LA JARA – It was a battle of ranked teams on Friday as Centauri, the third-ranked team in Class 3A, hosted Pagosa Springs, the sixth-ranked team in Class 4A, at the CHS gym.
The game was what was expected – a battle from start to finish. However, the Falcons were the team to come out on top as they defeated the Pirates 43-38.
“Pagosa’s well-coached and (coach Wes Lewis) does a great job,” said Centauri coach Larry Mortensen. “We love their kids and have ultimate respect for them. We’re fortunate and glad we got a win.”
Mason Sowards hit a 3-point basket to give the Falcons the early lead, and he later scored a layup to increase the lead to 5-0. Blake Laner put the Pirates on the board with a layup, and Gunner Dozier made two free throws to close the deficit to 5-4. Chase Harper scored with 3:02 left in the first quarter to give Pagosa a 6-5 lead.
That would be the Pirates’ only lead of the game. Troy Sowards knocked down a jumper to put the Falcons back into the lead, and Kiler Ullery drained a three to give Centauri a 10-6 lead at the end of the period.
Kaleb Anderson made one of two free throws to begin the second-quarter scoring, but Kayson Shahan scored to bring Pagosa within 11-8. Kolton Johnson then hit a jumper, and Ullery made two free throws to increase the lead to 15-8.
Shahan made two more baskets to bring the Pirates within 15-12. Ullery hit another 3-pointer, but Dozier made two of three from the line, and Centauri led 18-14 at halftime.
After a scoreless first half, Chaz Holman came to life and scored seven points. Troy Sowards made a jump shot for the game’s only double-digit lead at 27-17.
Shahan buried a trey, and Aaron Aucoin scored in the paint to whittle the Centauri lead to 27-22. Anderson scored a layup for Centauri, but Laner also made a layup.
Centauri led 29-24 after the third period.
Shahan made two free throws early in the fourth to cut the Falcons’ lead to 29-26. However, Centauri went on a 5-0 run to extend its lead to 34-26.
Shahan ended the run, but Mason Sowards made another three. Laner scored a layup, and Dozier hit a three to bring Pagosa within 37-33.
But the Falcons made six out of eight free throws in the final 62 seconds to hold off the Pirates.
Holman led the Falcons in scoring with 10 points, followed by Ullery with 9, Mason Sowards with eight, and Anderson with seven.
Shahan led the Pirates with 16 points, followed by Dozier with 10.
Centauri (9-1, 1-0 Intermountain League) will play at Bayfield today. Game time is at 4 p.m.
Centauri 43, Pagosa Springs 38
Pagosa Springs – G. Dozier 2 4-4 10, Harper 1 0-0 2, Laner 3 0-3 6, A. Aucoin 1 0-0 2, Shahan 5 5-5 16, S. Aucoin 1 0-0 2, Kinsley 0 0-0 0, Zeigler 0 0-0 0. Total 13 9-12 38.
3-point goals – G. Dozier 2, Shahan 1. Total 3.
Centauri – Holman 3 4-5 10, Ko. Johnson 1 0-0 2, M. Sowards 3 0-1 8, Anderson 2 3-4 7, Curtis 0 3-4 3, Russell 0 0-0 0, Ullery 2 3-4 9, T. Sowards 2 0-0 4, Taylor 0 0-0 0. Total 13 13-18 43.
3-point goals – M. Sowards 2, Ullery 2. Total 4.
Pagosa Springs 6 8 10 14 – 38
Centauri 10 8 11 14 – 43
Fouls – Pagosa Springs 20, Centauri 16. Fouled out – Laner. Technical foul – Laner.