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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, December 1, 2006

Eagles get past Panthers, open tourney play

After seeing his team almost lose a 13-point lead in their first road game of the season, Pecos Eagles’ head coach Chaun Brooks didn’t want to see a repeat of that happen on Tuesday night, in Jal against the Panthers.

So after Pecos had opened the second half with a 13-point lead over Jal, Brooks benched four of his five starters while the Eagles still held an 11-point advantage.

“We started off with four straight fouls in less than a minute, and we hadn’t even gotten the ball yet,” Brooks said. “That’s why I yanked them. That’s just unacceptable.”

“They knew if they just played smart they could win the game, but they came out after halftime and just lost their intensity,” he added.

The Eagles’ four subs wouldn’t score all that much over the next five minutes, but they were able to keep the lead at double-digits, and Pecos would then break things open in the fourth period to defeat the Panthers by a 56-38 score.

The win kept the 2-2 Eagles undefeated on the road, going into their first tournament of the season on Thursday in Coahoma. Pecos was scheduled to open up with a 4:30 p.m. game against the Wall Hawks, normally one of the bigger Class 2A schools in terms of size in West Texas.

Pecos enjoyed a rare height advantage overall against Jal on Tuesday, though Brooks said, “They were stronger than we were.” Baskets by Rodney Shanks and Eric Whelplay gave the Panthers and early 4-0 lead, but the Eagles were then able to use their advantage in quickness to go on a 12-2 run the rest of the period while getting several of Jal’s starters into foul trouble.

Forward Lucas Macha scored on a three-point play two minutes into the game for the Eagles’ first points, and guard Jeremy Rodriguez would put them ahead to stay at 5-4 on a steal and lay-up. He was also fouled on his basket but missed the free throw, however, Macha then scored on a lay-up, Felix Salcido hit a 3-pointer from the corner and Rodriguez hit another lay-up off a pass from Vance Mondragon, and Pecos was up by eight with 2 1/2 minutes left in the period.

A lay-up by Jal’s Zack Thomas would be the only other points of the quarter, but the second period opened with Rodriguez scoring off another lay-up and drawing a foul from Shanks, who was then hit with a technical foul for arguing the call. Rodriguez converted the three-point play this time and Macha hit the two technical foul shots to give Pecos a 19-6 lead.

The Eagles would lead by as many as 15 points before halftime, and Jal would only get within 10 points once after that, when Andrew Green was allowed to hit a short baseline jumper off an inbounds pass that came with six-tenths of a second left in the third period. Jal also got the ball to start the fourth quarter, but Rodriguez would score off another steal, and Macha would then hit a lay-up off a pass from Rodriguez to get the margin back to 13. “We’ve really been pushing them hard on the speed drills, and they looked a lot smoother and a lot stronger,” Brooks said.

Jal would manage only two baskets and free throw by Thomas, who led all scorers with 19, and a 3-point jumper by Green in the final period. Along with Rodriguez and Macha, who both finished with 18 points, the Eagles would get lay-ups from Salcido, Justo Dominguez and Mondagon as part of their 18-9 run in the final period.

“Jeremy had a good game scoring-wise, but he and the team have got to take better care of the ball,” said Brooks, whose team is now 2-2 on the season going into Thursday’s game at Coahoma against Wall.

Pecos also won Tuesday’s junior varsity game, defeating Jal by a 49-32 score. Jeremy Dunlop had 16 points and J.R. Lujan 14 for the Eagles.

Pecos in Monahans tourney after win in Jal

The Pecos Eagle girls basketball team used a late first quarter run to build up an eight-point lead on the Jal Panthers Tuesday night in Jal, maintained that margin through the middle periods, and then would go up by as many as 17 in the fourth quarter before finishing with a 44-32 win, their second straight victory going into this weekend’s Monahans Sandhills Tournament.

The 2-1 Eagles were scheduled to take on the Big Spring Lady Steers in the tournament opener, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. Seven teams are entered in the tournament, with the winner of the Big Spring-Pecos game going on to face Monahans in a 6 p.m. match-up on Friday.

Pecos held only a two-point lead with just under six minutes gone in the first period when Adriana Armendariz hit the first of two free throws, and Jasmine Rayos rebounded her missed second shot and scored for a backwards three-point play. Brittany Rodriguez then hit a pair of short jumpers, and the Eagles suddenly had a 15-6 lead.

Rodriguez’ second basket came off a pass from Amalie Herrera, and coach Debbie Garcia said, “I thought we did a better job passing the ball and seeing the open man. We still didn’t do a very good job blocking out, but we moved the ball better and pushed it downcourt, and got a few key steals.”

