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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tornadoes’ second quarter rips through Eagles

The Pecos Eagles got on a roll in the first quarter of their game Friday night against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes. Then the Eagles got rolled in the second quarter, as Lamesa’s running game, rebounding and foul shooting sent Pecos to its ninth loss in the past 10 games.

The Eagles used a series of turnovers and some good outside shooting to jump out to a 17-10 lead after one period, only to see the Tors rack up 33 points in the second quarter to grab a 15-point halftime lead. Lamesa didn’t score that many points in all of the second half, but Pecos wasn’t able to get their offense back in gear, either and ended up losing by a 74-48 final score. “We were looking at it, and it was a 22 point deficit,” coach Sammy Soliz said of the second period collapse. “One of our assistant coaches pointed out Lamesa went on a 16-0 run at one point.”

J.R. Lujan and Chris Sotelo hit 3-pointers, Paul Zubeldia had a three-point play and Timo Reyes scored a couple of baskets following turnovers to give Pecos a seven-point lead. But the Eagles also got themselves into early foul trouble, and the Tors took advantage in the second period.

Tony Williams, J.T. Sentell and Stefan Alexander dominated Pecos inside, while guard Isaac Diaz had nine of his 11 points in the quarter, which ended with Lamesa holding a 43-28 lead. “We played too quick, especially the way we were playing, with a seven point lead after the first quarter,” Soliz said, as the Eagles turned the ball over several times trying to force play upcourt.

Lamesa also came up with a number of blocks inside during the period, while at the other end of the court, the taller Tornadoes’ front line was able to get second, third and even fourth chance shots during the quarter, when both Zubeldia and Reyes spent much of the time on the bench in foul trouble.

Before their 16-0 run in a three-minute span midway through the quarter, Lamesa had a12-0 run to turn a 19-12 deficit into a 24-19 lead. Edgar Madrid broke that string with a side jumper, but baskets by Jon Barkwosky and Diaz started the 16-0 run that wouldn’t end until Lujan hit two foul shots with 1:22 left in the half.

Lujan went 10-for-10 from the line, as part of a game-high 21 points, but the other Eagles were a combined 3-for-14 on their foul shots. Lamesa ended up 17-for-27 from the line, but went 13-for-17 in the first half when they built their big lead.

“Free throws killed us, along with the foul trouble. We ended up sitting down our key players which hurt our rotation,” said Soliz, who said he made some changes in his starting lineup going into the game, to try and help Pecos break out of their recent slump.

“I tried changing it up with Jon (Dominguez) starting and coming in with Timo off the bench to put a little pressure on them, and that worked pretty well before we got in foul trouble.” The loss left the Eagles with a 5-14 record, while Lamesa improved to 6-16 on the season. Pecos’ final pre-district game will be Tuesday night in Jal against the Panthers. The teams split their first two meetings, with Pecos winning in tournament play at Wink while the Panthers came back to win on the Eagles’ home court in late December.

“I’m going to move some JV guys up for the Jal game, so they’ll be ready when district starts,” Soliz said. He added the Eagles may get a couple of ineligible players back next week, for the Jal game and the District 2-3A opener, at home on Friday against Fort Stockton.

Lamesa also won Friday’s junior varsity game, by a 66-50 score. Luis Morales led Pecos with 20 points. In the freshman game, the Tors came out on top of the Eagles by a 61-19 score.

Eagles down Blue Devils in 2-3A opener

The Pecos Eagle girls’ basketball team was able to come away with a win in their District 2-3A opener Friday night in Presidio, pulling away from the Blue Devils late in the fourth quarter for a 60-50 victory.

The Eagles had jumped out to a 5-0 lead at the start of the game only to see Presidio rally, then fell behind by a point at the end of the third period, after a 10-0 run in the final minute of the first half had given Pecos a 28-18 lead.

“Gabby (Garcia) basically hit a 1/2-courter at the buzzer, but then we came out in the third quarter and only shot 21 percent,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent. “We only scored eight points while Presidio scored 19 and they went a point ahead of us. But in the fourth quarter we came out and shot 42 percent and scored 24 points to their 13.”

