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Tuesday, March 31, 1998

Williams alters defense for game in San Angelo

PECOS, Mar. 31 -- Lineup changes -- for both defensive and
disciplinary reasons -- will be made by Pecos Eagles' coach
Bubba Williams today, as the Eagles seek to rebound from
their disastrous opening week of the District 4-4A baseball

The Eagles, who allowed 30 runs -- 20 unearned -- in losing
to Sweetwater and Andrews -- will have new players in all
nine spots on the field this afternoon, when they play in
San Angelo against the Lake View Chiefs, starting at 4 p.m.

Most of the changes are due to Friday's 17-4 loss to
Andrews, in which the Eagles made seven errors and had 10
passed balls and wild pitches, on the way to allowing 13
unearned runs. The foul-ups made a victim of pitcher Jason
Abila, who'll be part of one of the changes, when he starts
at catcher this afternoon.

"We need to do something," Williams said following Friday's
loss. Abila's only other start at catcher this season was in
the Eagles' 26-11 win over Fort Stockton in the finals of
the Monahans Sandhills Tournament.

He'll be catching for Louis Valencia, 3-0, who was the
victim of Pecos' errors and his own control problems last
Tuesday, in a 13-9 loss to Sweetwater. When Valencia got
good defense work in his previous outing, he shut down Big
Spring at the Snyder Tournament, by a 4-2 final score.

In addition, Williams said he'll move Richard Gutierrez back
to third base, while Luis Salgado will move from third to
shortstop for today's game, Ricky Herrera replaces Eric
Muniz at second and Moses Martinez will take over for John
Gutierrez at first base.

In the outfield, Joseph Contreras has recovered enough from
his heel injury to start in left field, after serving as
designated hitter for the past three weeks. Kevin Bates --
who had the only outstanding defensive play of the night for
Pecos on Friday, a running catch in the right field foul
area -- will start in center field, swapping spots with
Cisco Rodriguez, who moves over to right.

Williams said while some changes were for defense, the
absence of Muniz and catcher/outfielder Oscar Luna is for
disciplinary reasons.

"They missed practice, and I don't know where they are,"
Williams said. "They didn't call to say why they wouldn't be
here or anything. Guys who don't show up for workouts are
not going to play."

After struggling on offense for the first four weeks of the
season, Lake View has scored 26 runs in their two district
games. They lost their opener at home to Big Spring, 11-10,
but came back on Saturday at Fort Stockton, scoring seven
times in the first inning and collecting 20 hits in a 16-6

Scooter LeFevers went five shutout innings to get the win,
while Bruce McDonald and Chris Martinez were the pitchers in
last Tuesday's loss to Big Spring. Lake View rallied from a
5-2 deficit to take a 10-5 lead in that game, only to see
Big Spring score five times in the fifth and once in the
seventh to win it.

Coaches happy with weekend results

PECOS, Mar. 31 -- The Pecos Eagle boys got a look this past
weekend at the site of next month's district and regional
track meets, and got a fourth place finish in the crowded
field at the San Angelo Relays.

Pecos' girls, meanwhile, got a look at one of their future
district rivals on Saturday, while placing second at the Van
Horn Relays.

The host Lake View Chiefs took the San Angelo title with 131
points, while the Eagles were in fourth with 60, 14 in back
of Lubbock Estacado and 21 behind second place El Paso High.

"It was a tough, tough meet, so for us to get fourth place,
I'm proud of them," Eagles' coach Mike Ferrell said.

Jeff Brownlee had the Eagles' only gold medal of the two-day
meet, taking the shot put with a 51-foot-2 throw, while
Ferrell said Jake Fowler had personal best throws both there
and in the discus. He was second in the shot, going 48-5½
after placing second in the discus on Friday, with a 153-1

Brownlee was third there, throwing 148-2, while Brownwood's
Jared Morris won with a 155-1 toss.

"The thing Pecos is blessed with this year is we have two
good throwers that can push each other with a chance to go
to state, plus I expect to get some points out of Chris
Reyes at district," Ferrell said.

The Eagles also got a second place finish out of Billy
Rodriguez, who was just edged by Sweetwater's Jason Sepeda
in the 800 meters, 2:00.38 to 2:00.51, with El Paso High's
Adrian Palacios just .38 seconds behind.

