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Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Bears cage Cougars, take district  title

Staff Writer
VAN HORN, Feb. 16, 2000 -- The Balmorhea Bears turned things completely around on the Dell City Cougars in Van Horn Tuesday night, routing the same team they had lost to at home 11 days earlier by a 61-37 final score to claim the District 1-A basketball title.

The win advances Balmorhea to the bi-district round of the Class A playoffs, where they will face one of their former, and future, district rivals, the Fort Davis Indians. The Bears and Indians will play next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Pecos High School gym.

Manny Mendoza and Isaiah Rodriguez led the Bears on offense, while on defense Balmorhea was able to shut down Jon Barker and Mason Templeton after the first period. The pair had combined to score 43 points on Feb. 4, when Dell City went into Balmorhea and came out with a 61-54 victory.

On Tuesday, Barker got Dell City on the board with a basket and drew a foul on Rodriguez, and Templeton then rebounded Barker's missed free throw for the first two of his six points in the period. But the pair would combine for only four points the rest of the way, as the Bears used their quickness and outside shooting to offense Dell City's height advantage inside.

"Manny was very aggressive. That's what helped," said Bears' coach Adolfo Garcia. "We were driving in this time and were not afraid of their big guy.

"We had a lot better teamwork and our ball movement was good," he said. "Isaiah played real well, and so did Kevin (Rodriguez) and Reggie (Lozano) in shutting out their big kid (Templeton)."

Dell City led 10-6 after a rebound lay-up by Templeton when the Bears went on a nine-point run, taking the lead on Kevin Rodriguez' only basket of the night, a 3-pointer from the side. Mendoza then closed the period with a lay-up and opened the second with a side jumper, the first of his eight points in the period.

He also sent the Bears into the locker room at halftime on a up note, feeding Chris Barragan for a lay-up off the fast break just before the buzzer, to give the Bears a 29-18 lead.

Mendoza would add three more baskets early in the third quarter, capped by a 3-pointer that put Balmorhea ahead by a 38-22 score. Baskets by Barragan and Isaiah Rodriguez followed to widen the lead to 20 points, before the Bears slowed things down for the final two minutes of the period.

Reggie Lozano would nail a 3-pointer to open the final period, during which the Bears lead grew to as much as 26 points. It also gave Garcia a chance to clear his bench in the final two minutes, as 12 of the 15 Bears suited up for the game got in playing time on Tuesday.

Mendoza led all scorers with 19 points, while Rodriguez added 12 for the Bears, who had beaten the Cougars in Dell City during the first half of District 1-A play. Templton and Homer Slaughter scored eight apiece to lead Dell City, which will go back to Van Horn to take on Marfa in their bi-district game. The Shorthorns defeated Fort Davis, 45-30, in their one-game playoff for the District 2-A title on Monday.


B. Lozano 0 2-2 2; M. Mendoza 9 0-2 19; K. Rodriguez 1 0-0 3; A. Rodriguez 3 0-0 6; R. Lozano Barragan 4 0-0 8; J. Mendoza 1 0-0 2; Lethco 1 0-0 2; Matta 0 0-0 0; Iv. Rodriguez 0 0-0 0; Is. Rodriguez 6 0-1 12; Baeza 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 2-5 61.


Garcia 3 0-0 7; Js. Baker 0 0-0 0; Slaughter 3 2-2 8; Baeza 2 0-0 4; Parra 0 0-0 0; Mack 1 0-0 2; Templeton 4 0-0 8; Tavarez 2 0-0 4; Jo. Baker 2 0-3 4; Lewis 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 2-5 37.

Balmorhea       13    16    15    17 - 61
Dell City          10       8      8    11 - 37

Three-point goals: Balmorhea 3 (K. Rodriguez, Mendoza, Lozano), Dell City 1 (Garcia). Fouled out: None. Total fouls: Balmorhea 10, Dell City 10.

Eagles blow by Tornadoes in  opener

PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles' softball team opened their 2000 season Tuesday afternoon with an easy five-inning, 15-5 win in Lamesa over the Golden Tornadoes.

Pecos jumped out to a 9-0 lead after the first 1½ innings, then scored five runs in the fourth inning after Lamesa had narrowed the lead to 9-4. Pecos added their final run in the fifth, which allowed them to end the game under the 10-run rule despite another run by the Tors in their half of the inning off pitcher Alexa Marquez.

"Alexa did a good job pitching. She had four strikeouts and allowed five hits," coach Tammy Walls said.

