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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 17, 2006

All-District squad selected by coaches

Pecos Eagles’ senior Amalie Herrera was named the Defensive Player of the Year for District 2-3A in volleyball, while sophomore Jasmine Rayos was named to the first team All-District squad and seniors Adriana Armendariz and Brittany Rodriguez were second team selections, in voting by the district’s four coaches.

The selections were made earlier this month and released on Saturday, following Monahans’ loss to Canyon in the Region I-3A championship game. One other Pecos player received honorable mention in the all-district voting, while five Eagles were named to the Academic All-District squad, coach Helen Kimbrough said.

The Eagles finished their most successful season in 15 years this past weekend, advancing to the Region I-3A semifinals before losing to Canyon, 25-17, 25-17, 25-11. They ended up with a 27-10 record, 4-3 in district, after going 11-22 and 0-6 in district play a year ago. Herrera moved to the libero position two games into district play and led the team in handling serves and spikes from the back line position. She was a second team all-district selection as a junior in 2005, was first team all-district pick two seasons ago, as a sophomore, and was Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 2003. Rayos shared the Newcomer of the Year award last season as a freshman, and led the Eagles in both kills and blocks this season. She was also second to Monahans’ Catherine Cutbirth in the voting for District 1-3A Most Valuable Player

Armendariz and Rodriguez were Pecos’ leading outside hitters this season, and Armendariz also was named to the Region 1-3A All-Tournament Team this past weekend. She was an honorable mention pick last season, while Rodriguez was a first team selection as a junior, when she played at middle hitter and middle blocker.

Kimbrough said senior outside hitter Amber Pando was the honorable mention selection for Pecos on the 1-3A squad, and she was also one of the Academic All-district picks, along with Armendariz. The others were seniors Rebecca Martinez and Jenny Palomino and sophomore Gabby Garcia.

Monahans, which had not lost a game in any of their matches since September, before seeing their string of four straight Region I-3A titles snapped by Canyon on Saturday, 25-14, 25-16, 25-20, had three of the top five All-District honors, and put all six of their starters on the first team squad. Along with 1-3A MVP Cutbirth, a senior, junior Katlin Mitchell was named the district’s outstanding setter and junior Jordan Latham was selected as Newcomer of the Year. Loboes’ coach Patty Dominguez also earned Coach of the Year honors for a sixth straight season.

Monahans’ other first team picks were junior hitter Bailey Marcum, senior hitter Bethany Willmon and senior back line player Dina Ortiz. Presidio, which lost a second place playoff to Pecos and advanced to the area round before falling to Lubbock Cooper, had senior Vanessa Armendariz named as Outstanding Hitter for the district, and also had senior hitter Arcely Levario on the first team. Fort Stockton senior hitter Tara Smith rounded out the first team squad.

Along with the Eagles’ Rodriguez and Armendariz, the other second team picks were Monahans junior hitter Heather Schulz, Presidio senior setter Elfida Olivas and senior back line player Danita Renteria and Fort Stockton junior hitter Erinn Blanco.

Kimbrough looks towards 2007 with more time to put in system

Pecos Eagles head coach Helen Kimbrough believes her team could have made things closer against the Canyon Eagles at the Region I-3A Volleyball Tournament last weekend, if she had a little more time to game plan things. And she’s hoping that with a full off-season to prepare for 2007, the Eagles can improve on this year’s results despite the loss of several key players to graduation.

Pecos improved their win total by 16 over a year ago, finishing 27-10 and advancing to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1989 before losing to Canyon, 25-17, 25-17, 25-11.

“They had too many guns,” Kimbrough said. “We knew what they had and knew to go down the middle, but I didn’t have a chance to teach it to my girls. If I had a couple of more days we might have done better.

“I gave them a mental picture going in of what we had to do before we played them, and we did a good job blocking the outside, but No. 24 (6-foot-3 hitter Dana Stephenson) was able to go down the middle, and she was hitting over the block,” she said. “I think if we had put three people on her, we might have shaken her a little bit, but we didn’t have time to get that block put in.”

Kimbrough only took over the Eagles’ program in July, but did inherit a team with almost all of their starters returning. For next season, she’ll have to replace four starters, including all-district selections Amalie Herrera, Brittany Rodriguez, Adriana Armendariz and Amber Pando, but does get back a trio of sophomore hitters, including team-leading hitter Jasmine Rayos, Gabby Garcia and Claire Weinacht.

