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Wednesday, November 5, 1997

Mustangs, Maidens out of playoffs

PECOS, Nov. 5 -- The area round of the playoffs was again the end
of the line for District 4-4A volleyball teams Tuesday night, as
the Pecos Eagles' district rivals Andrews and San Angelo Lake View
swapped rivals from a year ago but again were eliminated by Dumas
and Hereford.

Meanwhile, El Paso High, the team that rallied from a 7-2 deficit
in the deciding game to defeat the Eagles in bi-district play on
Saturday, almost pulled off a far bigger comeback Tuesday night,
before falling in three games to Lamesa at the Pecos High School

The Tigers, who scored the final three points of the match on
Saturday in Van Horn to eliminate Pecos, trailed Lamesa in Game 3
on Tuesday, 14-5, before running off 11 straight points to take a
15-14 lead. But the Tornaodes, who won the District 2-4A title
this year, were able to regain their composure and escape with a
15-2, 10-15, 17-15 win and a berth against Dumas on Saturday in
the Region I-4A quarterfinals.

The Demons, District 1-4A runners-up, ended Andrews' season with
a 15-8, 15-6 victory at Lubbock Monterey, as the Mustangs were
unable to get any streaks going on offense. Meanwhile, Hereford,
who downed Andrews on the way to the Class 4A title last fall,
used their offensive attack to rout Lake View, 15-4, 15-2, in
their area round match at Brownfield. The Maidens were beaten by
Dumas in last year's area round.

Switzer denies report firing looms

IRVING, Texas, Nov. 5 (AP) -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry
Jones has denied that he could fire coach Barry Switzer as early
as next week.

The Washington Post today quoted NFL sources as saying that
Switzer could be fired next week and replaced by scouting director
Larry Lacewell, who would serve as interim coach.

``That is not true. I have repeatedly said Barry Switzer is the
coach of the Cowboys and will continue to be coach of the Dallas
Cowboys,'' Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Tuesday night.

Lacewll told the newspaper that the report is ``ridiculous.''

At a news conference on Tuesday Switzer insisted he ignores people
who speculate that he will be fired and fans who are calling for
his dismissal.

``I don't even think about it,'' Switzer said. ``It really doesn't
enter my mind. It seems to be on your mind more than it is on
mine. It's irrelevant to me.''

When asked if he expects to be back next year, Switzer only
response was, ``Sure.''

Although Jones dismissed suggestions that Switzer's firing could
be imminent, he didn't make any promises that the coach would be
back next year.

``The reason that Barry Switzer is coaching the Dallas Cowboys in
1997 is because, in my view, it gave us the best chance to win a
Super Bowl this year,'' he said. ``We're not going to get into
what happens after this year.''

Switzer said he had talked with Jones on Tuesday morning and the
subject of his job security didn't even come up.

``I had a discussion with Jerry this morning -- not about my
contract or my job tenure; it was about those things that are more
vital and more important to us,'' Switzer said.

``If Jerry wants to make a change, he'll make that decision. If I
don't want to coach here, I'll make that decision. Only two of us
are involved in it and that's the only two that matters. And we
never discuss it.''

The Cowboys are 4-5 and face an uphill battle if they are to win
enough games to make the playoffs.

Low-powered Rockets are blasted by Sonics

AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE, Nov. 5 -- The Seattle SuperSonics blew a 20-point lead in
their home opener and lost to Dallas. Then they routed the Houston
Rockets in their next home game.

What gives?

``We played good defense and we did a lot of the things that we're
supposed to do,'' said Gary Payton, who had 27 points and 12
assists Tuesday night in the Sonics' 118-94 victory over the

The Sonics did play good defense. Or maybe they took advantage of
poor performances by Houston stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde

The Rockets aren't going to win too many games on nights when
Olajuwon and Drexler combine for 16 points.

``It was embarrassing out there,'' said Charles Barkley, who led
the Rockets with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

``To be honest with you, I was shocked at our intensity level,''
Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. ``It's just not being ready,
and you can't beat a good team like that by not being ready.''

Playing their third game in five nights, the Sonics showed that
life without Shawn Kemp isn't necessarily doomed.

Vin Baker, Kemp's replacement, had 20 points for Seattle.

``I think they're going to be really impressed with Vin's play,''
Olajuwon said. ``I think he's going to fit very well.''

Baker came to the Sonics from Milwaukee in a three-team trade that
sent Kemp to Cleveland, where he got a $107 million contract.

``This win makes me feel great,'' Baker said. ``To come out and
really have a chance to gauge your team against a team like
Houston, and play the way we did, makes everyone feel good.''

The Sonics got 22 points from Detlef Schrempf, and 17 from reserve
Dale Ellis. If Ellis scores, it makes Payton even more effective.

``Dale Ellis is probably the most pure shooter I've ever played
with,'' Payton said.

``Gary has a unique opportunity with this team,'' coach George
Karl said. ``With the great shooters we have on this team, it's
going to open up Gary's game.''

Seattle, which lost to Houston in the Western Conference
semifinals last season, limited Olajuwon to eight points and four
rebounds, and held Drexler to nine points.

The Sonics led 8-2 in the first three minutes, and were in front
29-21 with 11 seconds to go in the first quarter. After Drexler
hit a 3-pointer to cut Seattle's lead to 29-27 to start the second
quarter, the Sonics scored 10 straight -- including eight by

The Sonics led 61-47 at halftime, mostly because the Rockets
committed 17 turnovers that led to 21 points by Seattle. The
Sonics increased their lead to 26 points twice in the third period.

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