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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Eagles catch ‘Cats in final quarter

Staff Writer

Scoring has been a problem this season for the Pecos Eagle boys’ basketball team. And it didn’t look as though anything was going to chance through 2 1/2 quarters of Friday night’s game against the Wink Wildcats.

With 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter the Eagles had scored just 22 points, and found themselves 11 points down to the visiting Wildcats, at 33-22. But the rest of the way, the Eagles suddenly found their touch, getting a couple of baskets off steals late in the third period, and then hitting from both inside and outside after that, as they poured in 38 points over the final 10 1/2 minutes of play and rallied to defeat Wink, by a 60-57 final score.

“I’m proud of them,” said Eagles’ coach Art Wellborn, whose team improved to 3-9 on the season going into Monday night’s District 3-3A opener at Presidio. “If we had shot the ball like that in the first half, we would have been all right. We were getting good looks, but we just weren’t hitting.”

While the Eagles had to come back from a double-digit deficit, they also had to survive a late 3-point barrage by Wink to get the win. Pecos took its first lead of the second half at 46-45 on a follow up basket by Lupito Bustamantes, who was playing in his first game of the season, with 3:16 to play. But they wouldn’t take the lead for good until just over a minute remaining, when Saul Pina nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Pecos a 54-51 lead.

Wink then missed on their next time downcourt and Pina made a pair of free throws for a 56-51 lead with 49.9 seconds to play. Wink’s Clay Fernandes then hit from 3-point range to make it 56-54, and the Wildcats attempted to press, but the Eagles got the ball upcourt and to Bustamantes, who ended up hitting a 10-foot jumper from the side to make it a 58-54 game.

This time, it was wink’s Marcus Thomas hitting from 3-point range to cut the lead to one with 17.5 seconds left. The Wildcats then fouled, but Miguel Estrada sank two more free throws to make it a three-point game, and the Wildcats missed two chances to tie from 3-point range in the final seconds.

Bustamantes was one of four Pecos players to score in double-figures on Friday, finishing with 14 points, though Wellborn said having missed the first month of the season, “He’s not completely familiar with what we’re running. But he’ll learn that, and I also think he was a little winded tonight. He’s not in game shape yet.”

Ricardo Morales led the Eagles with 15 points, most of that in the early going when no other Pecos player was scoring. He led a second quarter rally that got the Eagles a brief 18-16 lead after they trailed 13-6, though a jumper by Wink’s Robbie Sellers at the buzzer gave the Wildcats a 22-20 halftime lead.

Pina had 11 points for Pecos and Estrada finished with 10, with his last two foul shots capping a 13-for-14 night from the foul line for the Eagles. Wink didn’t have a bad night from the line, but their 9-for-13 effort ended up being the margin of difference in the game.

Fernandes and Ryan Rostas, with 13 apiece, led Wink, which dropped to 5-7 on the season. Monday’s game, along with being their first district game, is also the last before the Christmas holiday for Pecos. They’ll take another break from 3-3A play after that, though they could face a district rival at the Lamesa Holiday Tournament next week. They’ll play at 6 p.m. next Tuesday either against the host Tornadoes or the Sweetwater Mustangs in their opening game.

Pecos also won Friday’s junior varsity game, 52-45. Chris Garnto led the Eagles with 15 points.

Pecos can’t overcome 3rd period problems

A 16-point halftime lead was big enough to allow the Pecos Eagles to survive a bad third quarter in their District 3-3A girls’ basketball opener at Fort Stockton last Tuesday night. But the halftime lead the Eagles had Friday night against the Monahans Loboes was nowhere near as big, and they weren’t able to overcome a bad third quarter this time, in their district home opener.

The Eagles, who were outscored by 10 points in the third period at Fort Stockton but wound up winning by two, were outscored by 16 this time by Monahans in the third period. And with only a 21-20 lead going in at halftime, that left Pecos trailing by 15 points entering the final period of play, where the Loboes added another four points onto their lead, and ended up winning by a 63-44 final score.

Monahans’ sophomore Jacquelyn Hopkins opened the second half with a 3-point jumper, and the 6-footer scored from both inside and outside after a quiet first half, finishing with 20 points, while the Loboes’ Jenna Finn kept Monahans in the game in the opening half, when the Eagles were the ones hitting from the outside, with a trio of 3-pointers by Danielle Garcia, who finished with 13 points.

“They weren’t doing the little things they did in the first half,” said Eagles’ coach Lisa Lowery, who only used six players during the first half to nine for Monahans. But Lowery didn’t think her team was tired going into the second half.

“I think with us, it’s something goes wrong and it’s a 24-point breakdown. They outscored us 24-8 in the third quarter,” she said. “That killed us, and the free throws killed us.”

Arianna Armendariz led the Eagles with 14 points, but one of several Eagles to struggled at the foul line. Pecos hit just 11 of 27 free throws, while Monahans wasn’t any better, but only went to the foul line 11 times.

