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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bad weather fears scrub Pecos’ softball openers

Saturday’s weather in the Pecos area was a lot better than had been forecast, but arrived too late to salvage the Pecos Eagles’ season opening softball games against Kermit and Seminole.

Pecos had been scheduled to host the Yellowjackets and Maidens to start the 2008 season, but forecasts for snow and freezing rain Saturday morning led Eagles’ coach Tammy Walls to cancel the openers on Friday. As things turned out, the worst of the weather stayed to the north and east of Pecos, and climbed into the low 60s by Saturday afternoon before winds picked up later in the day. The forecast is much better for the Eagles on Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to be near 80 when Pecos makes its second attempt to start the 2008 season by hosting Crane in a 5 p.m. start. The Eagles have already scrimmaged the Golden Cranes twice this season, and will be going to Crane later this week for their first tournament of the year.

The late afternoon winds did affect Pecos’ baseball team, which faced a team made up of former Eagle players in the annual alumni game. The Eagles were scheduled to start their 2008 season Monday night with a 7 p.m. game at home against the Greenwood Rangers.

It’s the first of three games this week for the Eagles. They’ll host Snyder in a 7 p.m. game on Friday, and then play their first road game of the 2008 season at 2 p.m. on Saturday, in Fabens against the Wildcats.

Registrations for volleyball, soccer begin

The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department has begun signing up boys and girls for spring programs in both soccer and volleyball, with registration continuing through March 14.

The soccer league is open to boys and girls ages 4 1/2 through 9, and has an entry fee of $10 per player. Spring volleyball is for children who currently are in grades 2 through 8, and also has a $10 registration fee. A late registration fee of $25 will be charged for sign-ups after the March 14 deadline.

Parents signing up their children have to provide a birth certificate, and the signatures of both parents must be on the returned registration form. Forms are available, and should be returned to the recreation department office in the old Pecos High School gym. For further information, call the RCCRD office at 447-9776.

Pecos JV girls beat cold front, get 2nd in tourney

This past weekend’s cold weather was enough to cancel the Pecos Eagle boys’ golf tournament in Fort Stockton. But Pecos’ junior varsity girls were able to beat the cold front by getting in a one-day tournament on Thursday in Andrews, where they placed second to Monahans in the five-team field.

The Eagles shot a 415 while the Loboes had a 379 for the 18-hole tournament. Andrews was next with a 445 score and were followed by Kermit at 454 and Levelland at 483.

“They played well,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan. “I’m still working on getting all the girls out of the 100s and into the 90s.”

Katrina Hinojos was the only Eagle to break 100 on the day. She shot a 99 while Kayla Natividad shot a 101, Samantha Sparkman had a 103, Rina Pino shot a 112 and Heather Matta had a 115.

“Katrina played well. That’s the first time she got out of the 100s and into the 90s in Andrews. New we’ve just got to get the other girls to do that to compete with Monahans,” Doan said.

She added that she plans to take both her varsity and junior varsity girls to Fort Stockton for tournament play this weekend. Monahans, Andrews and Greenwood will be the other Class 3A teams entered along with the Eagles and the host Prowlers, while Odessa High, Odessa Permian, Crane and Midland Christian will also be entered in the 36-hole tournament.

The boys will also have a two-day tournament scheduled this weekend, in Midland, while the varsity girls will go to Midland the following weekend.

PHS swimmers face strong field in Class 4A state finals

The Pecos Eagle swim teams will have to be at their best to have a chance to qualify for the finals this coming weekend, at the Class 4A Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin.

Pecos qualified five boys and one girl for the Class 4A finals, while winning first in the boys’ team standings and second on the girls’ side in the Region I-4A meet in Lubbock. But the highest any Pecos swimmer will be seeded is eighth going into Friday morning’s preliminaries at the Jamail Aquatic Center on he University of Texas-Austin campus.

Senior Matthew Florez, named as the Outstanding Swimmer for the boys at the Region I-3A meet, will go into the 50-yard freestyle seeded eighth and will be seeded ninth going into the 100-yard free. The Top 8 finishers in each event on Friday qualify for the finals on Saturday, while the remaining eight swimmers will be entered in the consolation finals.

“The meet is quite a bit faster this year. There’s not a year that goes by that it doesn’t get a little bit faster,” said Eagles’ coach Terri Morse, as realignment in recent years has added more and more schools in the state’s metropolitan areas into Class 4A.

Florez’s 22.43 time in the 50 is one second in back of No. 1 seed Daniel Kempf of Austin LBJ, while his 49.38 time in the 100 puts the senior 1.8 seconds behind No. 1 seed Colin Nix of Frisco. Junior Josh Elliott also qualified in two events at regional, but will go into the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke as the No. 16 seed, while the Eagles’ 200-yard medley relay team of Elliott, Florez, Derek Teague and Carlos Navarro will go into their race seeded 15th overall.

Navarro replaced Hector Roman as the fourth member of the relay team, after Roman was injured in a Jan. 31 car accident. The junior was favored to advance to state as well in the 1-meter diving competition, where he placed seventh a year ago, but Pecos will still have a diver entered in that event, as sophomore Sammy Sandoval qualified with a second place finish at regionals. His 263.50 score ranks him 13th out of the 16 divers entered in the finals.

The only girl for Pecos to qualify for state, Alyson Reynolds, set a new regional record in winning the 500-yard freestyle with a 5:29.73 time, seven seconds better than her winning time at district. But the freshman will likely have to cut even more time off to advance to Saturday’s finals, as she’s seeded 13th going into the preliminaries.

“I think that Josh should be able to cut dome time. At least I hope he can, and Alyson seems to think she can cut some time,” Morse said. “With the relay, I don’t know, but where we’re seeded we’re next to a couple of fast teams. But we’ll have to have a good prelim.”