Arely Garcia had three straight baskets to wipe out Pecos’ early lead, after a Veronica Tarin lay-up and a 3-pointer by Jasmine Rayos opened the game. The teams then traded baskets until the closing minute of the half, when Pecos got a 3-pointer and two foul shots by Parada, a steal and lay-up by Rayos, and Garcia’s 3-pointer from 40 feet out at the buzzer to grab their 10-point lead.

Nikki Ortiz led the Blue Devils’ rally in the third period, with three baskets and four free throws, the final two giving Presidio a 37-36 lead at the end of the period. “Ortiz is a good little shooter, and she was all over the court,” Gent said, as Ortiz led the Blue Devils with 20 points.

A Rayos’ lay-up to start the final period would put the Eagles back in front, but Pecos wouldn’t take the lead for good until just over three minutes remaining, when Rayos hit two foul shots and Diana Parada connected on another 3-point shot following a turnover to give the Eagles a 50-45 lead.

Ortiz cut that margin to three with a steal and lay-up, but the Eagles were able to stay in front by hitting 8-of-12 foul shots down the stretch, part of an 18-for-23 night from the line for Pecos. “We played really well as a team. We never lose focus, even when we got down at the end of the third quarter,” Gent said. “We came out in the fourth quarter ready to play and did an extremely good job.

“Diana Parada had an excellent game,” Gent said, as the senior had had 14 points to go along with three assists seven rebounds and six steals. “I think that’s the most she’s scored all year.” Garcia led Pecos with 21 points while Rayos also was in double-figures for Pecos with 11. The win was the first time since early December that the Eagles have hit the 60-point mark, and improved their season record to 9-12 going into their District 2-3A home opener on Tuesday night against Monahans. The Loboes were beaten by Fort Stockton in their district opener on Friday by a 36-31 final score.

Pecos tied Monahans for the district title a year ago, but lost a playoff game for No. 1 seed in district to the Loboes. Monahans has struggled so far this season, after graduating seniors Catherine Cutbirth and Dian Ortiz, while second-leading scorer from last season Jordan Latham opted not to play basketball her senior year.

“If we can win our next two games, we’ll be in good shape. But I’m not counting anything, because if our girls shoot poorly, which we’ve been known to do at times, we could be in trouble,” Gent said. Pecos will host Fort Stockton this coming Friday to close out the first half of 2-3A play.

Pecos also won Friday’s junior varsity game, by a 28-18 score. Olivia Castilleja led the Eagles with 13 points. The JV will host Monahans on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., followed by the JV game starting at 6 p.m.

Bears put five on All-Region squad

Five members of the Balmorhea Bears’ 2007 football team were named to the All-Region I Division II football team, in voting by the Texas Six Man Coaches Association.

Seniors Harry Barron and Russell Garlick were named to the first team Region I squad, while another senior, Sean Enloe, and two Balmorhea freshmen, Nigel Lozano and Ryan Mondragon, were chosen to the second team by the six-man coaches.

Barron was named to the first team on offense at tight end, while Garlick was chosen to the team on defense, at linebacker. On the second team, both Enole and Lozano were defensive selections, at cornerback and safety, while Mondragon was selected as the second team punter.

Balmorhea placed third in District 1-A Division II six-man this year, behind Sanderson and Sierra Blanca. Sanderson had six players named to the All-Region I team, including freshman Jonathan Calzada as Newcomer of the Year, and sophomores Jacob Benavidez as first team special team player, and Ryan Rosas as first team cornerback. Junior Jaime Rodriguez was a second team pick at center, while sophomore Darren Siedel, junior Phillip Lazcano and senior Benjamin Rubio were chosen on defense to the second team at nose guard, linebacker and defensive end.

Sierra Blanca put five players chosen with senior Peter Urbina and junior Ian Pantoja on the first team offense at fullback and tailback; junior Loren Gill on the first team defense at safety; and junior Justin Lawson and freshman Gabriel Pantoja on the second team offense at tight end and wide receiver. The only other district player selected was senior Bralyn Barker of Dell City, as second team kicker.

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