“We have three sophomores coming back, two juniors who played on the varsity and I have my eyes on a lot of others, though I don’t know for sure about them right now,” she said.

“I know coming in the next year before two-a-days we’ll be working on stopping big hitters and playing on defense against that kind of team.”

Bronchos too much for Eagles in season opener

There isn’t much Pecos Eagles’ head coach Chaun Brooks can do about his team’s lack of size this season. But the new Eagles’ coach is hoping his team can improve on some of the fundamentals problems they suffered through Tuesday night, in their season-opening loss to the Odessa High Bronchos.

Pecos was at its usual size disadvantage on Tuesday against OHS, but also had problems both blocking out and moving the ball around the court fast enough to get away from Broncho defenders, as Odessa went on a 27-1 run in the first and second periods on the way to a 75-37 win over the Eagles at the Pecos High School gym.

“Their size and athleticism is so much to overcome,” said Brooks, who took over the head job this season from Art Wellborn, who remains on as junior varsity and assistant varsity coach. “They start 6-4, 6-5, 6-5 against our 5-9, 5-9, 5-11. But I’ll give it to them - they played hard and played to win.”

Pecos scored on their first possession of the game, on a lay-up by Justo Dominguez, and then took a 5-4 lead on a 3-point jumper by Chris Garnto. But a three-point play by OHS’s Jarick Sutton put the Bronchos ahead to stay with 6:13 left in the opening period. The Eagles wouldn’t hit another basket until Garnto hit a lay-up with 4:48 left in the half, and their only point in that stretch was a free throw by Lucas Macha.

OHS would get baskets from Sutton, post Travis Nickens and jumpers from guard Abraham Ponce during the first period, several coming off turnovers, while the Eagles would also hurt themselves by missing seven of their first eight free throws.

“Basketball is a thinking and movement game, and at the same time right now we’re learning so much with a new system, we’re overthinking ourselves,” said Brooks. “Over time, and with more practice, I believe we’re going to get it.”

The Eagles foul shooting would improve drastically over the final 2 1/2 quarters - they would hit 13 of 14 from the line during that span, starting with two by guard Jeremy Rodriguez, who would also hit a buzzer-beating jumper from near the top of the key to end the first half, and opened the third period with another jumper to help cut what had been a 25-point Odessa lead down to 16 less than a minute into the second half, at 38-22 following a reverse lay-up by Felix Salcido.

But Ponce would then hit two free throws after being fouled by Salcido, and the Bronchos would end the Eagles’ comeback. Pecos would be down by a 54-32 margin at the end of the period, and would score only five points in the final quarter, as Odessa High upped their lead to as many as 40 points in the closing minutes of play.

Macha’s 13 points, including 9-of-10 from the line, led Pecos in scoring, while Nickens had 14 to lead OHS, which had all but one of their 14 players get into the scoring column.

Pecos’ roster on Tuesday was made up entirely of seniors, but Brooks said none had started on the varsity last season, and only a couple saw any playing time at all above the JV level. He said both they and the younger players going down to the junior high level will have to work on their fundamentals.

“So many of the fundamentals for their (OHS) players were taught when they were young, and that’s what we’re trying to do, teach the basics with a new regime in place at the junior high level,” he said. “Hopefully, by the time they get to high school, they can learn the X, Y Zs instead of the A, B, Cs.”

Pecos’ next game is Friday night in Sweetwater against the Mustangs, followed by a trip to Alpine on Monday. The Eagles will have to play both those games, and others over the next few weeks, without Rodriguez, who was second in scoring to Macha Pecos with 12 points, but will be ineligible at least until early December.

“Lucas could squeeze in there (at guard) or we may have Timo Reyes. He’s going to play basketball, but he’s injured right now,” Brooks said.

Pecos’ JV was tied with Odessa High early in the second half, at 26-all, but were outscored by the Bronchos the rest of the way, 43-12 and lost, 69-38. Chris Sotelo led Pecos with nine points.

Pecos’ girls won get their 2006-07 season started until Friday night, when they travel to Kermit to face the Yellowjackets. The Eagles play their first home game on Monday, a non-district game against District 2-3A rival Presidio.

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