Earlier, Pecos was second to El Paso High in the 3200 meter
relay, the only event at San Angelo not part of the regular
district track meet, while the Eagles' other points came
from Len Carson's fourth place finish in the pole vault.

Ferrell said Pecos had a chance to also score in the 1600
meter relay, but dropped the baton during Friday's
preliminaries. "We were on a pace to run a real good time of
about 3:26 if that hadn't happened," he said.

Pecos' girls were second to Kermit, by a 173-116 margin, at
Van Horn, with Fabens, one of their five new district
rivals, next with 82 points.

Coach Lily Talamantez said she was missing several of her
girls for all or part of the meet due to tests. Marisol
Arenivas arrived in time to win the 1600 meter run, with a
6:13.24 time, while Sherrie Mosby won the 400 meters in
1:07.15, in her first competition of the season.

"She did good, but I think she's do better over the next
three weeks going towards district," Talamantez said.

Maricela Arenivas, Penny Armstrong, Shay Lara and Erica
Orona also won the 800 meters, with a 1:53.77 time. Earlier,
Armstrong was second in both the discus and high jump, while
Julie Lujan was fifth in the discus, and placed second in
the shot put, with Katrina Quiroz taking fourth.

Liz Parent was third in the 800 meter run and fifth in the
1600, Lara was fourth in the 100 hurdles, Jenny Alvarez was
fifth in the 3200 meters and the Eagles 1600 and 400 meter
relay teams were second and third in those races.

`Cats come back again to claim NCAA title

AP Sports Writer
SAN ANTONIO, Mar. 31 -- Plan A for Kentucky: a fast-breaking

Plan B: a furious comeback.

Tubby Smith turned to Plan B once again Monday night, and it
worked to perfection as Kentucky mounted the biggest
comeback in NCAA championship game history to win its
seventh title and second in three years, 78-69 over Utah.

Plan B carried Kentucky past Duke in the South Regional
final and past Stanford in the national semifinal, and it
brought the Wildcats back from a 10-point halftime deficit
against Utah in the ultimate game.

All those days in the gym, working on plays with the clock
ticking down and pushing through extra minutes when legs
were sore and arms weary, paid off for Kentucky when it
counted most.

``At the end of practice, especially these last couple of
months, we really have been taking pride in the shooting
drills when we are real tired,'' MVP Jeff Sheppard said.
``That's when we pull together.''

There were plenty of times in this remarkable 35-4 season
when Kentucky won with Plan A, games when they ran away from
their opponents from the start and never looked back.

But in the cauldron of the NCAA tournament, when Duke was
beating them by 17 with 9½ minutes to go, when Stanford was
pounding them by 10 in the second half, when Utah was
punishing them on the boards and their shots weren't
falling, that's when the Wildcats had to go to Plan B.

Maybe it was a matter of digging deeper to find the desire,
or concentrating more, or calling on reserves. Maybe it was
all that.

Smith knew what he had, and he knew what he didn't have. He
didn't have a team filled with NBA blue-chips, as his
predecessor, Rick Pitino, did when he won the title two
years ago and reached the final last year. There's not an
Antoine Walker, Ron Mercer or Derek Anderson in this bunch.

What Smith had, what he saw in practice day after day, was a
team that could play fundamentally sound basketball and
maintain its poise even in the most desperate situations.

And against Utah, Kentucky was indeed desperate.

Nothing about Plan A worked in the first half. Kentucky
missed all six of its 3-pointers. Utah outrebounded the
Wildcats 24-6. When the buzzer sounded, the Utes led 41-31.
No team in NCAA history had ever come back to win from such
a big halftime deficit.

Then again, how many teams made it a point to practice

Kentucky did, and Smith knew his players could do it when it
counted most.

``Number one, you have to have good players, intelligent
players, players that can play with poise,'' Smith said.
``One of the things we talk about is, you have to have
longevity, patience, never getting too emotionally high or
low. We talk about that all the time.

``I tell them, if you are up by 10, 20, you are not as good
as you think you are. And you are not as bad as you look
sometimes. It is a mental approach to the game, the way we
work in practice. We do a lot of late-game situations where
we practice coming back. That's a big key. We teach them how
to come back.''

His players listened and learned the lessons well.

