Pirates head into break with momentum, 4-2 record

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SUN photo/Mike Pierce Junior Briar Erskine looks to add another two points to the scoreboard for the Pirates while a pair of Del Norte Tigers look on. The Pirates were victorious over the Tigers by a final score of 62-49, with Erskine leading the team with 14 points.
SUN photo/Mike Pierce
Junior Briar Erskine looks to add another two points to the scoreboard for the Pirates while a pair of Del Norte Tigers look on. The Pirates were victorious over the Tigers by a final score of 62-49, with Erskine leading the team with 14 points.

The Pagosa Springs High School boys’ basketball team is heading into the holiday break with some much-needed momentum and a 4-2 overall record thanks to a win over the 2A Del Norte Tigers on Dec. 19.

The Pirates defeated the Tigers by a final score of 62-49 in the game.

“It was a good win for us. It’s good to go into the break with momentum,” coach Randy Sorensen said.

The Pirates held a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, and held Del Norte to four points in the second while scoring 12 of their own, taking a 28-17 lead into halftime.

Pagosa narrowly outscored Del Norte in the second half, 13-12 in the third quarter and 21-20 in the fourth, giving the Pirates a 13-point edge at the final buzzer.

Leading the team on scoring was junior Briar Erskine with 14 points, followed by Keaton Smyth and LJ Smith, both seniors, with 11 points each.

Smyth led the team in assists with eight, while freshman Isaiah Griego led the team in steals with six.

In rebounding, Erskine led the team with nine, including seven defensive rebounds. Smith followed with six rebounds, including four defensive, and Luke DeVooght noted five overall, including four defensive.

Too, Smith recorded three blocks.

SUN photo/Mike Pierce Pirate senior Luke DeVooght goes up for a layup as fellow senior LJ Smith readies himself for the rebound during the Pirates’ 62-49 win over the Del Norte Tigers. After the holidays, the Pirates will welcome the Durango Demons for a Jan. 6 affair.
SUN photo/Mike Pierce
Pirate senior Luke DeVooght goes up for a layup as fellow senior LJ Smith readies himself for the rebound during the Pirates’ 62-49 win over the Del Norte Tigers. After the holidays, the Pirates will welcome the Durango Demons for a Jan. 6 affair.

As a team, the Pirates turned over the ball 20 times in the game.

“I thought our effort was great,” Sorensen said. “I thought we played better as a team.”

The coach highlighted that the team moved the ball better, shared the ball better and showed good passing on the night.

The team continued to struggle, however, with its free-throw shooting, going 15 for 39 on the night, a mere 38-percent success rate.

“We’ve really got to work on our free-throw shooting still,” the coach noted, adding that the charity stripe has been a sticking point for the team throughout the season. He added, “We’re working hard on free throws.”

In addition to working on free throws, Sorensen said the team is working on other fundamental skills over the break to build a strong foundation on the team.

“Until you’re good fundamentally, you can’t be really good basketball players,” he explained, adding that the first few days of practice over the break were promising. “So far this week, we’ve had great practices.

And the team hopes that focus on fundamentals will bode well in the new year.

After the break, the team will welcome the 4A Durango Demons to Pagosa for a Jan. 6 matchup that is set to begin at 7 p.m.

The Demons are currently 2-5 on the year.

Lady Pirates

The Lady Pirates’ game against the Tigers was postponed due to illness on the Del Norte team, giving the girls a longer break from action.

The girls, too, will return to action on Jan. 6 against Durango, and will travel to Durango to face the Demons, with game time also set for 7 p.m.

The Demons are 7-0 on the season and will prove to be a challenge for the Lady Pirates, who are currently the No. 3 team in girls’ 3A basketball, behind Sterling and Lutheran.

Durango is not currently ranked in the top 10 in 4A basketball, but received 23 votes in the last poll.