Lamesa still had some girls in basketball on Tuesday, and Walls said the Tors' biggest problem was their pitching. "We walked a bunch. Our girls wanted to hit, and it was the first game of the season so some of them were anxious and swung at some bad balls."

She said leadoff hitter Jessica Rodriguez walked four times and No. 2 hitter Kathy Maldonado had three walks, half of the 14 issued by Lamesa pitchers during the game. The Eagles did have some hits as well, with Valerie Gonzales collecting four singles, while Katrina Quiroz and Rebecca Wein had three hits apiece, including one double.

Marquez and Ashley Salcido also collected a pair of hits each for the Eagles, while Maldonado, Mireya Medrano and Maricela Arenivas also had singles for Pecos.

The 4 p.m. game was short enough to allow the Eagles and Tors to get in part of a junior varsity contest before sunset, which ended in a 5-5 tie. "Evelyn Galindo pitched that game and did a good job," said Walls.

The Eagles were scheduled to play their home opener on Thursday against Fort Stockton, but the Panthers will be in a tournament in El Paso that day, so the game has been canceled. Pecos' next game will be on Friday in Monahans against the Loboes, who lost to Big Spring, 8-2 in their season opener on Tuesday. However, the Eagles figure to play Fort Stockton in their next game after that, on Feb. 25 in the Tall City Invitational Softball Tournament at Midland.

Pecos ends with loss at Canutillo

PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles came up short on their last chance to win a game during the 1999-2000 boys basketball season, as the Canutillo Golden Eagles clinched the District 2-4A title Tuesday night with a 68-43 win over Pecos.

For the second straight road game, the Eagles suffered through a quarter in which they managed just one basket. This time, it was the second period, when they were outscored 18-2 after entering the quarter with a 16-15 lead.

"We started off the game hot, got cold in the middle and as the game ended got hot again," said Eagles coach Tino Acosta, who added, "We went down there and played hard, which is a testament to these boys."

Chris Grant, who had a quiet night last month in Pecos, exploded for 34 points on Tuesday, including three 3-pointers, while Frank Lerma, who had 24 points in Canutillo's win in Pecos, added 21 for the Golden Eagles on Tuesday.

"That's my vote for MVP of the district, Chris Grant," Acosta said. "There was no way he was going to let those guys lose last night."

The Eagles' two senior post playing their final games, Hector Rodriguez and Adrian Rayos, led Pecos in scoring with 14 and 10 points. Jacob Weidner is the other senior for the Eagles who played his final varsity game on Tuesday.

"We lose three seniors and get seven back. That's going to go a long way towards being more successful next year," Acosta said. "Canutillo starts five seniors and San Elizario starts five seniors and Mountain View loses their big (Javier) Garcia kid, so we should be in a lot better shape."

The 0-24 record is the Eagles' worst since a one-win season 20 years ago, but Acosta said the players have improved over the course of the season.

"When you start judging high school athletes on just wins and losses you're losing the point and purpose of athletics, because these guys have come a long way and never quit," he said.

Canutillo, which closed district with an 8-2 mark, will face either the runner-up team from District 3-4A or the third place team from District 4-4A in the area round of the state playoffs. The Golden Eagles also won Tuesday's season-ending junior varsity and freshmen games.

PECOS (43)

Weidner 0 0-0 0; Cervantes 0 1-2 1; Rayos 5 0-0 10; A. Garcia 3 1-1 8; Chavez 1 1-2 3; Tarin 1 2-2 4; Rodriguez 6 1-2 14; S. Garcia 1 2-4 4; Terrazas 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 8-13 43.


Rodriguez 2 0-0 5; Flores 1 0-0 2; Grant 15 1-1 34; Lerma 9 3-3 21; Hitz 1 0-0 2; Soto 2 0-0 4; Marquez 0 0-0 0; Barron 0 0-0 0; Ochoa 0 0-0 0; Castallon 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 4-4 68.

Pecos              16      2     10    15 - 43
Canutillo       15    18     21    15 - 68

Three-point goals: Pecos 2 (A. Garcia, Rodriguez), Canutillo 4 (Grant 3, Rodriguez).

Boys open golf play with weekend tourneys

PECOS, Feb. 16, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles varsity and junior varsity golf teams both got in 36 holes of play during the opening days of their 2000 golf seasons, with the varsity playing two rounds over the weekend at the Big Spring Invitational while the JV had single round tournaments last Thursday at Midland and on Monday in Alpine.

