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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 30, 2007

Eagles chewed up on road by Bulldogs’ taller line-up

The Pecos Eagles’ boys basketball team took a big step up in their first road game of the 2007-08 season, and ended up taking a big loss on Tuesday night against the Midland High Bulldogs.

Midland raced out to a 15-3 lead after one period, then went on a 20-0 run in the second quarter to turn an 18-8 advantage into a 38-8 lead just before halftime. Things would be only slightly better for Pecos in the second half against the Bulldogs, who ended up winning by an 84-26 final score.

The Eagles, now 1-1 on the season, were trying to bounce back against a much smaller school Thursday morning in Coahoma, when they took on Miles in the opening round of their first tournament of the season. Pecos will play either the host Bulldogs or Sterling City on Friday, at 1:30 p.m. in the consolation round or 7:30 p.m. in the tournament’s semifinals.

Tuesday’s game was Pecos’ first basketball game against a Class 5A team in several years, and coach Sammy Soliz said the bigger school also had much bigger players than the Eagles were able to handle “I thought we were able to handle their quickness. It was more their height that hurt. They were just way too tall for us,” he said. “I think our starting center was probably the same height as their starting guard.” J.R. Lujan, who had 24 points in Pecos’ opening win over Alpine, accounted for over half of the Eagles’ scoring on Tuesday, finishing with 14 points, while all but one of their other points came from post Paul Zubeldia, who had five points, and guard Edgardo Madrid, who finished with six.

“We had a couple of lay-ups where kids just came out of nowhere to block our shots,” Soliz said. “J.R. was the only one to score in double figures and Paul played well before he got himself in foul trouble. He tried to do a little too much with their height.”

He said Madrid, Timo Reyes and Jonathan Dominguez didn’t do a bad job against Midland High’s press in getting the ball upcourt, but that Pecos still had turnover problems.

“Our kids make some little mistakes here and there. They tried to lob the ball over their big guys, and that’s not going to happen. They need to bounce pass it,” Soliz said. “We also stopped the dribble after getting across half court and got trapped.”

Lujan’s 14 tied Midland’s Montrey Anders for high-point in the game, The Bulldogs had only one other player in double figures, but 12 players scored at least two points.

“I talked to the kids and told them that’s going to be the best team we play all year,” Soliz said. The Eagles will try and turn things around this week, starting with their game against Class A Miles.

Along with Pecos’ district rival Presidio is also in the tournament, and faces Wall in their opener.

Sweetwater takes on Stanton in the other first round game of the tournament, which runs through Saturday evening’s championship game.

Eagles’ 2nd half run cages Panthers

The Pecos Eagles basketball team took a while to adjust to a one-third reduction in their varsity roster, for Tuesday night’s game against the Jal Panthers. But after being unable to pull away from Jal in the first half, the Eagles used a strong third quarter to pull away from the visiting Panthers for a 48-32 win at the Pecos High School gym.

The win improved the Eagles to 3-2 on the season going into their first tournament of the year this weekend in Greenwood. Pecos began play Thursday afternoon with a 4:30 p.m. game against the San Angelo Central Bobcats, and will play again either on Friday night or Saturday morning, depending on the outcome of their opening game.

Coach Donna Gent was minus three sophomores and one junior for Tuesday’s game against Jal. “I moved Brittany (Quintana) and Olivia (Castilleja) down to the junior varsity, because they need to get some playing time,” Gent said. Sophomore post Veronica Tarin is ineligible until mid-December and junior post Catherine Moore had to miss the game due to a death in the family, which left Pecos with only eight players available Tuesday.

“Not having Catherine’s rebounding I think did hurt us, but Claire (Weinacht) stepped in and did a good job,” Gent said. Weinacht had seven rebounds and six steals starting at post on Tuesday, but Pecos did have trouble in the early going scoring inside with their smaller lineup.

Jal took a 3-0 lead on a Jessica Romero jumper and foul shot by Claudia Navarette before the Eagles finally scored three minutes into the game, on a foul shot by Gabby Garcia. Jasmine Rayos would tie the game with a lay-up and two more foul shots by Garcia put Pecos ahead, but the Panthers would rally late in the period to tie the game at 7-7 on two lay-ups by Kristine Vargas, who led Jal with 10 points.

The Panthers would stage another rally in the second period, wiping out a 15-10 Pecos lead to take a 16-15 lead after two foul shots by Vargas. Pecos would regain the lead by halftime, at 20-17, on a Weinacht free throw and a lay-up by Rayos, but Jal would start the second half the same way they started the first, with a Romero jumper that cut the lead to one.

The Eagles finally would get a run going after that, helped by both some steals and second chance baskets. Garcia, who lead all scorers with 20, scored seven straight points on lay-ups, the last a three-point play when she followed up her own miss and was fouled by Vargas. Rayos then scored off a rebound of her own missed shot, and Allyson Salcido then hit the first two of her four baskets in the period, to give Pecos a 33-19 lead.

Jal would cut that margin by two in the final three minutes of the quarter, and got to within 10 early in the final period on a Shelby Kimball jumper. But Garcia then connected from 3-point range and Diana Parada scored on a lay-up to widen the lead to 15. Pecos would get their biggest lead at 44-27 off a rebound lay-up by Brittany Palomino, before both teams went through a three-minute stretch of sloppy play to end the game.

“I felt like we had too many turnovers. We were trying to force the passes,” Gent said. “In the third quarter we played our game. We shot well and took charge, but we seemed to let up in the fourth quarter.” Aside from the loss of focus, Gent said the Eagles also took a step back in both field goal and foul shooting. Pecos went 8-for-23 from the line, with no player shooting over 50 percent for the game.

“We just need to focus more on shooting and not rushing our shots,” she said. “I think overall they played harder, knowing they were going to have to play more because we only had eight people, and Ally Salcido did an excellent job coming off the bench and scoring eight points.”

Central’s girls have been off since prior to Thanksgiving. The winner of Thursday’s game will play at 5 p.m. on Friday against either Colorado City, Brownfield or El Paso Irvin. Irvin will face the winner of the opening round match-up between the Wolves and Cubs, with the loser of the Colorado City-Brownfield game facing the Pecos-Central loser at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday in a consolation semifinal game.

In the other half of the 10-team bracket, the host Rangerettes open against Pecos’ district rival Fort Stockton, with the winner there taking on El Paso Bowie, while San Angelo Lake View faces Midland Christian. Play will continue through the consolation and championship finals Saturday afternoon and evening.

Pecos’ junior varsity also won on Tuesday, beating Jal by a 42-36 score. Destiny Simmons led the Eagles in scoring with 10. The JV will play its first tournament this weekend, at Imperial, where they’ll face Dell City’s varsity on Friday in a 9 a.m. game.

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