Most of the Region I state qualifiers are seeded in the lower half of their brackets. The highest seed on the girls’ side is Midland Greenwood’s Joselin Drennan, who is eighth in the 100-yard butterfly, while Florez’s No. 8 seed in the 50 free is the best among any of the boys’ qualifiers out of Region I-4A.

“With the way they changed the meet this year it affected the call-ups,” Morse said. She explained that in the past the eight at-large times were selected only from the top four swimmers in each region, while the new rules simply go by the eight best times after the eight automatic berths to the regional winners.

“Some of the faster regionals with schools like Highland Park and Frisco, where the competition is really tough probably picked up a few more kids, instead of a couple of kids from our region or some of the others,” Morse said.

This year’s state meet will be a morning event for the Class 4A and below schools. Preliminaries will start at 9 a.m. on Friday at the Jamail Aquatic Center, and the finals are scheduled on Saturday for an 8:30 a.m. start.

Maidens’ 3-point baskets shoot down Eagles

The Seminole Maidens had an answer for the Pecos Eagles’ defensive plan on Friday night in the area round of the Class 3A girls’ basketball playoffs.

The Eagles, who focused their defense on stopping Seminole’s Courtney Layton and Kelsey Hughes, weren’t able to contain Tara Johnson and Seminole’s other outside shooters enough in the second and fourth quarters. Their 3-point shots helped the Maidens go on a 20-5 run in the second period to turn a tie game into a 15-point lead, and then, after the Eagles had fought back to within five in the third quarter, stopped that comeback and helped them outscore Pecos 30-13 in the final quarter for a 74-48 victory.

“When we scouted them against Greenwood they didn’t have any three point shooters. They hit only one 3-point shot, but they were draining them tonight,” said Eagles’ coach Donna Gent. “We shut down No. 20 (sophomore post Kelsey Hughes), but the other girls beat us.”

Hughes had scored 20 points in Seminole’s bi-district playoff win over Greenwood four days earlier, but was held to just five points on Tuesday. The Eagles had more problems with Layton, as the 6-foot-1 post was able to score often in the opening period, including a couple of lay-ups off flat-footed rebounds.

“I felt like we didn’t block out very well. We gave them too many shots underneath,” Gent said.

Pecos actually hit the first 3-pointer of the night, by Gabby Garcia, which helped cut an early 6-0 Maidens lead to 6-5. But Seminole’s Leah Greenfield would hit the first of the Maidens’ six three-pointers late in the opening period, during an 8-0 run that put the Eagles in a 14-5 hole. However, Pecos rallied at the end of the period with a 7-0 streak of their own.

A Jasmine Rayos lay-up, a three-point play by Veronica Tarin and a Brittany Palomino lay-up got Pecos within two by the end of the period, as they were able to break Seminole’s press and eventually force coach Dickie Faught to pull back a bit on the pressure the Maidens had used successfully against Greenwood.

“No. 22 (Diana Parada) gave us a lot of problems. It was hard to guard her,” Faught said.

Garcia opened the second period by hitting two free throws to tie the game, but Seminole’s Lara Lopez then hit from outside, giving the Maidens the lead for good and starting the 20-5 run that included two other 3-point baskets. The outside shooting also opened things up again inside for Layton, who would convert a pair of three-point plays during the run, the last giving the Maidens a 34-19 lead.

Pecos would knock four points off that lead by halftime, with Rayos closing out the second period with a 3-pointer. Layton would then have problems hitting her shots from inside in the third period, while her teammates couldn’t connect from the outside, and the Eagles outscored the Maidens 7-1 over the first 5 1/2 minutes of the period. Garcia closed out the run with a 3-pointer that got Pecos to within 38-33.

Following a time-out, Valerie Villalba would score and was fouled by Catherine Moore. She converted her foul shot up widen the lead back to eight, and after Parada found Rayos for a lay-up Johnson nailed a 3-pointer from the left side as time ran down in the third quarter, giving Seminole a 44-35 lead.

“Johnson hit a lot of big shots the rest of the night, and Valerie had a big three-point play in the third quarter when we were up by five, and Layton kind of got us going,” Faught said.

The Maidens would widen their lead back to 15 in the first two minutes of the final period. Hughes, Villalba and Greenfield all had baskets, while the Eagles turned the ball over once and Layton had one of her three blocks in the final period during that run.

Pecos also struggled to get the ball off inside while misfiring on their outside shots. They finally got on the board when Garcia hit two free throws, but Layton then scored and was fouled by Tarin, and Johnson hit another 3 to make it a 55-37 game. Seminole then started scoring on the fast break off missed Pecos shots, including three straight lay-ups by Layton that ended any chances of an Eagle comeback.

Pecos would then begin fouling to try and get the ball back as time wound down, but Seminole would hit 12 of their 18 foul shots over the final 3 1/2 minutes of play and would lead by as many as 28 points down the stretch.

“Wee played hard to the end. The girls never gave up,” said Gent. “But we were trying to go full court, man-to-man on defense and put some pressure on them, and I think that wore us down a little bit.”

Layton, who will play basketball for Lubbock Christian University next season, finished with 26 points to lead all scorers, while Johnson had 13 and Greenfield 12 for the Maidens, 18-15, who’ll now face District 4-3A rival Lubbock Cooper in the Region I-3A quarterfinals. Garcia had 20 to lead Pecos while Rayos finished with 13 for the Eagles, who finished their season with a 13-13 record.

Parada will be the only player Pecos loses to graduation next season, as the Eagles will try to repeat as district champions after winning their first outright district title since 1970 this year.

“I’m very proud of the girls. They gave everything they have and worked hard all year,” Gent said. “It’s going to hurt to lose Diana, but we have six juniors on the varsity this season, so they’re going to be good next year.”

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