Pecos was ahead for almost the entire first half, after a the first of Garcia’s 3-point jumpers put them ahead in the first 20 seconds of play. Monahans would tie the score at 10-10, but a basket by Armendariz and two foul shots by Amalie Herrera made it 14-10 going into the second period, and the Eagles would take their biggest lead, at 21-16, midway through the second quarter on Garcia’s third 3-pointer.

Outside of a lay-up by Chantel Mazone early in the second half that tied the score one last time at 23-all, Garcia’s jumper would be the last basket for Pecos over the next nine minutes of play. A jumper by Finn and a 3-pointer by Dina Ortiz started a 13-0 run for the Loboes that made it a 36-23 game. Mazone would hit another basket to break the string, but Hopkins hit an outside jumper and two lay-ups, and Monahans lead grew to 44-29 by the end of the quarter.

Pecos then had a chance to cut the lead back in the opening 30 seconds of the final period, going to the foul line six times. But the Eagles could hit just two of those free throws and never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

The loss left Pecos with a 2-12 season record and 1-1 in district, while Monahans is 2-0 and 4-7 on the season. Pecos did win Friday’s junior varsity game, defeating the Loboes by a 30-26 final score. Vanessa Valeriano and Ashley Lucas had 10 points apiece to lead Pecos.

In Friday’s other two district games, Greenwood also improved to 2-0 with a 62-39 win over Fort Stockton, while Seminole is 2-0 after their 33-19 win over Lamesa. The 3-3A schedule will take a break after Monday and Tuesday’s games, and will resume the first week of January. In-between, Pecos will compete in the Reagan County Tournament at big Lake between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

MONAHANS (63) Swarb 0 0-0 0; Gonzales 0 0-0 0; Cartwright 1 2-5 4; Cheney 1 0-1 2; Fuentes 0 0-0 0; Finn 11 1-4 23; Cm. Cutbrith 1 0-0 2; Ortiz 2 0-0 5; Ct. Cutbirth 3 0-0 6; Hopkins 9 0-1 20. Totals 28 3-11 63.

PECOS (44) Ch. Ortiz 0 0-0 0; Carrasco 1 1-2 3; Garcia 4 2-2 13; Herrera 2 2-4 6; Valdez 0 2-7 2; Mendoza 0 0-0 0; Armendariz 5 4-12 14; Mazone 3 0-0 6. Totals 15 11-27 44. Monahans 10 10 24 19 --63 Pecos 14 7 8 15 --44 Three-point goals: Monahans 3 (Hopkins 2, Ortiz), Pecos 3 (Garcia 3). Fouled out: Pecos, Carrasco. Total fouls: Monahans 22, Pecos 11.

Balmorhea girls win tourney, boys place 2nd

Staff Writer

The Balmorhea Bears boys and girls basketball teams were both very familiar with their opponents, going into the finals of the Bears’ first-ever invitational tournament on Saturday.

Balmorhea’s girls played in the championship game against the Grandfalls-Royalty Cowgirls, the fourth time the teams have faced each other in the first month of the season, And the Bears evened up their season series against Grandfalls, jumping out to an early lead and then holding off a fourth quarter rally to defeat the Cowgirls by a 43-35 final score.

But the boys couldn’t get their first win in three tries over Van Horn, as the Eagles used a 9-2 run at the end of the third quarter to take a six-point lead, then held off the Bears’ comeback attempts in the final period and won by a 67-63 final score.

In the girls’ win the Bears held Grandfalls without a basket for almost 12 minutes and led by as many as 13 points, but saw the Cowgirls cut that lead to as little as three early in the final period.

“In the last part of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter we weren’t moving as good offensively or defensively,” said Bears’ coach Abel Garcia. “Rebounding is what’s hurt us all year.”

Garcia said the Bears had scored a 21-point win over the Cowgirls in their last meeting, at the Buena Vista Tournament, after Grandfalls had scored 4-point and 22-point wins in the teams’ first meeting since last February, when the Bears defeated the Cowgirls in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Saturday’s game started off as if it would be another big Balmorhea win, but while they couldn’t score from the field, Grandfalls did stay in the game from the foul line, thanks mainly to post Kristi Kester.

She scored the team’s first five points on free throws and ended up leading all scorers with 24 points, including 14-for-24 from the foul line in the game, mainly of those on fouls after offensive rebounds.

“Free throws were what kept them in the game. We put them on the line too many times,” said Garcia, though he added that overall, he didn’t think the Bears did that bad a job defensively outside of the rebounding problem.

“We only have one tall girl and it’s rough,” he said. “My other post is Samantha Carrasco. She didn’t play last year and this was her first game starting at post, and this was her best game. Kester likes to go to her left, and today Samantha finally put a bit of a stop to it; not completely, but we did a better job defensively on her.”

Balmorhea, meanwhile, was getting a big game from guard Savannah Matta, who led the Bears with 21 points. “Everything was going in for her. She had the game of our career, driving in for lay-ups or shooting from the outside,” Garcia said.

