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Friday, January 3, 2003

Swimmers take on 5A squads in district tune-up

The first meet of 2003 for the Pecos Eagles' swim team is also the last meet for the Eagles before District 3-4A competition, and coach Terri Morse hopes going against a group of Class 5A schools at this weekend's Lubbock Invitational will be a good way to prepare for the 3-4A meet at the end of this month.

Swimming preliminaries and diving competition got underway this afternoon at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center, which will be the site of the Region I-4A Swimming and Diving Championships on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The swimming finals for this weekend's meet will begin Saturday at 1 p.m., following the girls' 1-meter diving competition.

Morse said district rivals Andrews and Monahans would be at this weekend's meet, but the majority of schools would be from the 5A ranks, including schools from Midland, El Paso, Amarillo, San Angelo and the host squads from Lubbock.

"It will be good for us to swim against the 5As, to see if we can hold our own," Morse said. "We'll be challenged in areas we haven't been challenged in before, and I hope our kids rise to the occasion instead of going in there and acting like they've already been beaten because they're not ranked in the Top 8 going in."

The Eagles are seeded first in one event, the boys' 200-yard medley relay, and are seeded second on the boys' side in the 400-yard freestyle relay and third in the same event on the girls' side. Morse said to improve the relay teams' chances, "I'll probably pull Betsy (Lujan) from the 200 (freestyle) and K.W. from the 200 medley and put them onto a third relay."

Individually, the highest seed on the boys' side is junior Will Oglesby, who's ranked second going into both the 100-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle, while sophomore Susan Moore has the highest seeding on the girls' side, going in ranked fourth in the 50-yard freestyle.

Morse said she would be taking 25 swimmers and divers to Lubbock, and they would compete in their normal events. "They had to qualify for this meet, so I couldn't put somebody in an event where they hadn't swam before."

The exception is in the boys' 3-meter diving competition, where Michael Juarez, Miguel Estrada and Andrew Grant are entered, even though they've only done 1-meter diving so far this season.

"I put all the divers in the 3-meter, because I felt we could score more points, so we've been working on that a little bit," Morse said. The 3-meter diving will be held at 1 p.m. today while the preliminaries are going on, and will be followed by the 1-meter diving event, where Juarez, Grant and Estrada also are entered.

After the Lubbock meet the Eagles will have two weeks off, before hosting the District 3-4A meet on Jan. 24-25.

Eagles open 4-3A hoops play against Loboes

District 4-3A girls basketball play opens for the Pecos Eagles tonight in Monahans, where they'll take on the Loboes in varsity and junior varsity games at 4:30 and 6 p.m.

The Eagles come into district in much better shape than a year ago. They're 6-6 on the season following a 50-37 win last Saturday over Irion County at the Iraan Alley Hoops Tournament. That came after losses to McCamey and to Wink in their first two tournament games.

The Eagles lost to McCamey by a 55-36 score, then were beaten by Wink, 60-25, a week after Pecos won at home by two points over the Wildcats. "We played a lot worse than we did the first time," said coach Veronica Valenzuela. "They were the same aggressive team, but got away with a lot more fouls over there, but we didn't help ourselves."

"We played a lot better on Saturday against Irion County. We moved around better on the court. Friday we just didn't show up and they were beating us downcourt. We didn't have our heads in it," she said.

Monahans got a late start to the 2002-03 basketball season after advancing to the Class 3A state semifinals in volleyball. "Monahans is the only team I haven't seen, but from what I've been told they've been struggling a little at guard, although they've been playing some strong teams," Valenzuela said.

The Loboes figure to try and get the ball inside, where they'll have a height advantage on the Eagles just as they did in volleyball. "They've been relying on (Laura) Crumrine, but they've also had one guard scoring a little bit," said Valenzuela.

The Eagles have gone the last five games without starting forward Leslie Rodriguez, who sprained her ankle in mid-December at the Stanton Tournament. "Leslie started practicing Monday, but she's still not 100 percent," said Valenzuela. "I've got a couple of other girls who have some injuries, but they're nothing too bad."

All of the Eagles varsity district games are scheduled for 6 p.m. starts, including Tuesday's home opener against Fort Stockton. Pecos' boys don't start 4-3A play for another week, but will be at home for a 7:30 p.m. game on Tuesday against Big Spring in their final pre-district contest.

Midland, Monahans net wins over Pecos

The Pecos Eagles played a good game and a bad game on Thursday at the Fort Stockton Tournament, coach Joe Flores said, though the results were the same in both cases _ losses to the Midland Christian Mustangs and Monahans Loboes.

The Eagles saw Midland Christian use a 25-13 advantage in the third period to break open a two-point game at halftime and defeated Pecos by a 74-58 final score, then came back 90 minutes later and lost to their district rivals, 70-64, in a game in which Flores said his team played far worse than in their wider loss to the Mustangs.

"We played well against Midland Christian. We shot the ball well, but they made nine 3-pointers," he said. "Against Monahans we played like we were scared to dribble the ball, and scared to shoot the ball … we played probably one of our worst ballgames of the season."

Scoring wasn't available for the second game on Thursday, but in the opener Midland Christian's Zac Schwartz scored 28 points, including three of the Mustangs nine 3-pointers in the game.

"They started the third quarter and hit two 3-pointers in a row off transition, and then we turned the ball over and they came down and made another basket and we didn't recover."

The Eagles led 18-14 after one period, but went in at halftime down 33-31. The Mustangs' big third period gave them a 58-44 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Pecos had three players in double figures in the game, with Joey Ortega scoring 12 points, Bino Barreno 11 and Isaiah Armendariz 10. Jeff Bush also was in double figures for Midland Christian with 13 points.

After their win over Pecos, Midland Christian then defeated Fort Stockton by a 62-52 score on Thursday. The Eagles, who are now 8-8 on the season, will take on Fort Stockton tonight in their final tournament game, which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

"They only hit two 3-pointers against Stockton," said Flores, who added the Panthers were in the game until the closing moments. "I hope we play a little bit better against Fort Stockton than we did yesterday. We should be a little fresher than we were against Monahans, and that should help."

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