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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Wednesday, January 30, 2002

First place Canutillo puts big hurt on Pecos

Staff Writer

Things got a lot better for the Pecos Eagle girls after the injury.  But that didn't come until late in the game and up until that point, Pecos  was really hurting against the Canutillo Golden Eagles.

Freshman Danielle Garcia suffered what turned out to be only a knee bruise when she went down to the floor while being pressured by a trio of Canutillo players with 5 ½ minutes left in Tuesday's game. But the injury looked _ and sounded _ a lot worse and seemed to throw the Golden Eagles off their game, as they were outscored by Pecos 14-4 the rest of the way.

Unfortunately for the host Eagles, they were down by 40 points when the injury occurred, so the late run only served to make the final score a little more respectable, as Canutillo clinched a playoff spot and kept Pecos winless in District 2-4A play with a 61-31 victory.

Pecos didn't score for the first 5:16 of the game, and by the time Jessica Rodriguez hit a short jumper the Golden Eagles were ahead 14-0. Then the Eagles wouldn't score for the next 8½ minutes, until a basket by Leslie Rodriguez with 2:14 left in the half and Canutillo leading 34-2.

The margin would be 38-4 at the half and would grow to as much as 43 points, at 51-8, in the third period before the Eagles finally started putting some points on the scoreboard.

Aside from Canutillo getting less aggressive in the final period, the Eagles got more aggressive after Garcia left the game with her injury. Coach Veronica Valenzuela said she wished the more aggressive play had come out at the start of the game.

"I asked them the same question in the locker room `What was the difference between the first half and the second half?'" she said. "They said they put too much pressure on themselves in the first half. It seems like when there's no pressure, that's when we want to play hard."

Brenda Gonzalez led Canutillo with 16 points and got things going with six points in the first two minutes of play, including a couple of baskets off turnovers, while Daida Garcia connected from the outside in the first half and finished with 13 points. But Canutillo's second team also had success scoring against the Eagles, who were unable to get a player into double figures in scoring. Leslie Rodriguez and Christina Arenivas, with eight points apiece, topped Pecos.

Pecos did go without guard Stephanie Herrera, after already losing guard Kathy Maldonado earlier this season to injury. That made things even tougher for the Eagles against Canutillo's full court press, but even when they were able to break the press and go downcourt, Pecos missed two uncontested lay-ups in the first half and turned the ball over three times on traveling or palming violations without being guarded by Canutillo players.

"The inexperience is killing us. We're too scared to make mistakes and we end up making more mistakes," said Valenzuela, whose team fell to 0-8 in district, while Canutillo improved to 7-1 while clinching a post-season berth.

The Golden Eagles are alone in first place now, after Clint lost to El Paso Mountain View on Tuesday, 51-42. The Lobos, who kept their playoff hopes alive with the victory, will be in Pecos on Friday night for the Eagles' next-to-last game of the season.

Garcia 6 1-1 13; Barragan 0 0-1 0; Chaises 0 0-0 0;  Cisneros 0 0-0 0; Quintana 0 0-0 0; Bueno 4 1-2 9; Gonzalez 5 6-6  16; Rivera 0 1-2 1; Ponce 2 3-4 7; Acosta 0 0-0 0; Parra 3  0-0 6; Estrada 3 3-5 9. Totals 23 15-18 61.

PECOS (31)
Arenivas 3  2-4 8; J. Rodriguez 3 1-3 7; Ornelas 1 0-0  2; Martinez 0 0-0 0; Wein 0 2-2 2; L. Rodriguez 4 0-0 8;  Terry 1 0-2 2; Garcia 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 5-11 31.

Canutillo          21    17    17     6    — 61
Pecos                 2      2     12   15   — 31
Three-point goals: None. Fouled  out: Pecos, J. Rodriguez. Total fouls: Canutillo 16, Pecos 21.

Eagles down Canutillo, end 2-4A loss streak

Staff Writer

Finding a team they have a major height advantage on has been  as common for the Pecos Eagles as … well as common as winning a  district game in recent years.

But on Tuesday night at the Pecos High School gym, the Eagles found themselves in the very rare position of being able to put as many as three players on the court at one time taller than anyone on the Canutillo Golden Eagles. And given that advantage, Pecos took advantage in the middle periods to wipe out a nine-point deficit, grab as much as an 12-point lead and then endure some shaky free throw shooting in the closing minutes to defeat Canutillo, 58-53, to snap a 31-game losing streak in District 2-4A play.

"Even that wasn't easy," said Eagles' coach Tino Acosta, after Canutillo's Frank Molinar started hitting from 3-point range in the closing minutes, while Pecos was going 11-for-26 from the foul line in the final period. But after getting some easy baskets off turnovers in the opening period, Canutillo was unable to score from inside after that, while the Eagles used their size advantage to turn an 18-9 deficit early in the second period into a 53-41 lead by the time the Golden Eagles found the range from outside in the fourth quarter.

"It feels good for the kids, because they did it against a quality program," said Acosta who got dunked and then had one eyebrow shaved by his players after getting their first district win since a 37-36 victory over El Paso Mountain View on Jan. 26, 1999. "I told them anytime we win something they could shave anything they want," he added.

Joey Ortega scored 21 points and Isaiah Armendariz added 16, with almost all of those points coming from inside. "We finally took advantage of what we've got," Acosta said, though in the early going, the Eagles missed enough inside chances to allow Canutillo to grab the lead.

