Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Boys' basketball: St. Mary's defense stifles James Irwin in second half

by BRENT W. NEW preps@gazette.com -by BRENT W. NEW preps@gazette.com - Published: January 11, 2014

Inside another school's home locker room at half, James Irwin coach Anthony Byrd told his team, with the way they were playing, they were "very lucky" to trail by only four points to St. Mary's.

But just as the pipes did at James Irwin earlier in the week, its basketball team's good fortune ruptured in the second half.

In a game moved to Manitou Springs High School because of the James Irwin pipe trouble, St. Mary's Ryan Englert and Alex Greenly each scored 15, Jimmy Velten and Ben Padrnos added 10, and the Pirates used an 18-3 third quarter to rout the Jaguars 66-50 Saturday afternoon.

"I think we may have been moving a bit slow out there in the first half," Velten said, as his Pirates (6-1 overall, 2-1 Tri-Peak East) were on the end of a back-to-back after losing at Ellicott on Friday night. "In the second half we started keeping them from driving and getting comfortable on the offensive end.

"We were just more aggressive and it paid off."

Robert Delfeld towered high above surrounding James Irwin players to collect his own miss, used a fake to get defenders off-balance and then buried his sixth consecutive point to put St. Mary's up 39-29 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Padrnos and Greenly added four points apiece later in the frame, and the Pirates beared down on defense on the other end. Dante Blackburn's 3-of-6 shooting from the line accounted for the Jaguars' only points of the third quarter.

"We clamped down and forced some turnovers and got out on the run," St. Mary's coach Mark Beranek said. "It was a good way to respond to last night's loss."

Byrd, meanwhile, hopes Saturday's loss can be a learning point for the young Jaguars (5-3, 2-1). Afterward, he said his team may have been too fascinated with the team's standings to give the game the right focus.

"It's been a really good season for us, but today it kind of caved in on us there," said Byrd, whose team beat Lamar on Friday night. "I told them at half we need to focus and move on defense or this team was going to run it up on us. And they did."

Elijah Shaw cut into a game-high 22-point lead in the fourth, scoring 10 of his game-high 17 points and Blackburn added 10 in the previous three quarters for James Irwin, which has been a surprisingly competitive team despite losing 10 seniors from last season.

Coming to the midway point of the season, the Pirates and Jags are second and third, respectively, in the Tri-Peaks East behind Ellicott.

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