A 10-2 first quarter lead looked to be hopeful for the South Park High School Lady Burros’ basketball team during a conference showdown Jan. 26, but a power shift-filled second quarter established a barrier that was too much to overcome in a 36-32 loss to the Center Vikings in the class 2A District 1 game.
Coming off of a 51-37 loss to the Cotopaxi Pirates in a home league game Jan. 12, the Burros were locked and loaded for action as they stepped onto the court hot on the mark.
Top shooters Jordan Burnett, Morgan Burnett and Emma Bargas set the pace and continued to lead their team throughout the duration of the game as sophomore Jordan rang up a total of nine points, hitting four twos from the field and one out of four from the free throw line.
Senior Morgan followed the lead with a game total of eight points, sinking two three-pointers, and went 100 percent from the line at two out of two, and senior Bargas kept the tempo with a game total of eight points, dropping in four two-pointers.
Although the Burros looked to have the ball in their court, the Vikings dug deep to release a commanding trio of marksmen (sophomore Philbern with 12 points, sophomore Cendejas with 10 points, and freshman Verela with 10 points) that jolted the Vikings in a hard-to-believe stretch that led to a 21-17 halftime deficit (19-7 second quarter score).
Trailing by a tight four, the Burros broadened their defensive play once again to see Bargas grasping every loose ball from underneath the basket and tallying six defensive rebounds, along with teammate Marissa Ritter who finished the game with five defensive rebounds.
The pair continued to rally on both ends and led their team as senior Ritter wrapped up the game with three offensive rebounds and Bargas captured one. Quick from the outside, senior Stevi Arellano pushed the opponent to multiple turnovers as she logged four steals, followed by J. Burnett and senior Molly Batts with two each.
The defensive effort was enough to hold the Vikings to five points in the third quarter, as additional shooters stepped up to add eight to South Park’s side of the board.
Joining their teammates, Molly Batts was able to shoot for four points; sinking a two-pointer and two out of four from the free throw line, and younger sister Mikayla hit two points. The freshman was able to hit a single two from the perimeter, in addition to Arellano, who added one out of four from the free throw line.
South Park’s play continued in a strong, forward motion as Arellano clutched for a game total of four rebounds (two offensive, two defensive) and the Burnett sisters guarded the basket for a team total of three blocks (Jordan racked up two and Morgan took hold of one).
Having pinched the scoreboard to 26-25 in the third quarter, the Burros pressed their opponent to no avail as the Vikings’ desire to gain the final advantage was too strong with supplementary shooters adding another 10 points to their side of the board in the fourth quarter.
Not willing to go down, the Burros used teamwork to find Arellano, Ritter, and Bargas each marking an assist, but it was not quite enough as the Burros sank seven points before the final whistle.
The Lady Burros had kicked the season off in sturdy fashion as they took third place at the Cotopaxi Invitational Nov. 30-Dec. 1 (taking a 42-27 loss to the Cotopaxi Pirates in the first round, but overcoming the Cripple Creek-Victor Pioneers 53-31 in the consolation round).
Climbing the hill, the Burros were able to overthrow a non-varsity opponent 46-42 in overtime Dec. 7, but were knocked down a short peg as the North Park Wildcats took a 60-35 victory in a home non-conference game Dec. 8.
South Park found their footing once again as they devoured their next three opponents in away challenges, vanquishing the Platte Canyon Huskies 34-12 Dec. 13, conquering Gilpin County 49-20 Dec. 14, and routing the Custer County Bobcats 45-38 Dec. 15.
The Burros then took a 71-36 loss to the Soroco Rams in a non-conference game Dec. 21 and returned from break to suffer a loss to the Pirates, followed by the Vikings.
The endurance of their third straight loss has moved the Burro team to a 5-5 overall record, but they linger in sturdy position as they rank third out of seven teams within the District 1 standings. Even though South Park seeds below the Del Norte Tigers (12-0, 1-0) and the Sanford Indians (9-4, 2-0), they currently reside above the Sargent Farmers (6-8, 2-0), the Vikings (5-9, 1-1), the Custer County Bobcats (4-9, 0-4), and the Crested Butte Titans (0-13, 0-1).
In addition, the Burros pesently own a third place ranking within the class 2A/1A West Central League standings with a 1-1 record, below the Cripple Creek-Victor Pioneers (5-7, 2-0) and the Cotopaxi Pirates (12-2, 5-1), but park above the Bobcats.
South Park will continue to push through the ups and downs of the 2018-2019 season and will attempt to advance on their current Colorado High School Activities Association ranking of 38th out of 67 2A teams statewide. According to CHSAAnow.com, the Burros own a 0.471 Rating Percentage Index and a 0.444 winning percentage, as they face the West Central League Custer County Bobcats, in a home conference game Feb. 1, followed by a home district game with the Sargent Farmers Feb. 2.
The Bobcats will step into Burro territory after suffering a 40-12 loss to the Sanford Indians Jan. 25. On a two-game winning streak, the Farmers will take to the South Park court after defeating the Crested Butte Titans 58-20 Jan. 26.