the fourth, for a final score of 61-54.

“Buena Vista played a good game,” the coach conceded, “and they made some shots at critical times that really hurt us. I believe that we were not mentally prepared to play.”

On defense, Griego was the only one to really shine, with 15 rebounds and two steals, while DeVooght and Smith each had five rebounds and Smyth had four.

“We played flat,” Sorenson stated, “and our defense was not good at all.”

SUN photo/Mike Pierce Keaton Smyth (2) blows past the Demon defenders and puts one up during the Pirates 61-54 loss to Buena Vista last Saturday afternoon. Smyth made two baskets from outside the three-point line and went two-for-two from the charity stripe.
SUN photo/Mike Pierce
Keaton Smyth (2) blows past the Demon defenders and puts one up during the Pirates 61-54 loss to Buena Vista last Saturday afternoon. Smyth made two baskets from outside the three-point line and went two-for-two from the charity stripe.

As to offense, Smith led with 11 points, but only made three out of 10 from the free-throw line, while Smyth made two three-pointers and went two for two from the free-throw line. DeVooght also made a total of eight points, including one from outside the three-point circle and one out of two from the charity stripe.

“Even as bad as our defense was,” the coach continued, “we still had a chance to win, but we struggled making easy shots and our foul shooting was horrendous.”

In total, the Pirates only made 15 out of 37 free throws, or 41 percent, while they turned the ball over 15 times.

The Pirates walked away from the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament with a win-loss record of 2-1 so far for the season, and have a good idea not only of what the team’s strengths are, but also what needs some work during this week’s practices.

“We play a good Grand Valley team and Salida this coming weekend in the Buena Vista tournament,” Sorenson moved on. “Hopefully we will have a good week of practice this week and we will play well.”

Tomorrow night the Pirates will face the Grand Valley Cardinals, who enter the Buena Vista Invitational off of a 65-55 loss last week to Jefferson Academy in Broomfield and a 68-40 win the previous week over Sky View Academy from Highlands Ranch.

On Saturday, the Pirates will take on the Salida Spartans, who have a two-game losing streak so far this season, falling 87-42 against Evangelical Christian from Colorado Springs and 78-31 against Ellicott from Calhan.

“Overall it has been a pretty good start to the season,” the coach concluded, “but we must keep improving daily. We will be working hard on our defense and our free throw shooting this week. We need to improve in many areas.”