``We always played poised and know never to give up,''
forward Heshimu Evans said. ``We just come back. We're a
fighting team. We're the Comeback 'Cats.''

Comeback 'Cats is the latest nickname for Kentucky. The 1948
championship team was called the Fabulous Five and the 1958
champions were the Fiddlin' Five. Perhaps the most famous of
them all were Rupp's Runts, Adolph Rupp's 1966 team that
lost to Texas Western (later Texas El-Paso) in the title

Kentucky's comebacks were just part of what made the NCAA
tournament special this year. It was filled with overtime
games, buzzer beaters and surprises from the likes of
Valparaiso and Rhode Island, Stanford and Utah.

But the Utes, who won the championship in 1944, couldn't
pull off one more upset in the title game.

Utah (30-4), the second-best defensive team in the country
this season, held its first five tournament opponents to 39
percent shooting and an average of 62.5 points.

Kentucky, which finished 29-for-57 from the field (51
percent), chipped away at the lead in the second half by
scoring on seven of 10 possessions during one stretch.

Kentucky trailed at halftime 12 times this year, and won 10
of those games. Sheppard cited three reasons why.

``Coach Smith stress all the time -- positive attitude, hard
work and teamwork,'' Sheppard said. ``That's about as
fundamental and simple as it gets. But it won us the
national championship. You don't have to be flashy. You have
to be fundamental.''

Kentucky put on two breathless spurts in the final frenetic
minutes. First, the Wildcats scored nine straight points to
take the lead for the first time since the early minutes.
Then, after six points by Utah, the Wildcats fashioned a
10-1 run to surge ahead for good, 70-65.

All the pressing and chasing and substituting Kentucky did
early in the second half after trailing 41-31 at halftime,
paid off in those final runs when Utah center Michael Doleac
looked as if he were wading through mud and guard Andre
Miller was breathing heavily.

``We don't have an athletic body guy other than Doleac,''
Utah coach Rick Majerus said. ``They did a good job of
wearing Mike down, banging him. Andre, quite frankly, just
got worn down. Andre's in the left corner and he's like a
punch drunk fighter standing on rubbery legs. But without
him we don't get here.''

With Kentucky down 58-51, Allen Edwards drove hard to the
hoop to start the 9-0 run, which included a basket inside by
Nazr Mohammed, a 3-pointer by Cameron Mills and a
spectacular steal at halfcourt and breakaway dunk by
Sheppard to put the Wildcats ahead 60-58.

The play by Sheppard, the hero of Kentucky's comeback
against Stanford, jolted everyone in the Alamodome. All at
once, Kentucky players on the bench and fans in the stands
leaped from their seats, and Utah players and fans recoiled.

Utah refused to go easily, though, and it strung together
six points to take the lead once more, 64-60. But that would
be the end of the Utes' bid for their first title since

Kentucky's speed and stamina ruled the rest of the way, and
the 3-point shooting clicked after being so atrocious in the
first half, when the Wildcats missed all six of their

``We could tell they were wearing down in the second half,''
Jamaal Magloire said. ``Especially when Doleac turned the
ball over early in the second half.''

Mills netted another 3-pointer from the top of the key to
bring the Wildcats within one, then Sheppard put them ahead
for good, 65-64, with stop-and-pop 5-footer.

Kentucky's five free throws to Utah's one in the next few
minutes put the Wildcats ahead 70-65 with 2:52 to go.

Scott Padgett led the Wildcats with 17 points, while
Sheppard had 16. Miller led the Utes with 16 points, while
Mottola and Doleac each had 15 and Jensen 14.

As the trophy was presented by Selection Committee chairman
C.M. Newton, who is also Kentucky's athletic director and
the man who picked Smith to succeed Pitino, the crowd
chanted ``Tub-by, Tub-by.''

It seemed implausible that any coach could be more popular
in Kentucky than Pitino was in leading the program back from
one of its lowest points following probation. But Smith may
have topped him in the one year since Pitino left to coach
the Boston Celtics.

Smith was asked if he thought about the doubters who
questioned his hiring in the game's final seconds.

``It never crossed my mind,'' said Smith, Kentucky's first
black basketball coach. ``I was happy for my players, my
staff and our fans. This program is more than a basketball
program. It is really a way of life, and people live and
breathe Kentucky basketball. I'm just happy to be a small
part of it.''

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