After the Eagles had rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to go ahead 7-6 on a basket by Oretga, Canutillo went on a 12-2 run, beginning with a couple of baskets by Luis Arrias, and followed by baskets from Molinar, Jessie Ruiz and Abraham Moreno. Two of those baskets came off Pecos turnovers off the press, and another on a fast break started by a full-court pass. But after those problems the Eagles did a good job getting back on defense the rest of the night.

"We knew they were going to push the ball. That's the style they play, so we stressed getting back," said Acosta. "Our kids are starting to learn that if they follow the game plan they will win."

Down by nine, the Eagles would outscore Canutillo 14-4 over the final six minutes of the first half to take a 23-22 lead. John Parent began the run with a foul line jumper, but most of the points came from down low on baskets by Oretga and Armendariz.

Along with picking up points, the Eagles also got Canutillo to pick up fouls. Arrias was whistled for his second and third fouls in a five-second span late in the first half, then picked up his fourth foul midway through the third period, while Moreno and guard Jerry Urioste were also in foul trouble by the end of the third period.

Pecos went ahead to stay after Arrias' third foul, when Richard Rodirguez was able to rebound a missed foul shot by Bino Barreno and hit a short jumper, and Ortega and Armendariz hit baskets to start the third period to give Pecos a 27-22 lead. That's about where the lead stayed until early in the final period, when a lay-up by Ortega, a foul shot by Oscar Parada and baskets by Rodriguez and Armendariz widened the Eagles' lead to 44-33.

Canutillo's full court press was able to create a couple of turnovers that were converted into lay-ups by Ruiz and Moreno, but with three minutes left Rodriguez found Ortega for an easy lay-up, Moreno missed a pair of foul shots and Rodriguez then hit two free throws to get the lead back up to 10 points.

Jason Sanchez then converted two of four foul shots after Golden Eagle misses the next two times downcourt to make it 53-41 with 1:58 to play when Moreno hit from 3-point range with 1:41 to play. Canutillo would misfire on their next two offensive series, but Pecos could hit just 1-of-6 free throws during that span, allowing a Molinar 3-pointer to make it 54-47.

"Nothing against Canutillo, but the final score shouldn't have been that close," said Acosta. "It obvious this team is going to be a slow grind-down team and we've got to take advantage of our opportunities."

Molinar would hit again from the outside with 48.8 seconds to play, in-between 1-for-2 foul shooting by Barreno and two misses from the line by Rodriguez. But when Canutillo missed on their next trip downcourt Moreno attempted to call time-out before falling out of bounds with an offensive rebound. That got the Golden Eagles whistled for a technical foul, since they had used their final time out after Molinar's 3-pointer and this time, Rodriguez sank both free throw attempts with 31 seconds to play, putting the game out of reach for Canutillo.

"I like to get this win against Canutillo and a coach like coach (Manny) Treviso. To their credit they were about as happy for me as I was," said Acosta, whose team is 1-5 in district play, while Canutillo falls to 3-3.

Rodriguez also was in double figures for Pecos with 12 points, while Molinar, who nailed his final 3-pointer at the buzzer, finished with 18 points and Moreno had 15 for Canutillo. The Eagles now will try to make it two in a row and climb out of the District 2-4A cellar on Friday night, when they host Mountain View on Friday night. The Lobos also are 1-5 in district after losing to Clint on Tuesday night 56-42.

Molinar 7 1-2 18; Urioste 0 0-0 0; Ruiz 3 0-0 6; Chaidez  0 0-0 0; Moreno 6 2-5 15; Sotelo 1 0-0 0; Escobedo 0 0-0  0; Arrias 5 0-0 10; Cadena 0 0-0 0; Gonzales 0 0-0 0;  Saldivar 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 3-7 53.

PECOS (58)
Sanchez 0 3-9 3; Plummer 0 0-0 0; Barreno 0 1-5  1; Armendariz 7 2-3 16; Rodriguez 4 4-6 12; Parent 1 0-2  2; Parada 1 1-2 3; Ortega 10 1-4 21. Totals 23 12-31 58.

Canutillo                    16     6     9    22    — 53
Pecos                             9    14  14    21    — 58
Three-point goals: Canutillo 4 (Morales 3,  Moreno). Technical foul: Canutillo, Moreno (illegal  time-out). Fouled out: Canutillo Urioste, Escobedo, Moreno.  Total fouls: Canutillo 27, Pecos 9.

Balmorhea's boys clinch title with 90-45 win

The Balmorhea Bears clinched the District 9-A boys basketball title Tuesday night, doubling up the Fort Davis Indians by a 90-45 final score.

Before that, Fort Davis' girls clinched a playoff berth, as they almost doubled up Balmorhea by scoring a 48-25 win over the Bears.

Isaiah Rodriguez scored 25 points, Jerry Mendoza had 22 and Jourmain Matta added 19 for the Bears, who jumped out to a 26-10 lead after one period and were up 50-19 by halftime. The win improved the Bears' record to 7-0 in district and 18-1 on the season.

The girls got 12 points from Lorisa Rodriguez, but managed just seven points in the first half, when the Maidens took an 18-point lead. The Bears were able to cut that down to 34-19 after three periods, but were outscored by Fort Davis 14-6 in the final period.

The loss drops Balmorhea to 2-5 in district play. Both of the Bears teams will play their final regular season games on Friday night, at home against Sierra Blanca.

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Pecos Enterprise
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