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Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Eagles face Bucks, Loboes in hoop openers

PECOS, Nov. 16, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagle boys will be hoping the 1999-2000 basketball season starts off the same way the last two seasons have, though they'll be hoping for a better finish this time around.

Pecos' girls, meanwhile, will be hoping for anything but a start like last year, and will also be trying to end up a lot better than they did this past season, when they begin play tonight at home against the Alpine Bucks.

Pecos' girls host Alpine at 6 p.m., and will be followed by the boys' regular season opener against Monahans, beginning about 7:30 p.m. The girls' junior varsity and boys freshmen games will start at 4:30 p.m., with the boys JV contest set for a 6 p.m. start.

The girls' season began last year about as badly as possible, with a 118-21 loss at home against Odessa High. The Eagles ended up winning just four games a year ago, but coach Brian Williams said most of the same players off that squad looked a lot better this past Saturday, in scrimmages against Odessa Permian, Midland Trinity and Westbrook.

"We at least know we can press this year, and we had our moments on offense," said coach Brian Williams, though he added the Eagles had their problems running a man-to-man defense and with rebounding.

"We're not going to get into a zone defense until we can prove we can play man," said Williams, who added junior Kalyn Lara to his varsity roster on Monday to help with the rebounding problem.

"We've got a lot of work to do on rebounding. It's not that we were out-sized today (Saturday), it's just that we wouldn't get in position to get a clean rebound," he said. "But I can still walk away from it knowing we did better than last year."

Pecos remains a young team with only two seniors _ Katrina Quiroz and Amy Salgado _ on the varsity squad. Aside from Quiroz and Salgado, Alexa Marquez, Dee Dee Molinar, Maricela Arenivas and Philly Fobbs are the other returning players for the Eagles.

The boys, meanwhile, have only three players back from last year's team, which started off fast, but faded in district after an injury to guard Oscar Luna. Jacob Weidner, Alex Garcia and Saul Garcia are the lone returning players for Pecos, with the other players, plus coach Tino Acosta, moving up from the junior varsity level a year ago.

"We should have 10 boys for tomorrow (on the varsity), and I hope to be up to 12 by district," said Acosta, whose team scrimmage Crane on Thursday. "We played Crane pretty well, and if we can do that against Monahans, we should be all right."

The Eagles have opened the past two seasons with wins over the Loboes in Monahans. Both teams will just be getting to full strength, after getting players out from football this past weekend. That group includes both Weidner and Alex Garcia for Pecos.

Today's games are the first of two at home this week for the Eagles. Pecos' boys will host Odessa High on Friday, while the girls will face Stanton at home Saturday afternoon.

Johnson gets support from Cy Young voters

PHOENIX, Nov. 16, 1999 (AP) - Great pitching doesn't always bring victories. No one knows that better than Randy Johnson, who could have sued the Arizona Diamondbacks for non-support this year.

So Johnson was grateful that baseball writers looked beyond his 17-9 record with the Arizona Diamondbacks to present him with the NL Cy Young award.

"There was a lot more to the season I had than wins and losses," Johnson said. "Quite honestly, I feel still this was the best year I had in my career."

At 36, Johnson joined Gaylord Perry as the only pitchers to win the award in both leagues, although Boston's Pedro Martinez was expected to join that elite group when the AL award was announced today.

"That's pretty good company," Johnson said.

Johnson won the AL award with the Seattle Mariners in 1995.

In both of his Cy Young seasons, he led his team to its first postseason appearance.

Johnson received 20 first-place votes, 11 seconds and one third for 134 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Mike Hampton, who went 22-4 for Houston and led the league in wins, was second with 11 first-place votes, 17 seconds and four thirds for 110 points.

Atlanta's Kevin Millwood was third with one first, four seconds and 18 thirds for 36 points.

The voters were swayed by Johnson's awesome individual statistics.

As the Diamondbacks won the NL West title in their second season, the 6-foot-10 left-hander had a league-leading 2.48 ERA. His 12 complete games, 364 strikeouts and 271 2-3 innings pitched were the most in the majors.

Johnson fell 19 short of the strikeout record set by Nolan Ryan in 1973, winding up with the fourth-highest single-season total, and struck out 10 or more 23 times, matching the record Ryan set with the California Angels in 1973.

He'd never pitched so many innings in a season, yet down the stretch, he was throwing 100 mph fastballs in the ninth.

"The one thing that was the least in his control was the wins and losses," Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter said. "Scoring runs and catching the baseball, that's the thing he couldn't control.


Mavs' teen rookie in psychiatric ward

DALLAS, Nov. 16, 1999 (AP) - The fairytale story of Dallas Mavericks rookie Leon Smith has a new chapter.

The teen-ager, who joined the Mavericks straight out of high school, was put in a psychiatric ward after police found him overdosed on aspirin Sunday night.

Officers also charged Smith with criminal mischief after reports he smashed the rear window of a sport utility vehicle.

"Our only concern is the health and well being of Leon," Don Nelson, the Mavericks coach and general manager, told The Associated Press on Monday. "The Mavericks are doing what we can to help Leon."

A house guest called police late Sunday saying the player threw a large rock through his vehicle's window. When officers arrived, they found Smith passed out on the floor of his apartment and wearing green war paint on his face, a police report states.

Smith's agent, Matt Muehlebach, and the visitor, Carl Bower, did not return calls seeking comment. Hospital officials said the 19-year-old Smith remained in their care Monday.

Smith slightly resisted officers and paramedics, then stopped and "stated that he was an Indian and was fighting Columbus," the report said.

Bower, a 33-year-old friend from the group home where Smith was raised - told police Smith had taken more than 250 pain relievers.

Smith was taken to the psychiatric ward of Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas.

Smith's leap from high school to the NBA has been filled with unusual episodes, many of which were attributed to immaturity and a troubled childhood. Smith lived in five group homes while spending 14 years as a ward of Illinois. He's been estranged from his parents since he was 5.

Smith declared himself eligible for the NBA draft after averaging 25.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and eight blocks as a senior at Chicago's Martin Luther King High School.

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