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February 21, 2001

Injury clouds Bears' win over Mustangs

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 21, 2001 - The Balmorhea Bears showed Tuesday night they can win a playoff game even when their leading scorer is having an off night. Now they're hoping they won't have to find out if they can win one with him completely out of the lineup on Friday.
The Bears won their Class A-Division II bi-district playoff game against the Marathon Mustangs by a 58-43 score at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. Balmorhea got the victory despite getting only eight points out of leading scorer Isaiah Rodriguez, as Billy Lozano and Jourmain Matta put in 16 points apiece for the Bears.
But it was Rodriguez' final two points that may come back to haunt Balmorhea on Friday, when they travel to McMurry University in Abilene to face Westbrook, 57-44 winners Tuesday over Trent, in a sectional semifinal game at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Rodriguez stole the ball and drove in against Marathon's Carlos Salmon for a lay-up, but came down wrong and injured his left knee, forcing him to sit out the remaining five minutes of the game. He's scheduled to go to Odessa today to have the injury looked at by a doctor.
"Hopefully it isn't anything serious," said Bears' coach Adolfo Garcia, whose team used an 8-0 run at the end of the first period to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 16-7 lead. They would widen that margin to as many as 14 points in the second period, then kept the lead at no less than nine points the rest of the way, despite what Garcia called an off night for the Bears.
"We didn't play well the whole game. We had too many turnovers," Garcia said. "Hopefully, we'll cut down on that before Friday."
What did help the Bears was the return of guard Chris Barragan and the play of Lozano, who had 12 of his 16 points in the first half. "They were working good at times. Chris did a good job creating chances for Billy and Jourmain, and this was the first game he's gotten back since injuring his ankle," Garcia said.
Barragan found Lozano for a couple of lay-ups in the first half, while Lozano would later find Matta open underneath the basket for a couple of easy baskets in the second half, as the Bears tried to maintain their lead.
Johnny Samudio led all scorers with 18 points, and came up with a couple of rebound baskets of his own in the opening period, before the Bears began to do a better job on the defensive boards. Jorge Samudio did find his way inside for several baskets in the second half, and led a Mustang comeback that cut a 40-25 Bears' lead to 42-33 at one point. He finished with 14 points, while no other Marathon player scored more than five points on Tuesday.
The Mustangs also went to the foul line 18 times compared to only 11 for Balmorhea, but it was Marathon who lost starting forward Isaac Paredez to fouls during their third period rally, and Balmorhea's Jerry Mendoza came back moments later to score and get fouled by Salmon. His three-point play stopped the streak with 11 seconds left and widened the Bears' lead back to 12 as the fourth period began.
"We're very young. We still don't know how to put teams away, and eventually, that's going to come back and hurt us," said Garcia, whose team took its biggest lead of the night, at 53-37, on the steal and lay-up that ended with Rodriguez injuring his knee.
It was his second basket off a steal in the game, but overall, Rodriguez missed several chances inside before leaving with the injury. "He's never shot that poorly," Garcia said. "Isaiah's never scored just eight points in a game, he's been averaging 21 points a game this season."
The win improved the Bears' record to 17-3 going into the sectional tournament this weekend. "If we win (against Westbrook) more than likely we'll face D'Hannis. They're a real good team," Garcia said. The sectional finals are Saturday and the winner will advance to the regional tournament next week.


Lozano 7 2-2 16; Barragan 1 0-0 3; Mendoza 3 2-4 8; Matta 8 0-0 16; Is. Rodriguez 4 0-0 8; Muniz 0 1-2 1; M. Rodriguez 0 0-0 0; Baeza 0 0-0 0; Dominugez 0 0-0 0; A. Rodriguez 0 0-0 0; Garcia 1 0-0 2; Iv. Rodriguez 1 0-3 2; Humphries 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 5-11 58.


Jo. Samudio 8 2-6 18; Salmon 1 2-2 5; Paredez 0 2-2 2; Gonzales 1 0-2 2; Jg. Samudio 5 4-6 14; R. Hernandez 0 0-0 0; Estrada 1 0-0 2; Martinez 0 0-1 0; H. Hernandez 0 0-0 0; Aguilar 0 0-0 0; Ramirez 0 0-0 0; Gonzales 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-18 43.

Balmorhea 16 15 15 13 - 58

Marathon 9 12 12 10 - 43

Three-point goals: Balmorhea 1 (Barragan), Marathon 1 (Salmon) Fouled out: Marathon , Paredea. Total fouls: Balmorhea 18, Marathon 16.

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