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Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Eagles survive slow start to down Steers, 58-52

Staff Writer

When the Big Spring Steers press worked, it was bad news for the  Pecos Eagles. When it didn't, it was bad news for the Steers.

With a 2-18 record going into Tuesday night's game against Pecos, the press _ and most other things _ haven't worked very well for Big Spring in the 2002-03 season. But over the first three minutes of the game, the Eagles were the ones who looked like a 2-18 team, falling behind 8-0 and then trailing by a 12-4 score.

But once Pecos figured out how to break Big Spring's press, The Eagles started getting posts Isaiah Armendariz and Joey Ortega open inside for baskets, as the seniors scored 19 points apiece in leading Pecos to a 58-52 victory at the Pecos High School gym.

Coach Joe Flores made some line-up adjustments following Pecos' bad start, and the Eagles responded by going on a 14-2 run to close out the first period and open the second, turning the 12-4 deficit into an 18-14 lead. He had to make some more adjustments after the second period, when Steers' post Wes Smith scored 12 of his game-high 21 points to lift Big Spring back to a 24-20 lead. Pecos then tied the game by halftime, outscored the Steers 16-6 in the third period and led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter before Big Spring cut the lead to four points with under 40 seconds to play.

Armendariz led the first period comeback with 10 points, including eight straight to close out the period. "Part of the reason we shot so well was because they pressed us and we started getting a lot of easy shots off their press," Flores said. "They didn't back off their press, which was to our advantage."

Flores went for most of the game with Genaro Mendoza at point guard, who fared better after Jayson Hinojoz and Jose Reyes were inserted into the lineup following Big Spring's opening run. "We've got kids like Jason Hinojoz and Justin (Lara) who come in and give you good minutes," Flores said. "When they come in they have a lot of energy and do something good."

Hinojoz and Lara had baskets to open the second period, but Smith's hot shooting forced the Eagles to rally late in the quarter, getting baskets by Armendariz and Ortega to tie the score at halftime. Then in the third period, a basket by Armendariz with just over five minutes to play sent Pecos on a 15-2 run. Four of the points came on baskets off steals by Ortega and Bino Barreno. John Parent ended the period by hitting a turn-around jumper to give Pecos a 44-34 lead, and Barreno hit another lay-up to start the fourth period and put Pecos up by 12.

The lead was still 12 with 2:52 to play, at 56-44, when Big Spring scored eight straight points, off a three-point play by Smith, two foul shots by Russell Grant and a 3-point jumper by Nathan Tatters. But Oscar Parada was then able to hit the second of two free throws with 24.1 seconds to play, and Ortega then stole the ball from Smith and was fouled, and hit one of his two foul shots for the final six-point margin.

The win gave the Eagles a 10-8 record going into their District 4-3A opener at Midland Greenwood on Friday, while Big Spring fell to 2-19 on the season going into District 4-4A play. The teams did not play a freshman game on Tuesday, but in the junior varsity game Pecos defeated Big Spring, 48-43. Ricky Barreno led the Eagles with 13 points.


Weaver 2 0-0 4; Lowery 0 1-2 1; Ornelas 0 0-0 0; Tatters 1 0-2 3; Russell 3 2-2 8; Grant 1 2-2 4; Smith 10 1-1 21; Cobb 2 0-0 5; Flenniker 0 0-0 0; Pedigo 3 0-0 6. Totals 22 6-9 52.

PECOS (58)

Sanchez 0 0-0 0; Parada 0 1-2 1; Armendariz 9 1-1 19; Mendoza 0 1-2 1; Reyes 0 0-0 0; Barreno 2 0-0 4; Hinojoz 2 0-0 4; Lara 2 0-0 4; Parent 3 0-0 6; Ortega 6 7-11 19. Totals 24 10-16 58.

Big Spring 14 14 6 18 _ 52

Pecos 16 12 16 14 _ 58

Three-point goals: Big Spring 2 (Cobb, Tatters). Fouled out: None. Total fouls: Big Spring 16, Pecos 8.

Prowlers beat up on passive Pecos girls, 61-50

Too many fouls are almost always a problem in basketball. But sometimes, too few fouls can also be a problem.

