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Monday, December 4, 2000

Eagles' defensive lapses help Blue Devils  win

Staff Writer

PECOS, Dec. 4, 2000 -- Two games into the 2000-2001 girls basketball season, and it's  clear defense is definitely something the Pecos Eagles need to work on in  the upcoming weeks.

The Eagles were `back-doored' to death in the first half of their game Friday afternoon against the Presidio Blue Devils, who ran give-and-go plays for a series of lay-ups on the way to a 13-point halftime lead. Halftime adjustments corrected most of that problem, but caused another one, as Pecos' defensive players failed to block out Presidio, leading to a series of rebound baskets in a 68-62 win at the Pecos High School gym.

"We don't understand the concept of helping out," said Eagles' coach Veronica Valenzuela. "They think `man' (defense) means staying with their girl.

"They got as many shots as it takes to put it in the basket, and we only got one. I have to find a way to make them start blocking out," she said.

Aside from the problems staying with players cutting towards the basket on defense, the Eagles also had problems for the second game in a row scoring in the opening period. They managed only four points in their season-opening loss to Monahans, and on Friday scored only four in the first six minutes of the period and were trailing by 11 before a late run cut the margin to 16-9 at the end of the period.

But the Eagles were already in foul trouble by then, while the Blue Devils didn't commit their first foul until 31 seconds into the second period. That led to a series of free throws for Presidio, which the Eagles compounded with a pair of lane violations on missed foul shots.

Combine that with problems in the first half by junior Kathy Maldonado adjusting to the point guard position, leading to a series of turnovers, and the Eagles found themselves in as much as a 16-point hole at one point in the second period.

Valenzuela said she moved Maldonado to the point guard spot to give Maricela Arenivas more chances to shoot the ball. Arenivas, the team's second-leading scorer a year ago, had only two points in the Eagles' opening game, but put in 27 on Friday, including a couple of 3-pointers in the second half as the Eagles tried to come back.

But that left the Eagles' guards open to being victimized by Presidio's Indira Franco, who led all scorers with 29 points, most on back-door plays, steals or fast break lay-ups off missed Pecos shots.

"I thought Kathy handled herself better on Tuesday than she did today," said Valenzuela. "I think having that (point guard) responsibility made her kind of nervous.

"But she needs to work there before district starts, and remember, she didn't play last year. That's why I want her to play as much as possible," she added.

After a Veronica Pena lay-up gave Presidio a 40-25 lead in the third period, the Eagles mounted a brief comeback, cutting the lead to 42-32 on baskets by Philly Fobbs and Jessica Rodriguez and a 3-pointer by Arenivas. That's about where the lead stayed until midway through the final period, when Pecos cut another five points off the margin, on a rebound lay-up by Rodriguez and another 3-pointer from Arenivas.

That made it 59-54, but on Presidio's next trip downcourt, the Eagles allowed Karla Garcia to get inside and score on a rebound basket, then allowed her to score on a lay-up again after coming up empty on their next two attempts at the basket. Pecos cut it back to six at 63-57 with two minutes to play before allowing the Blue Devils to put things away with five straight points, on lay-ups by Maritza Carrasco and Garcia and a Pena free throw.

Carrasco, who ran the back door play with Franco over and over in the first half, was also in double figures for Presidio with 14 points, while Fobbs had 15 points for Pecos. The Eagles will now go on the road to try and get their first win of the season, Tuesday at Odessa Permian and of Thursday at the Monahans Sandhills Tournament.

Lubbock Trinity's 3-pointers bomb Pecos

PECOS, Dec. 4, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles were bombed Friday from the outside in  the consolation finals of the Gym Bice Memorial Tournament in  Andrews, falling to Lubbock Trinity's junior varsity by a 78-63 final score.

"They hit nine 3s, six in the first half," said Eagles' coach Tino Acosta, with most of those coming during a 27-point second period. "Every time we tried to get back into it, they'd hit a 3."

