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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tors use quickness to blow past Eagles

The Lamesa Golden Tornadoes’ quickness was too much for the Pecos Eagles, in their final basketball game of 2008 last week, as turnovers, fouls and injuries by the Eagles helped the Tors turn a four-point halftime lead into a 72-51 victory.

The Dec. 22 game was the last for Pecos until this coming Saturday, when they’ll open up the new year with their District 4-3A opener, at home against the Tornillo Coyotes.

“I thought we played great in the first half, but after that we made a lot of mistakes,” said Eagles’ coach Sammy Solis, whose team committed 42 turnovers in 32 minutes of play. “We’re still not executing, and we’re still not moving to the ball.

“I also thought our hustle today was very, very poor. Us getting loose balls was non-existent, and we didn’t have anybody diving on the floor.”

Three Eagle posts would foul out of the game, while two Pecos guards were forced to leave the game due to injury, with guard Edgar Madrid being forced back into the game despite a sprained ankle when the Eagles ran out of bodies in the closing minutes of the game.

The turnover problems were there from the start, as the quicker Lamesa guards pressed Pecos for the entire afternoon. But the Tors had shooting problems in the first half, which mostly offset the extra chances they had due to the turnovers.

But the turnovers also let to early Pecos fouls, and Tors’ post Stephan Alexander and guard Daevonn Thomas went to the foul line a combined 10 times in the first five minutes of the game. They hit eight of those, while Pecos’ only trip to the stripe during that time came on two free throws from Paul Zubeldia, but a 3-pointer and two foul shots off a Lamesa technical foul by Junior Carrasco and a lay-up just before the buzzer by Luis Morales off a pass from Joseph Rodriguez gave the Eagles a 15-14 lead going into the second quarter.

Pecos’ last lead of the game was at 17-16, off a rebound lay-up by Carrasco, and the Eagles would trail by as much as eight, at 30-22, midway through the second period before a lay-up and a three-point play by Morales cut the margin back to three, and the Eagles would go into the half trailing 34-30.

A foul shot by Timo Reyes to open the period got Pecos to within three, but the next nine free throw attempts of the period were by Lamesa, most of those coming on Pecos fouls off turnovers.

All that was part of a 14-2 run that saw Madrid and Zubeldia pick up their third fouls and Reyes leave the game with a leg injury. Madrid would leave the game with his ankle injury a short time later, while the Tors would start hitting their outside shots, with Demetria McCurdy hitting a pair of 3-pointers that had Lamesa up 56-43 going into the final period.

“We lost our two main ballhandlers in the third quarter and that hurt, but we’re still throwing lazy passes and not meeting the ball, and that’s what we’ve talked about since Day 1,” Soliz said. “When we throw lazy passes and us not meeting the ball, that gets us in trouble.”

The foul shooting for the Tors continued in the final period, as Rodriguez, Zubeldia and Carrasco all fouled out for Pecos in the first four minutes of the period. Pecos also got to the foul line in the final period, but only had one basket in the quarter, a jumper by Sammy Sandoval, as Lamesa added eight more points to their lead in the final eight minutes.

Alexander and Thomas both ended up going to the line 13 times each, and Lamesa wound up taking 52 free throws in the game, hitting 28, while Pecos went to the line just about half as much, going 17-for-27. Alexander led Lamesa with 19 points while McCurdy had 12, and Morales and Carrasco led Pecos with 13 points apiece.

Lamesa improved to 6-4 with the win, while Pecos dropped to 3-7 on the season going into the holiday break. Soliz said the team would resume practice on Tuesday in preparation for their Saturday night district opener against Tornillo.

“I wanted to see where our toughness was. We need to be physically tough and mentally tough, and we weren’t tonight,” he said. “We’ve got to go do something about it and begin addressing the problem.”

“You can see some bright spots on the team. When we execute, we’re fine and we can break the press and get easy shots. But it’s when we don’t listen and get lazy that we get in trouble.”

Lamesa also took the junior varsity game over Pecos, by a 59-32 score. Matthew Rodriguez led the Eagles with 11 points.

Bears place seven on all-district football squad

Three members of the Balmorhea Bears varsity football team were named to the All-District 8-A Division II six man football team’s first team squad and the second team All-Region II six-man team, while four others were second team selections on offense and defense in voting by the district’s coaches.

Named to the first team were junior Adam Roman as a utility back and sophomore Ryan Mondragon as a defensive lineman, while freshman Alexander Mendoza was chosen as Newcomer of the Year by the district’s four coaches. The three were also second team selections on the Region II squad Roman and Mondragon at their positions and Mendoza as a cornerback.

Mondragon was also a second-team selection on offense as tight end and as a kicker, along with being chosen second team punter, while Roman was also named to the second team on defense as a utility back.

They were joined by junior Alvaro Beltran, a second team selection at both quarterback and cornerback; junior Gabriel Jurado, who was chosen at running back and noseguard; sophomore Nigel Lozano, named at both spreadback and linebacker; and sophomore Marcos Beltran, who was chosen at running back and as a defensive lineman.

Lozano and Mondragon were second-team all-district selections a year ago. Balmorhea ended the 2008 season overall with a 5-5 record, and were 0-3 in district play, with Marathon again forfeiting all of their 8-A six-man schedule due to a lack of players.

While all of Balmorhea’s selections will be returning next season, district champion Sanderson and second place Sierra Blanca had a number of seniors chosen to the squad.

The Vaqueros, who advanced to the Region I-Division II finals before losing to Borden County, 64-36, were represented on the first team by senior wide receiver Ian Pantoja, the Most Valuable Players for District 8-A this season, who also was named to the first team at cornerback; junior spreadback Adam Ramirez, the district’s offensive MVP; senior Justin Lawson as defensive MVP; senior Loren Gil as a safety and special teams player; junior defensive lineman and kicker James Perez, and junior punter Gabirel Porras.

Sanderson, which lost to Borden County in their playoff opener, 64-18, was represented on offense by seniors Jonathan Brotherton and Phillip Lascano at running back and fullback along with four juniors, Darren Seidel at tight end; Ryan Rosas at wide receiver; David Shoemaker at center; and Jacob Benavidez at quarterback. Lascano, Seidel and Rosas were also first team picks on defense, at linebacker, noseguard and utility player, and were joined by another senior, safety Jimmy Rapp.

Dell City’s first team selections were senior Ty Nichols at wide receiver and linebacker; and junior Javier Holguin at spreadback and cornerback; and sophomore Gabriel Galvan at defensive lineman.

The other second team picks on offense were Sierra Blanca senior Nathan Sanchez at center; Porras at fullback and sophomore Luis Holguin as a special teams player; Sanderson senior Jamie Rodriguez at utility back; and Dell City junior Oscar Jimenez at tight end and Galvan at wide receiver.

The other second team picks on defense were Sierra Blanca junior Justin Rose and sophomore Nick Gonzales on the defensive line; Sanderson’s Benavides at cornerback and Brotherton at safety; and Dell City sopohomore William Pyron at noseguard.

Borden County, which went on to rout Woodson, 54-8, to win the Division II six-man state title had the most players named to the All-Region II team. Sierra Blanca’s Pantajo, Gil and Ramirez were first team selections on offense, while Porras and Lawson were first team picks on defense. Sanderson had four players on the first team regional squad; Brotherton and Lascano on offense and Seidel and Rosas on defense.

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