The Fort Stockton Prowlers committed a lot of fouls in the first half, but spread them out about as well as possible, with no player collecting more than two before halftime. Meanwhile, the Eagles collected just three fouls as a team in the first half, but that was due in part to a lack of aggressiveness by Pecos' defense, which allowed Fort Stockton to score a series of easy baskets in building as much as a 14-point first half lead.

The Eagles were a little more aggressive in the second half, but not underneath the basket when it counted, as the Prowlers outscored Pecos 14-4 after the Eagles had gotten to within three points late in the third period, and went on to win by a 61-50 final score.

"We got out-hustled at the end of the third quarter," said Eagles' coach Veronica Valenzuela, whose team also had problems with turnovers and with staying on their man defensively particularly in the first half, when Fort Stockton hit a series of jumpers to grab a 23-9 lead.

"Everybody knew we were in a man(-to-man) defense, but we just didn't communicate when somebody set a screen," Valenzuela said. Criselda Sanchez hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first period, and April Singh was left unguarded to hit a trio of outside shots early in the second period, as Fort Stockton turned a 9-6 lead into a 14-point advantage.

"I told them they have to put lots of pressure on them, because we saw them over at Iraan and they can shoot from the outside, but I guess they thought pressure was one step from the ball" Valenzuela said.

Fort Stockton's Erica Munoz led all scorers with 20 points, many on lay-ups off steals, as the Eagles also had problems with the Prowlers' full-court press. That also helped put Pecos in the penalty situation early in the second period, but Pecos could only manage 9-for-19 shooting from the line in the first half, and didn't hit a free throw at all in the second half, while Fort Stockton went to the line just twice in the first two periods, hitting one shot.

Despite the eight-point disadvantage from the line, the Prowlers went into the second half up 34-23 before Leslie Rodriguez got hot from the outside. She hit three jumpers in the first four minutes of the period, and after a steal and lay-up by Mari Mendoza, the Eagles had cut the lead down to 40-37.

Fort Stockton cooled off from the outside in the period, but Pecos' lack of aggressiveness allowed post Tammy Cash to score three times off rebound chances. Combined with a Savanna Carrillo basket off a steal and a Sanchez lay-up off an inbound play, they helped the Prowlers get their lead back up to 11 points in a span of just over two minutes.

In the fourth period, the Eagles were never able to get closer than nine points. Fort Stockton's biggest lead was 16, at 59-43, after Gabby Acosta banked home a 20-foot jumper with three minutes left, and the Eagles were unable to overcome that deficit despite a 7-2 run over the final three minutes of play.

Tiana Terry led Pecos in scoring with 12 points, while Rodriguez and Jennifer Martinez both put in 10 for the Eagles, who are 0-2 in District 2-4A play and a 6-8 overall, while Fort Stockton is 2-0 in district and 8-8 on the season, in a three-way tie for first in the district standings with Monahans and Midland Greenwood. The Eagles will go to Midland to face Greenwood on Friday.

Fort Stockton also won Tuesday's junior varsity game, by a 37-32 final score.


Holguin 0 0-0 0; Sanchez 5 1-1 13; Acosta 2 0-0 5; Bernal 0 0-0 0; Munoz 7 5-10 20; Carrillo 1 0-0 2;p Cash 3 1-2 7; Ramos 3 0-2 6; Singh 4 0-1 8; Duarte 0 0-0 0; Garza 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 7-19 61.

PECOS (50)

Rodriguez 5 0-2 10; Franco 1 0-2 2; Ornelas 1 1-2 3; Mendoza 2 0-2 4; Herrera 3 2-2 9; Martinez 4 2-2 10; Garcia 0 0-4 0; Terry 4 4-7 12. Totals 20 9-23 50.

Ft. Stockton 15 19 14 13 _ 61

Pecos 7 16 18 9 _ 50

Three-point goals: Fort Stockton 4 (Sanchez 2, Munoz, Acosta), Pecos 1 (Herrera). Fouled out: None. Total fouls: Fort Stockton 20, Pecos 13.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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