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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, January 11, 2008

Powerlifters open season at home Saturday

The 2008 season for power lifters will get underway Saturday morning at the old Pecos High School gym, when the Eagles host other area teams for the Pecos Invitational, the first of their four regular season meets.

Jeff Green, who takes over from Fred Howard as the team’s head coach, said between 180 and 200 boys and girls are scheduled to participate in the meet, which will start at 9 a.m. Weigh-ins for the meet will start two hours earlier, and continue through 8:30 a.m.

“We’ll have between 24 and 30 lifters from our team,” Green said. “We’ll have between 14 and 16 boys and around 12-14 girls.”

Pecos qualified two lifters on the boys side for state a year ago, but both Ruben Salgado and Chris Navarette have graduated. “We’re pretty young,” Green said, though the Eagles do have some regional qualifiers returning from last season.

“On the girls’ side, I’m looking for good things out of Ashley Ornelas, Katherine Ramirez and Deandra Bailey. On the boys’ side we have Stephen Apolinar, Bryan Navarette and Michael Tarin.”

Regional qualifiers will be based on results during the four meets, this month and in February. The top 10 finishers in each weight class based on their bench press, squat thrust and dead lift totals, will advance to regional competition in early March.

Shots don’t fall, Eagles do against Crane

It took about 2 1/2 quarters for someone to finally get hot shooting, in the Pecos Eagles’ game against the Crane Golden Cranes on Tuesday night.

No one was having much luck hitting with any consistency until Crane post Kaleb Key found the range late in the third period, and he ended up scoring all of his team-high 11 points in the final two quarters to carry the Cranes to a 55-45 victory over the Eagles at the Pecos High School gym.

“We were getting open looks, we just couldn’t make our shots,” said Eagles’ coach Sammy Soliz. Pecos never led in the game, but stayed close to Crane until the third period, when baskets by Key helped open up an 11-point lead.

The Eagles would narrow that to as little as four midway through the fourth period, but Key then completed a three-point play with 4:16 to play to get the margin back to seven, and then after a three-point play by Chris Sotelo a minute later made it 43-39, Pecos forgot to get back on defense, leaving Crane’s Jordan Cavazos free for a fast break lay-up.

A lay-up by Lloyd Chisum followed, and while two baskets by Sotelo kept Pecos close, foul shots by Teague and Tyler Esparza in the final minute kept the Eagles from getting closer than six points, and capped off a 76 percent shooting night at the foul line for the Cranes.

“I don’t know if we were tired from practice the previous day, since we worked out pretty hard, but our shots and our free throws were short tonight,” Soliz said, as the Eagles took seven fewer free throws in the game, but missed two more foul shots than the Cranes.

Aside from their shooting problems, the Eagles also missed several fast break chances during the game, either due to turnovers or missed shots. “Our guys fell behind early and tried to fight back late,” Soliz said. “We just had guys trying to do more than what they can do, and that hurt us.”

“I think sometimes the game’s going way too fast for our guys, and they get too much in a rush,” he added.

Cavazos scored the game’s first points on rebound lay-up, and the Eagles wouldn’t get on the board for the game’s first 3 1/2 minutes, until Timo Reyes scored on a steal and lay-up. Pecos trailed 4-2 at the time, but then fell behind by six on two baskets by Teague Esparza, before cutting the lead to one late in the period, on baskets by Reyes and Paul Zubeldia and two foul shots by Edgar Madrid.

But Crane’s Juan Sandoval scored to close out the period, and the Cranes would go up by as many as seven in the third period, before foul shots by J.R. Lujan and Sotelo cut it to 20-15 at halftime.

A reverse lay-up by Reyes got the Eagles to within three to start the period, but Crane then went on an 11-2 run capped by Key’s baskets to take a double-digit lead for the first time. Back-to-back 3-point jumpers by Reyes and Madrid narrowed the gap to 31-25, but Pecos couldn’t cut further into Crane’s lead until midway through the final quarter, when baskets by Lujan and Zubeldia made it a 40-36 game.

Sotelo and Zubeldia ended up leading Pecos in scoring with 11 points apiece. Tuesday’s loss dropped Pecos to 5-12 on the season going into their game on Friday night in Rankin. The Eagles will face the Red Devils starting about 7:30 p.m., following the conclusion of Pecos’ girls game against Rankin.

Soliz said next Tuesday’s scheduled 210-mile trip to Sweetwater to face the Mustangs would probably be cancelled due to semester exams. The Eagles have one other long trip on next week’s schedule, at Lamesa on Jan. 18.

Pecos did win Tuesday’s junior varsity game, by a 50-32 score. Luis Morales led the Eagles with 20 points.

Pecos loses starter, then late lead against Jal

The Pecos Eagle girls basketball team swapped one knee injury for another going into Tuesday night’s game against the Jal Panthers, and then let a late lead slip away, as they dropped their fifth straight game, falling to Jal by a 34-33 final score.

“We were ahead by seven points with 1:22 left. We were supposed to be stalling, but we turned the ball over four times,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent, with Jal using a turnover at the 12-second mark to score the go-ahead basket with eight seconds to play.

Gent said Pecos would lose the ball one more time, but got it back at the 1.2 second mark. “We tried to run a quick play, but the ball didn’t go in,” she said.

“We had 27 turnovers, and when you have that many turnovers it’s hard to win a game,” Gent said, as problems holding onto the ball plagued the Eagles against the Panthers, whom they had beaten by 16 points in Pecos a month earlier.

The Eagles did get leading scorer Gabby Garcia back, after she had missed most of the past three games due to a knee injury. But they also went into the game minus starting post Claire Weinacht, who was lost for the season after tearing knee ligaments while skiing over the weekend.

“Before they can do surgery they’re going to have to let her knee heal a little bit,” Gent said.

Garcia ended up leading the Eagles in scoring on Tuesday with 11 points. “Gabby was tentative, but she started coming on strong in the second half,” Gent said.

The teams were tied at 10 after one period, and Pecos trailed at halftime by a 17-14 score before going on a 14-5 run in the third period. Neither team did much scoring in the third period, and Pecos held a 33-26 lead when the Panthers went on their game ending run.

Kristine Vargas led Jal with 18 points, while Pecos’ Brittany Palomino finished with nine on three 3-point shots. The loss dropped Pecos to 7-11 on the season. “It hurt not having Claire,” Gent said. “Vero Tarin did a good job, it’s just that she hasn’t played for a while, and Gabby was a little tentative until she got used to her brace.

She added that for now, she doesn’t plan to bring anyone up from the junior varsity to fill Weinacht’s spot on the roster. “We’ll just go with the eight I have right now and see how that works,” she said. “Jasmine (Rayos) will probably be getting some more playing time down low.”

Tuesday’s game was the first of four straight road games for the Eagles, the first three closing out their pre-district schedule. Pecos will travel to Rankin on Friday for a 6 p.m. game against the Red Devils, then are scheduled to go to Greenwood next Tuesday before opening District 2-3A play with a trip to Presidio on Jan. 18.

Pecos’ JV did win their game on Tuesday over Jal, by a 50-22 score. Olivia Castelleja led Pecos with 19 points.

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