Pecos would get their first double-digit lead as the second period opened, on a steal and lay-up by Gabby Garcia, and would have their biggest lead of the half at 21-10 after consecutive lay-ups by Chantel Mazone. Jal would then come back from the foul line, on free throws by Jessica Romero, Rachel Elliott and Melinda Vargas to cut that back to seven, before Rayos would score on a steal and lay-up that helped Pecos end the half up 23-15.

“We had some players in foul trouble, but I saw some good play from my players off the bench,” Garcia said. “We were able to go to the bench and those players picked up the slack for me.”

Consecutive baskets by Armendariz to open the second half got the lead up to 12, at 27-15. Jal would later cut that down to seven, at 30-23 off baskets by Lupita Fuentes and Brittany Emerson, and would get the ball back before a steal and basket by Garcia, a lay-up by Mazone off a pass by Garcia and another Garcia basket, this one off an Armendariz feed, gave the Eagles a 36-23 lead going into the final period.

The Eagles didn’t have a great night from the foul line, going just 4-for-15, but the Panthers’ shooting percentage was just as poor while taking over twice as many shots, as they were only 11-for-31 on the night. Two of Pecos’ four free throws, by Rayos and Garcia, helped them get their biggest lead of the night, at 44-27 with 2:33 to play, while Jal scored the game’s final five points to cut the margin to 12.

Armendariz led Pecos with 12 points and Mazone had 10, while Elliott’s 12 points led Jal. The win comes after Pecos opened the season with a last-second loss at Kermit and an overtime victory at home over Presidio.

Kermit dropped out of the Sandhills Tournament, leaving it at seven teams. Alpine faces Midland Classical and Monahans JV takes on Midland Christian in the other first round games on Thursday. If the Eagles lose their opener to the Steers, they won’t play again until Saturday, in the consolation finals. The winner of Friday’s semifinal against the host Loboes moves onto the tournament’s title game late Saturday afternoon.

Pecos’ junior varsity girls also won Tuesday in Jal, defeating the Panthers by a 48-16 score. Veronica Tarin led the JV with 12 points.

Eagles place seven on All-District football team

Pecos Eagles’ senior Luis Ortega was named as co-Offensive Most Valuable Player for District 1-3A, and three other Pecos players were named to the first team All-District Football Team, in voting by the district’s seven coaches.

The 1-3A team was selected two weeks ago and released last Friday, following playoff losses by district champion Monahans, second place Clint and third place Fort Stockton in their opening playoff games.

Ortega became the first Pecos Eagle running back to go over 2000 yards in a season, finishing with 2,046 yards and 26 touchdowns. In three-plus seasons on Pecos’ varsity, Ortega ran for 4,321 yards. He shared the award with Monahans senior Josh Rodriguez, who ran for 1,243 yards and scored 17 touchdowns during regular season play

Ortega was one of two Eagle seniors named to the first team 1-3A squad on offense, and one of three overall chosen to the squad. Tackle Michael Lee was named to the first team on offense, and was also a second team selection at defensive lineman, while sophomore Jeremy Martinez, who led the district in receiving with 30 catches for 611 yards and four TDs, was the other first team pick for Pecos on offense.

Defensively, the Eagles had only one first team selection, in junior linebacker Wayne Sparkman.

On the second team defensively, along with Lee, the Eagles also had defensive end Robert Nunez and safety Xaiver Tersero chosen by the district’s coaches. Nunez was also selected on offense, as second team tight end, and was joined by guard Albert Lopez. All are seniors.

Coach Chris Henson said several other Pecos players earned honorable mention in voting by the district’s coaches. On offense, senior linemen Chris Navarette and Mason Baeza , senior center Ruben Salgado, senior receiver Lucas Macha and sophomore quarterback Paul Zubledia were selected, while on defense senior linebackers Kenny Rayos and Jesse Hanks, senior end Aaron Navarette and junior lineman Justin Contreras earned honorable mention.

Monahans, which went undefeated in district for the second straight year, had a dozen players chosen to the first team, while second place Clint put 10 players on the first team squad. Along with Rodriguez, the Loboes also had senior safety/running back Devon Fann share overall MVP honors with Clint safety/wingback Justin Powell, while Powell’s teammate Anthony Aguilar, a junior, was chosen as defensive MVP for 1-3A.

Anthony’s Oscar Fierro was named Newcomer of the Year, and along with Martinez, was the only other sophomore chosen to the first team squad.

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