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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Eagles down Blue Devils, travel to Alpine this week

Beating the Presidio Blue Devils was something the Pecos Eagles had problems accomplishing when the teams were district rivals for the past six seasons. But they managed that feat last Tuesday night at the Pecos High School gym, even though the stakes are a little lower this season.

The Eagles, who beat Presidio twice in 12 tries over the previous six seasons in district play, picked up a non-district win over the Blue Devils and upped their record to 2-0 on the season on Tuesday night. Pecos downed Presidio by a 55-39 score before going into a series of trips down to Alpine for games this week, against the Bucks at 8 p.m. on Tuesday and again starting on Thursday, for the Brian Wilson Memorial Tournament.

Junior Carrasco scored 17 points and Paul Zubeldia added 10, as the Eagles had a quickness advantage for the first time in a while over Presidio, and outscored the Blue Devils 33-17 over the final two periods.

“We’re going to start everything with defense, and we’re working to have more transition points,” said Eagles’ coach Sammy Soliz, whose team is already 40 percent of the way to matching last season’s five-victory total. “We’re still kind of learning our positions, and some of our guys are having to learn multiple positions, so we’re still having a few problems with turnovers.”

Neither team managed more than a five-point lead in the first half of last Tuesday’s game. Presidio used the play of guards Edgar Ramirez and Ruben Guerrero to cause Pecos problems bringing the ball up, and the two also hit three 3-point shots in the first half.

“We had a lot of trouble with turnovers in the first half,” Soliz said. “We had 17 turnovers in the first half and 1 in the second, but we only had three in the third quarter, when we also had 9-for-14 shooting.”

Pecos had two of their three 3s on the night to close out the first period and open up the second. The baskets, by Edgar Madrid and Timo Reyes, took the Eagles from a 9-6 deficit to a 12-9 lead, but Ramirez would spark a 12-4 run that had the Blue Devils leading 21-16 with a minute left in the half, before the Eagles got foul shots by Reyes around a basket by Carrasco in a span of 22 seconds, followed by a Jonathan Dominguez lay-up off a Reyes assist in the closing seconds to give Pecos a 22-21 lead.

Zubeldia hit a lay-up to open the second half, before Guerrero answered with his second 3-pointer to tie the game at 24-all. But Carrasco then nailed a 3, and after a Ramirez basket Pecos scored eight of the next nine points to take a 34-27 lead. A three-point play by Ramirez broke that string, but the Eagles responded as Reyes rebounded his own miss for a lay-up, Luis Morales scored off a steal and then fed Madrid for a lay-up to give Pecos its first double-digit lead of the night.

They led 42-33 going into the final period, when Zubeldia hit a lay-up and was fouled by Ruben Baeza. He made the foul shot and Joseph Rodriguez followed with two more foul shots for a 47-33 lead. The Eagles’ biggest lead would be the final 16-point margin, which they first reached at 35-51 on a basket by Carrasco midway through the final period. “Our free throw shooting is a lot better than last year, and our shooting percentage is better than last year because more of our shots are coming from inside, either off the boards (rebounds) or we’re getting it inside to the posts,” Soliz said. “Pedro (Rodriguez) played very well, and it’s kind of new having some size down low with Pedro, Junior and Paul.” Ramirez led Presidio in scoring with 17, while no other player was in double figures for the Blue Devils.

Presidio dropped down to Class 2A this season, while the Eagles moved into what should be a tougher basketball district, in the new District 4-3A, which will also include a pair of two-time defending district champs, in Fort Stockton and Fabens, who will be among the teams in the tournament in Alpine that Pecos will be participating in this weekend. District 4-3A rival Tornillo will also be in the tournament, but the Eagles will open up play with a Thursday game against Ponder, Soliz said.

Before then, the Eagles headed to Alpine on Tuesday for a non-tournament match-up against the Bucks. The Eagles’ freshmen and junior varsity teams will also play in Alpine on Tuesday, at 5 and 6:30 p.m., while they’re scheduled to take on Ponder in the opening round of the tournament on Thursday.

The ninth graders lost their season opener to Presidio, by a 51-37 final score, while the JV fell to 0-2 with a 44-36 loss to the Blue Devils. C.J. Gomez’s 14 points topped the ninth graders in scoring, while Edmundo Domniguez led the JV with 10.

Pecos again tries for first win after loss to Jal

The Pecos Eagle girls will try to earn their first win of the 2008-09 season Tuesday night against the team that ended Pecos’ 2007-08 season, when they travel to Seminole to face the Maidens in a 6 p.m. game.

The Eagles saw their season record fall to 0-2 this past Tuesday with a 64-60 loss in Jal to the Panthers, and will face Seminole, which defeated Pecos in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs this past February, on Tuesday and then take on the host Greenwood Rangerettes Thursday night, in the opening round of the Rangerette Varsity Shootout.

Coach Brent McWilliams said the Eagles fell behind the Panthers early and had problems defending Jal’s fast break offense in the early going. “It was a pretty rough game. We have to work on our defensive transition and on our free throws, but it was a lot better than against Midland Lee,” he said, referring to Pecos’ 67-36 loss to the Rebels in their season opener.

“We missed shots and didn’t transition well from offense to defense. Jal pushed the ball upcourt, and they had one girl who was about 5-11 who was a pretty good scorer,” McWilliams said. “Wink beat them real bad when she didn’t play, so she made a big difference.”

Seminole beat Pecos last season in the playoffs by a 72-48 score, using a 30-13 advantage in the final period to pull away from the Eagles. Gabby Garcia, who McWilliams said had a good game against Jal last week, led Pecos with 20 points in their playoff loss to the Maidens, who are led this season by junior post Kelsey Hughes.

Thursday’s game against Greenwood will be an 8 p.m. start, and the winner will take on either San Angelo Central or Fort Stockton in the tournament semifinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The loser will play a consolation round quarterfinal game at 12 noon on Friday against Midland Christian, Odessa High or Colorado City in the nine-team tournament.

Pecos’ junior varsity also will play Seminole on Tuesday, at 4:30 p.m., and then will face Greenwood at 2 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round of the JV division of the Rangerettes’ tournament. The JV defeated Jal last week to improve their record to 2-0 on the season.

Daughter of PHS grad earns state berth

The daughter of a former Pecos resident recently became the first runner for Greenwood High School to qualify for the Class 3A state cross-country finals.

Savannah Morales participated in her first UIL State Cross Country meet held in Round Rock recently. She earned her trip to state by placing eighth at the Region I-3A meet in Lubbock with a 12:29.14 time.

She is the daughter of Irma Morales Nichols, a 1988 graduate of Pecos High School and Jack Nichols of Midland. Her grandparents are George and Lydia Morales, formerly of Pecos.

Morales finished in 24th place out of 108 competitors at Round Rock, with a time of 12:24.

Morales, a sophomore cross country runner for Greenwood, and her coach Shelia Smith had family members staked out along the regional course at Mae Simmons Park in A year ago, Morales placed 16th at regionals, but this year she qualified for state competition.

When Morales didn’t qualify for state last year, she decided then that it wasn’t going to happen again and she’s been on pace to run alongside the best runners in the state since. Even when track season ended and school was out, she didn’t stop running.

Morales ran summer track with a team in her city to keep in shape.

She stated that August was the only month this year that she didn’t work out.

Morales and her coach Shelia Smith walked the course the night before the big race, to get a feel for it and map out where Morales’ supporters should set up to track her place during the race.

Her coach stated that she knows Morales, who is the first Greenwood athlete she’s coached to state, has what it takes to crack the top 20 all on her own.

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