Most of that came in the first half, but she did hit a 3-pointer in the third period after back-to-back 3s by Grandfalls’ Amanda Martinez, and in the final period found Megan Mendoza inside for a lay-up with 5:14 to play, after a steal and lay-up by Kester had cut the Bears’ lead to 36-33.

Kester then missed a pair of foul shots, and Balmorhea widened their lead back to seven on a short jumper by Lorissa Rodriguez, who Garcia said had sprained her ankle in the team’s tournament opening win Friday morning.

“She did a good job considering she was having a hard time jumping,” Garcia said. She would hit one foul shot down the stretch, as the Bears worked to protect their lead, while Grandfalls could only manage a rebound lay-up by Kester in the closing minutes.

On Friday, the Bears also won a pair of close games to advance to the tournament finals, defeating Buena Vista in their opener, 46-40, then winning in the semifinals over Sierra Blanca, 32-27. Fort Davis ended up winning third place over Sierra Blanca with a 50-25 win, while Buena Vista edged Presidio for the consolation title, 43-41.

Balmorhea’s boys had an easy time in their opening tournament games on Friday, defeating Buena Vista, 82-35 and then downing Marathon, 80-25 in the semifinals. But they weren’t able to get past Van Horn, after falling by four and 11 points in the teams’ first two meetings.

Despite the loss, Bears’ coach Adolfo Garcia said, “I was very proud of the kids. We have not played like that in a long time. We had good ball movement, and there weren’t any forced shots. If we keep playing like that, we’ll be ready for district.”

Kevin Garibay scored 21 points and Joseph Corrales added 17 for the Eagles, but it was two baskets by Abel Barrera and a rebound basket by Victor Nunez off a missed Barrera free throw that broke the game open in the final period.

A pair of foul shots by Brian Mendoza with 3:14 to play left the Bears down 59-55, but Barrera then scored and was fouled by Michael Hernandez to make it a 61-55 game. Nunez’s basket off the missed free throw upped the lead to eight, and another lay-up by Barrera after a miss by the Bears at their end of the court put the Eagles ahead by 10 with two minutes remaining.

Van Horn had the better play inside most of the game, especially after Bears’ post Robert Vasquez got into early foul trouble. “Robert probably does the best job blocking out for us. I don’t know if he was tired today, but he did a lot of reaching and got some unnecessary fouls,” Garcia said.

Balmorhea stayed with the Eagles thanks to their outside shooting, including six 3-pointers. Half of those were by Mendoza, who led the Bears in scoring with 20 points. “He’s our leader, and right now he’s scoring about 18 points per game,” Garcia said. “Whenever he’s on, we have a great chance of winning.”

Vasquez had given the Bears their first lead, at 9-8, with a rebound lay-up in the opening period, but the lead would never get any larger than two points and would change hands several teams over the next two periods, until Van Horn went ahead to stay at 42-41 on a rebound basket by Zane Gary.

In the earlier games, Hernandez finished with 20 points in the Bears’ win over Buena Vista, while Justin Machuca led Balmorhea in their win over Sierra Blanca with 23 points.

Fort Davis won third place in the tournament with a 90-36 win over Marathon, while Grandfalls defeated Sierra Blanca for consolation, 64-27. Both Balmorhea’s boys and girls are off until after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, when they’ll host Buena Vista in their first games of 2005.

Saturday, girls

GRANDFALLS (35) Kester 5 14-24 24; Acosta 0 0-1 0; Martinez 4 0-0 10; D. Brandenburg 0 1-4 1; Subia 0 0-0 0; Alvarado 0 0-0 0; K. Brandenberg 0 0-0 0; Luna 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 15-29 35.

BALMORHEA (43) Carrasco 2 0-0 4; Lopez 1 0-2 2; Matta 9 2-4 21; Lujan 2 2-4 6; Garcia 0 0-0 0; Rodriguez 3 2-5 8; Mendoza 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 6-15 43. Grandfalls 3 10 14 8 --35 Balmorhea 13 9 14 7 --43 Three-point goals: Grandfalls 2 (Martinez 2), Balmorhea 1 (Matta). Fouled out: Grandfalls, Kester. Total fouls: Grandfalls 16, Balmorhea 17. Saturday, boys

VAN HORN (67) Gary 3 1-2 7; Nunez 3 0-0 8; Corrales 8 1-5 17; Barrera 4 4-5 12; Mendoza 0 0-0 0; Baeza 1 0-0 2; Garibay 9 3-6 21; Heston 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 9-18 67.

BALMORHEA (63) Rodriguez 1 0-0 3; Machuca 1 3-4 6; Barragan 4 1-2 9; Hernandez 5 2-4 12; Mendoza 5 7-8 20; Vasquez 4 0-0 9; Dominguez 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 13-18 63. Van Horn 17 14 18 18 --67 Balmorhea 16 15 12 20 --63 Three-point goals: Van Horn 2 (Nunez 2), Balmorhea 6 (Mendoza 3, Rodriguez, Machuca, Vasquez). Fouled out: Balmorhea, Vasquez. Total fouls: Van Horn 15, Balmorhea 16.

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Pecos Enterprise
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