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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Nine Eagles going to powerlifting regionals

Pecos Eagles' powerlifting coach Steve Cross is expecting his team's best-ever efforts this coming Friday and Saturday, at the regional powerlifting competitions scheduled for Plainview and Lubbock Monterey high schools.

The girls' competition is scheduled for Friday morning at Plainview Estacado Junior High School, while the boys will be at Lubbock Monterey High School on Saturday, with competition both days beginning at 9 a.m.

Nine Eagles qualified for regionals by finishing in the Top 10 in the boys' division and in the Top 12 on the girls' side, and the first and second place winners at regionals will advance to state competition. "This is the most we've ever had," Cross said. "The most we had before was five, but I wound up only taking one because of ineligibility, but they're obviously becoming more responsible, and everybody's excited about it.

"With eight boys going, we stand a good chance of winning the meet, which would be a first for us," Cross said.

Three of the boys, Chris Orona, Max Miranda and Pablo Rodriguez, helped themselves earn spots at regionals with their finishes last Saturday in competition at Kermit. Orona lifted 1,140 pounds to win the 198-pound weight class and move into ninth place overall in the regional standings, Miranda placed second in the 275-pound weight class, lifting 1,165 pounds combined, and Rodriguez lifted 1,065 pounds in the super-heavyweight division to take fifth place. Both are ranked 10th entering Saturday's regionals.

Adam Salgado is ranked second at 198 pounds going into regionals, while Chris Lara is third at 132 pounds, Eric Mata is fifth in the 114 pound weight class, Hugo Rodriguez is sixth at 198 pounds and Tony Trujillo is seventh in the super-heavyweight division. On the girls' side, Alexandra Vasquez is seeded eighth in the 198-pound and up division, going into the girls' regional at Plainview.

Vasquez this past weekend was second in her division at Kermit, lifting 640 pounds, while Ashley Carrasco finished fifth in the 132-pound weight class, with a combined lift of 410 pounds.

Utopia brings sorrow to Bears' title chances

Staff Writer

The Balmorhea Bears' 2001-2002 basketball season ran into a dead  end on the road through Utopia Tuesday night, as the Bears were  eliminated by the second-ranked Utopia Buffaloes in the semifinals of  the Class A-Division II playoffs at Ozona High School.

Utopia's 6-foot-6 post Jerrod Carpenter did the damage inside to the Bears, scoring 27 points and assisting on several other baskets when double-teamed by the Bears, while Michael Hillis put the Bears away, nailing a couple of outside jumpers, including a 3-pointer after Carpenter picked up his fourth foul late in the third period. Those shots keyed a 24-10 run that turned a 50-40 Utopia lead into a 74-50 victory and a trip to the regional finals.

"We were a little bit too slow on defense. They got too many easy shots at the bottom because for the most part, they didn't hurt us from outside," said Bears' coach Adolfo Garcia. Hillis did hit an early 3-pointer to give Utopia a 5-4 lead, but it was the lay-ups the Buffaloes got inside, and the ones the Bears missed in the first half, that allowed Utopia to take the lead.

Balmorhea was able to position post Jourmain Matta far enough outside in the early going to open the inside for several driving lay-ups attempts by Jerry Mendoza and Ivan Rodriguez in the opening period, after a couple of early short jumpers by Isaiah Rodriguez gave Balmorhea an 8-5 lead.

But after a basket by Ivan Rodriguez gave the Bears a 10-9 lead, Utopia took the lead for good off a Carpenter lay-up, and would go up 15-11 at the end of the period on a rebound basket by Chad Hillis.

The lay-up problems for the Bears started midway through the second period, after a block by Matta on Carpenter led to an Ivan Rodriguez basket that cut the lead to 18-16. Carpenter came back by scoring on a reverse, then took a feed from Brandon Hall and scored and was fouled by Mendoza. He then completed the three-point play to give the Buffaloes a 23-16 lead with 4:55 left in the second period, and the Bears spent the rest of the half unsuccessfully trying to catch up.

A late basket by Chad Hillis would make it 33-24 at the half, and Carpenter added two foul shots 30 seconds into the third period _ part of a 9-for-10 night from the line for the senior _ to up the lead to 11-points. But the Bears then went on a 10-4 run over the next three minutes, getting a two lay-ups and a couple of foul shots from Ivan Rodriguez and a lay-up off a steal and a rebound basket by Isaiah Rodriguez to narrow the lead to 37-34.

However, Carpenter came back by driving the baseline and putting up a short jumper that rolled around the rim and fell in as he was fouled by Matta. He added the foul shot, and then both Hillises then scored, the second off a Bears turnover, and Carpenter sank two free throws following another steal, and Utopia had its biggest lead of the night, at 46-34.

"That stopped us pretty good. We'd get going and get close and then they'd pull away every time," said Garcia, who added that the Buffaloes also did a good job on defense shutting down Isaiah Rodriguez, who scored 27 points in last Friday's 62-55 win over sixth-ranked Ira.

"We got four of our five starters in double figures, but they all had 10 or 11 points which wasn't enough. I needed 15 from each one of them," the Bears' coach said. "Plus, we missed too many easy free throws."

Balmorhea was 7-for-12 from the line, which was the same percentage as Utopia's 14-for-24. But the Buffaloes were 11-for-12 from the line until the final 2:32 of the game, when the subs came in after their lead had grown to 21 points, while Balmorhea's missed were mostly when the game was still close.

That included the Bears' last chance to get back into things, when Matta scored on a driving lay-up and got Carpenter to pick up his fourth foul with 1:22 left in the third period. But he missed a chance to cut the lead down to nine, and then after Utopia worked the ball around down at the other end of the court, Michael Hillis was left open for a 3-pointer from the side, widening the lead to 53-40 going into the final period.

Matta, Mendoza and Ivan Rodriguez all had 11 points and Isaiah Rodriguez finished with 10, while Michael Hillis had 17 points and Hall finished with 15 for Utopia, 25-2, which will advance to the Class A-Division II Region I finals against either district rival D'Hannis or Grady this weekend.

The Bears finish their season with a 24-2 record with their playoff run matching their best effort in Class A play from three years ago, when they advanced to the regional quarterfinals, before Class A was divided into two playoff divisions.

Lozano 1 0-0 2; Dominguez 0 0-0 0; A. Rodriguez 2 0-0  5; Mendoza 5 1-2 11; Matta 4 3-6 11; Iv.. Rodriguez 4 3-4  11; Is. Rodriguez 5 0-0 10. Totals 21 7-12 50.

M. Hillis 7 1-4 17; C. Hillis 5 0-0 10; Sutherland 0 0-2  0; Ondrouik 1 0-2 2; Potter 0 1-2 1; Lang 1 0-0 2; Dean 0  0-0 0; Hall 6 3-4 15; Scotty 0 0-0 0; Carpenter 9 9-10 27;  Richardz 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 14-24 74.

Balmorhea          11     13     16    10    — 50
Utopia                15     16     22    21    — 74
Three-point goals: Balmorhea 1 (A. Rodriugez),  Utopia 2 (M. Hillis 2). Fouled out: Balmorhea, Is. Rodriguez,  A. Rodriugez. Total fouls: Balmorhea 18, Utopia 9.

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Pecos Enterprise
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