The varsity finished 20th in the field at Big Spring, shooting a 343-350-693 for the tournament. Coach Kim Anderson said Lubbock Coronado "blew away the field" in winning with a 584 score, followed by Andrews with a 612 total.

"There were a lot of top 5A and 4A schools in the tournament," Anderson said. "As far as I was concerned, we did all right, although we could have played better.

"We've got a young team with 11 freshmen and only two seniors. We're trying to get them into the scope of things as much as possible," he said.

Individually, Michael Baca had the best round for Pecos, shooting an 83-82-165. He was followed by John Granado with an 85-85-170, Austin Alvarez with an 83-91-174, David Bradley with a pair of 92s for a 184 total, and Jack Stickels, with a 95-93-188.

The JV opened their season a day ahead of the varsity, placing eighth at Midland's Hogan Park with a 380 score, then took first place on Monday by shooting 377 in a JV tournament at Alpine.

Casey Breiten shot a 92, Trey Perkins a 93, Jake McKinney a 96, Chase Laurence a 99 and Clay McKinney a 100 at Midland. In Alpine, Perkins shot an 87 to win medallist honors, while Jake McKinney had a 91, Breiten a 93, Laurence a 106 and David Munoz a 128 for the Eagles.

Midland High won their own tournament with a 345 score, followed by Andrews with a 352 total, and Lubbock Monterrey at 355. In Alpine, the Eagles beat out the host Bucks by one stroke for the championship, with Alpine's B team in third with a 411 score. Fort Stockton was the only other team besides Pecos to play in both tournaments _ the Panthers JV was seventh at Midland with a 372 score, and fourth at Alpine, shooting a 424.

The next tournament on the schedule will be a trip to Midland for the varsity, on Feb. 25-26 for a 36-hole tournament.

Arbitrator orders Sanders to repay bonus

DETROIT, Feb. 16, 2000 (AP) - The Detroit Lions will have to wait three more years to get all their money back from Barry Sanders if he stays retired.

An NFL arbitrator ruled Tuesday that Sanders must pay back one-sixth of his $11 million signing bonus for each year he fails to play under terms of his six-year contract.

The Lions had hoped to get $5.5 million back in one lump sum. Instead, Sanders must pay back $1.833 million per year. He played two years of a six-year contract he signed in 1997 before startling the NFL by leaving football on the eve of training camp last year.

"We are pleased the ruling supports the principle that a signing bonus is contingent upon a player fully performing the services required under the contract agreement," said Harold Henderson, the NFL's executive vice president.

Sanders is only 1,458 yards shy of breaking Walter Payton's NFL career record of 16,726 yards.

Ware said he hopes the Lions release Sanders and let him play elsewhere, but doubts they would. Sanders already has offered to pay back half of his bonus, or $5.5 million, if the Lions will release him and allow him to play elsewhere.

Kagel ruled that Sanders owed the Lions only one-sixth of the $11 million bonus he received in 1997 because he's missed only one season so far.

Chuck Schmidt, the Lions' chief operating officer, said the club already had withheld $1.75 million of the signing bonus from the check they sent Sanders for last season. That means Sanders now owes the team $80,000 to comply with arbitrator Sam Kagel's ruling for the season just past.

Unless he returns to football, he will owe $1.83 million on future reporting dates. Sanders hasn't paid back any money.

Both sides claimed victory - however hollow - in the wake of the ruling.

"We have contended all along that just because you've retired, you don't owe the entire amount back," Ware said. "He ruled consistent with our position."

Ware said he would approach the Lions within a few days with the same offer he made last August: repaying $5.5 million in exchange for Sanders' release. But that does not appear likely.

"As we have always maintained, it is our intention to take Barry at his word that he has retired from professional football," Schmidt said.

"We would welcome him back as a Detroit Lion should he voice to us his desire to return to active duty in the NFL. Until then, we will hold him to the conditions put forth by the arbitrator in this case."

The NFL Players Association said the door remains open for Sanders to fulfill his contract.

"We are pleased that the arbitrator limited his award to games missed," union lawyer Richard Berthelsen said. "The Lions were obviously overreacting with their claim ... since Barry could well come back and play his entire contract."

But Ware made it clear Sanders would not play with the Lions.

"Barry is retired," Ware said. "As long as the circumstances remain what they are, he will remain retired."

Ware has tried repeatedly to get the Lions to trade their rights to Sanders. He said other teams appear reluctant to discuss Sanders while he is still property of the Lions.

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Pecos Enterprise
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