Pirates gain split in two games

Posted 1/21/09

The boys basketball team’s shift to an up-tempo offense and more aggressive defense paid off with a split of last week’s two games. The Pirates …

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Pirates gain split in two games


The boys basketball team’s shift to an up-tempo offense and more aggressive defense paid off with a split of last week’s two games.

The Pirates premiered the new style Jan. 14 in the 72-51 win over Elizabeth and battled current league leader Golden tough Jan. 16 but lost to the visitors, 80-59.

The team had a break in the action this week before the Jan. 23 trip to Summit High School as they are about a third of the way through the league season.

Englewood will be looking for a win at Summit as the Tigers currently are 0-4 in league and winless in 11 games this season. Then, it should be a good battle when the Pirates return home Jan. 28 against Centaurus as the Warriors are 3-9 overall and 1-2 in league.

The Pirates close out this month’s portion of the season at home Jan. 30 against an Arvada team that is battling to take over the top spot in the league.

Englewood’s home games are played in the school field house. Each home date is a triple-header with freshmen, junior varsity and varsity games scheduled. The varsity game caps the night’s action with a tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. A single ticket is good for admission to all three games.

Englewood had its game in high gear for the Jan. 14 win over league rival Elizabeth.

The Pirates pushed the ball up the court quickly on offense, which netted them good looks as they built a 22-6 advantage by the end of the first period.

Elizabeth tried hard to battle back but Englewood matched them scoring spurt for scoring spurt to win the game 72-51.

Maurice Sanders and Jared Blackburn tied for the Pirates scoring lead as each tallied 13 points. Joe Howard had a good night with 12 points while Kyle Jones had 11. Cody Stivers came off the bench to help the team with eight points that included a pair of three-pointers.

Coach Stu Howard said the shift in tempo was needed.

He said too often this season, the Pirates have been on the other end of getting behind early when a team came out, pushed the tempo and built an early lead that was too large to overcome.

Howard said he talked to the players about the necessity of taking control of the game early to keep the Pirates in the game.

“Elizabeth was as hungry for a win as we were but I figured if we could jump out ahead of them quickly it would be our game to win,” the coach said.

He said Kyle Jones and Jared Blackburn were active defensively to create easy baskets for the Pirates and help build the team’s confidence.

Jones, who is the team’s point guard, said after the game that he liked the faster pace and the more aggressive defense. He added that he didn’t expect it to work as well as it did.

“This is a big league rivalry and it was important for us to play well tonight,” Jones said. “We got the tempo going , we got some steals and started scoring points to put us ahead to stay.”

He noted this was a team win as everyone got to play and contribute to the victory. He added that it was a big boost for morale to win this game against rival Elizabeth.

Joe Howard contributed to the win as he turned in a solid performance from the post position. He played hard down under the basket, which made it possible for him to get some easy shots and to crash the boards.

Howard said the team had things rolling early as teammates made steals and passed the ball inside for him to put it through the hoop.

He said it felt a little strange to jump out to a big lead early because it seems it usually is the opponent who gets off to the fast start.

“We had a lot of energy and came out ready to play tonight,” he said. “I think part of that was we were fired up to play our rivals and this is a huge win for our team. Then, it is always big when we beat Elizabeth.”

Englewood made a fast start against Golden and trailed 15-14 at the end of the first quarter. But Golden put on a scoring surge to outpoint the Pirates 26-4 in the second period to take the lead for good. The two final quarters were about even.

Howard led the team with 12 points. Stivers score a season-high 11 points while three players, Joel Pleiman, Kyle Jones and Maurice Sanders, each scored eight points.


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