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February 21, 1997

Bearcats zip past Bears in playoffs, 63-51

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Staff Writer
McCAMEY, Feb. 21 -- Size has done in the Balmorhea Bears in basketball
playoff games in the past, but on Thursday night in McCamey, it was
speed that seemed to be the Bears' undoing in the first half of their
game against the Garden City Bearcats.

After taking a 5-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of play, the Bears'
movement stopped, while their outside shooting didn't show up until the
final period. Garden City, meanwhile, was riding the hot first half
shooting of Bradley Batla and the inside play of Kelly Langford to a
30-17 halftime lead and as much as a 19-point advantage early in the
final period. That was enough to hold off Balmorhea's late rally, as the
Bearcats eliminated the Bears, 63-51, in the bi-district round of the
Class A playoffs.

"We had 27 percent shooting from the field," said Bears' coach Michael
Barrandey, who team shot only 23 percent in the opening quarters. "In
the first half we were just standing around, but in the second half we
hit the boards a little better."

Scott Clark banked in a shot on the Bears's second trip downcourt, and
then Debiasie Mendoza hit from 3-point range. But after a time out,
Garden City came back and went on a 13-0 run that didn't end until Kevin
Castillo hit from 3-point range with just 48 seconds left in the period.

Balta had five of Garden City's 13 points in the run, but he really
heated up at the start of the second period, connecting three times from
3-point range while the Bears could manage only a foul line jumper by
Mendoza, leaving them in a 24-10 hole.

Outside of a couple of tip attempts by post Zane Rhyne, the Bears had
few second chances at the basket in the first half, while guard George
Martinez was able to get through Balmorhea's press most of the night.
Garden City also was able to get to almost every loose ball in the
opening periods, giving the Bears just one shot each time downcourt,
while getting second and third chances themselves.

Batla had 16 of his 21 points by the half, while Langford took charge on
offense in the third period and early in the fourth quarter, scoring 10
of his 24 points. The last came on a side jumper a minute into the final
period, and lifted the Bearcats lead to 49-30.

"One of the things that hurt us, was their gym was so loud, it was hard
to get communications going. I couldn't tell them what to do," said
Barrandey, who switched from a zone defense to a man-to-man in the final
period, as the Bearcats tried to go into a stall.

The combination seemed to get the Bears going. Mendoza led the Bears'
comeback, hitting from 3-point range at the six minute mark. He'd add
another, after an Arturo Miranda 3-pointer, and the Bears' defense began
forcing some turnovers, cutting the lead to 53-44 on a Mendoza foul shot
with 3:54 to play.

But after that, the ball stopped bouncing Balmorhea's way. Mendoza
missed his second foul shot, and a diving Rhyne's attempt to knock it to
Castillo bounced by the Balmorhea player and out of bounds. William
Hilger then found Justin Schwartz inside for a lay-up, and he came back
and hit twice from the foul line moments later, as the Bears couldn't
convert several lay-up opportunities.

"They've got a good ball club," Barrandey said. "We made a run at them
and hit some shots, but we just couldn't get the ones we needed.

"I think anything over 40 percent (shooting) would have done it," he
added. "But we'll just try and come back next year."

Mendoza, one of four returning starters for Balmorhea, led the Bears in
scoring with 15 points, while Clark, the lone senior starter, put in 10.
Balmorhea ends its season with a 17-4 record, and Garden City improved
to 16-10 and will face Wink, 78-58 winners over Valentine Thursday
night, in the area round of the Class A playoffs.

The `Big A' teams -- those that play 11 man football -- all were winners
over the `Little A' (six man) squads Thursday night. Irion County ousted
the Bears' district rival, Buena Vista, 72-51, and will face Marfa,
75-53 winners over Dell City, in the other area round game.

Batla 6 4-5 21; Cox 0 0-0 0; Hillger 0 0-0 0; Langford 12 0-1 24;
Schwartz 5 4-4 14; Fine 0 0-0 0; Martinez 2 0-0 4; Hoelscher 0 0-0 0.
Totals 25 8-10 63.

M. Mendoza 0 0-0 0; Clark 5 0-3 10; D. Mendoza 5 1-3 15; Castillo 3 1-2
9; Rhyne 2 4-4 9; Miranda 3 1-1 8; Mellard 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 7-13 51.

Garden City 15 15 15 18 --63
Balmorhea 8 9 13 21 --51

Three-point goals: Balmorhea 8 (D. Mendoza 4, Castillo 2, Rhyne,
Miranda), Garden City 5 (Batla 5). Fouled out: Balmorhea, Miranda. Total
fouls: Garden City 12, Balmorhea 12.

Eagles battle Loboes, wet field

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PECOS, Feb. 21 -- Pecos Eagles' baseball coach Bubba Williams was hoping
the rain would hold off and the sun would come out by this afternoon,
before the Eagles play their second game in four days against the
Monahans Loboes.

After getting more rain in the last three days than Pecos received in
the first 5½ months of 1996, Williams said, "The field is wet. I hope we
can get it ready by 2 p.m." Pecos' junior varsity and varsity games
against Monahans set for 5 ad 7 p.m. tonight, followed by a 2 p.m. home
game for the varsity versus Kermit on Saturday.

The Eagles will be trying to, if not match Tuesday's 15-5 victory over
Monahans, at least avoid repeating last year's home-and-home results
against the Loboes.

The Eagles scored a 10-run win in Monahans last season, then came back
and were no-hit by the Loboes at home in the rematch.

The same pitcher started both games last season for Monahans, but those
two contests were three weeks, not three days, apart, so it's unlikely
Pecos will see Ruben Sanchez start again tonight. However, coach Robin
Fulce could go with Roy Juarez, the Loboes' second reliever on Tuesday,
who no-hit the Eagles for three innings.

Williams used Moses Martinez for six innings in the opener, then let
Jason Chabarria finish things off in the seventh. The win was the first
on varsity for Martinez, after five losses during his freshman and
sophomore seasons.

This weekend, Williams said his other two Jasons -- Abila and Aguilar --
would be the starters on the mound.

"Jason (Abila) is basically who I'll go with right now, then use Bird
(Aguilar) on Saturday," Williams said. Abila suffered through an
injury-plagued season a year ago, but still managed a 7-2 record, while
Aguilar was 1-4 last season, his first on the varsity.

Kermit opened their season on Tuesday with a 5-4 victory at Fort
Stockton. The Yellowjackets scored the winning run in the top of the
seventh, to offset a 17-strikeout effort by the Panthers' Steven
Cordero. The Eagles and Jackets split their two meetings last year.

While the Eagles JV and varsity face the Loboes again tonight, Pecos'
freshman will be in Fort Stockton for their second game of the week
against the Panthers' JV. Fort Stockton won in Pecos on Tuesday by a
12-9 score.

Bates earns four berths in NAIA swimming finals

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PECOS, Feb. 21 -- Pecos High School graduate Evan Bates earned two
medals, including a gold, last weekend at the NSISL Swimming and Diving
Championships in Little Rock, Ark.

Bates, a freshman at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.,
captured the 200 yard butterfly with a time of 2:00.31 while finishing
third in the 100 fly, with a 54.40 time. He will compete in those events
at the NAIA National Championships on March 5-8 in Seattle, and will
also be a member of the school's 400 medley relay and 800 freestyle
relay teams.

Other schools at the NSISL meet included the host University of
Arkansas-Little Rock, Delta State University, Austin College, Hendrix
College, Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University.

Bates is a 1996 Pecos High School graduate, and is majoring in
environmental sciences at John Brown University. He is the son of Earl
and Phyllis Bates of Pecos.
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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