Counting last winter’s season-ending loss to Colorado Springs Christian in the 32-team CHSAA Class 3A State Tournament’s Sweet 16, Pagosa Springs girls basketball had lost an almost-unthinkable 11 consecutive contests before ending up on the desirable side of the scoreboard Jan. 14.
Transitioning this season at the top from Charles Rand to former assistant Sarah Osborn, the Lady Pirates had simply had enough. And though visiting Ignacio – ranked No. 8 in the week-starting CHSAANow.com Class 3A poll – won the second half 25-24, PSHS had built enough of a lead before halftime to secure a 49-41 home win, their first of the 2022-23 campaign.
Recovering from a 40-28 road loss to Centauri the previous evening, senior Chantelle Caldwell led the now-4A Lady Pirates (1-10, 1-1 3A/4A Intermountain) with 17 points and nine rebounds after CHS held her to just five points. Stifled to just six points by the Lady Falcons, sophomore Elizabeth Currier improved to 16 against IHS (6-4, 0-2 IML) and distributed five assists. Sophomore Karsyn Shahan scored 10 points, and junior Annie O’Donnell six, after netting nine in La Jara.
Junior Solymar Cosio bounced back from her own trying outing the previous night – in a 39-34 loss to Alamosa – and registered a team-high 12 points in defeat. Senior Harmony Reynolds tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Lady ’Cats sought to erase a 25-16 halftime deficit inside PSHS Gymnasium.
Senior Laci Brunson recorded nine points and four assists, junior Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga scored eight points, and sophomore Marissa Olguin added two.
Trailing AHS 10-6 after one quarter and 22-16 through two inside IHS Gymnasium, the Lady ’Cats made their move after intermission and outscored the Mean Moose, 18-17, during the third and fourth quarters before ultimately coming up short – despite conceding zero field goals during the final eight regulation minutes.
“Alamosa is the best team we’ve seen so far,” said Ignacio head coach Trae Seibel. “I think that they’re one of the best teams in the IML right now; they’re dynamic, they run the floor well, they run their offense well. Defensively, they’re tough.”
Brunson booked 13 points, including two three-pointers, as she equaled Alamosa senior Mary Masias’ game-high output offensively. Reynolds managed eight points, but was 0-of-8 from the foul line (IHS ended up 6-of-18; AHS went 4-of-14).
“We were right there with them,” said Seibel, who lamenting his squad’s foul line inaccuracy. “It was a good game; the girls played hard, and it was fun to watch.”
Olguin contributed six points, junior Maci Barnes scored four, Mendoza-Lechuga had two, and Cosio added one.
Meanwhile, sophomore Sydney Jackson registered 11 in support of Masias for the motivated Moose (8-3, 1-0 IML), who improved at the time to 3-1 since the sudden Jan. 4 passing of head coach/AHS athletic director Erik Melgoza – leaving assistant Kelli Stone to step in as the interim skipper. Sophomore Taybor Wiedeman logged five points as did senior Charley Higham (1-6 FT), senior Miranda Geringer hit a three-pointer, and senior Brooke Gonzales chipped in two points.
Continuing league play, Ignacio will next visit Bayfield (2-6, 0-2 IML) Thursday evening, Jan. 19.