Lubbock Trinity used their own scoring outburst in the second period, and the Eagles' scoring drought in the third, to jump ahead by a 58-33 score after three periods, more the enough to survive a 30-point fourth quarter by Pecos.

"They reminded me of (El Paso) Lydia Patterson, they'd press up and down the floor and hit 3s," Acosta said. "We played decent half-court defense…we didn't let them run any back door plays, but when they spotted up and shot the 3, they were deadly."

Robert and Michael Sitton were the main players who killed the Eagles, hitting seven of their team's nine 3-pointers. Robert led Trinity with 24 points, while Michael hit four of the 3s and finished with 17. Jay Leftvich was the other player in double figures, with 15 points.

Acosta said aside from the 3s, turnovers were the Eagles' other main problem on Friday. "They ran a full-court press mixed in with a half-court press and it threw us off. We've just got to learn how to handle the ball against the press," he said.

Pecos had 11 of their 13 players in the scoring column on Friday, but only two made it into double figures, as Cesar Coria scored 11 points and Alex Garcia put in 10.

The loss left the Eagles with a 1-2 mark for the tournament and a 2-5 record for the season. The Eagles have Tuesday off, and then will face the Wall Hawks in the first round of the Monahans Sandhills Tournament on Thursday.

PECOS (63)

A.Garcia 4 1-1 10; Mora 0 0-0 0; S. Garcia 3 0-0 6; Cervantes 1 0-0 2; Rodriguez 2 0-0 5; Varlea 3 0-0 7; Torres 1 1-4 3; Salazar 3 0-1 6; Tarin 1 0-0 2; Ortega 2 1-3 5; Ju. Mora 0 0-0 0; Vasquez 2 0-1 4; Coria 4 3-5 11. Totals 27 6-14 63.


R.Sitton 9 3-5 24; Hunt 1 3-4 5; Martin 2 0-0 5; M. Sitton 6 1-2 17; Leftvich 7 0-0 15; Hester 2 0-0 4; Gaines 2 4-4 8. Totals 29 11-15 77.

Pecos 13 12 8 30 —63

Lub. Trinity 15 27 16 21 —78

Three-point goals: Pecos 3 (A .Garcia, Rodriguez, Varela), Lubbock 9 (M. Sitton 4, R. Sitton 3, Martin, Leftvich).

Bears 2nd, 4th at Sanderson tourney

PECOS, Dec. 4, 2000 -- The Balmorhea Bear girls placed second and Balmorhea's boys  placed fourth over the weekend, at the Sanderson Invitational  Basketball Tournament.

Both Balmorhea teams opened tournament play on Thursday with wins over the host Eagles, and in the semifinals on Saturday, the girls defeated Fort Hancock 39-29, while the boys lost to the Mustangs by a 68-66 score. The boys then fell to the Marfa Shorthorns in the third place game, while the girls went up against Wink in the title game and lost by a 52-25 final score.

"It was a lot closer than the 52-25 score. The girls played real good," said Balmorhea coach Gary Gallego.

Wink had beaten Fort Davis and Grandfalls by 64-13 and 78-8 scores in their first two tournament games, so Gallego was happy with the way his girls' played overall, except for their shooting.

"We were staying with Wink. We were breaking their press on every possession, but we just weren't making our shots," Gallego said.

Celina Rodriguez led the Bears with seven points and Teri Hernandez added six for Balmorhea, while Julia Garlick led the Bears with 12 rebounds.

In the win over Fort Hancock, Hernandez had seven of her game-high 15 points in the second period, when the Bears outscored the Mustangs 12-2 to take an 18-8 lead. Gallego said the Bears had to play most of the game without guard Delilah Nunez, after she sprained her ankle in the first period.

Rodriguez added 13 points and 13 rebounds in the win, which Gallego said "was probably our best game of the season."

No information was available on the boys' games over the weekend. The girls are now 3-4 on the year while the boys, who began their season in the Sanderson Tournament, are 1-2 going into games Tuesday night at Grandfalls against the Cowboys and Cowgirls.

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