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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, February 2, 2007

Late Presidio run sends Pecos to 51-31 defeat

The Pecos Eagles were able to overcome a bad start on Tuesday night in Presidio. But they weren’t able to survive a bad finish against the Blue Devils, and now face a big test on Friday night, at home against the Monahans Loboes.

Pecos fell to 0-2 in District 2-3A play against Presidio. They rallied from a 10-0 deficit to start the game, scoring 10 straight points of their own to tie, but then were outscored in the final 2 1/2 minutes of play by the Blue Devils, 11-0, which gave Presidio their second district win, by a 50-39 final score.

Presidio’s other win was also at home, last Friday against Monahans, and the Loboes will also be trying for their first win in 2-3A play when they face the Eagles in Pecos this Friday, starting at 6 p.m. The game marks the halfway point of district play for the Eagles and is the first of three straight home games for Pecos over the next eight days.

“We were in the game until late in the fourth quarter,” said assistant coach Art Wellborn, who said the Eagles went cold from the field at the end.

“Lucas (Macha) missed three in a row, and we started putting them on the line and the were making their free throws,” he said. “It was a lot closer game than the score indicated.” He added that the officials overall didn’t help the Eagles, who went to the foul line only seven times on the night, compared to 30 attempts by the Blue Devils.

Presidio had a couple of three-point plays in their 10-0 opening run, before a basket by Macha got Pecos on the board. The Eagles then had a couple of baskets off turnovers in their 10-0 run to tie the game, and Wellborn said, “From there until the fourth quarter it was a nip-and tuck game.”

The Eagles trailed 20-18 at halftime, but used a 13-8 advantage in the third period to grab a 31-28 lead, and were ahead by as many as five points early in the final period, before the Blue Devils staged their comeback.

Macha’s 11 points led Pecos in scoring, while Jaime Ortega had 15 to lead the Blue Devils, who are 2-0 in district and 7-3 on the season.

Pecos fell to 6-14, but can take a one-game lead on Monahans for the third and final playoff spot with a homecourt win on Friday. The Eagles then host Fort Stockton and Presidio next week. The Loboes lost by one last Friday at Presidio and then fell at home on Tuesday to Fort Stockton, 69-60.

Friday’s game tentatively is set for a 6 p.m. start instead of the normal 7:30 p.m. game time, but could e moved back to its normal time. The change was made to accommodate Monahans’ girls’ basketball team, which hoped to get starting post Catherine Cutbirth back from the regional swim meet in Lubbock. But that effort failed when the Class 4A regionals were set for a 3:30 p.m. start on Friday.

Pecos did win Tuesday’s junior varsity game by a 35-26 score, while the ninth grade Eagles lost to the Blue Devils. No score was available.

Eagles down Blue Devils, clinch playoff spot

The second game in four days between the Pecos Eagles and Presidio Blue Devils wasn’t as easy as the first one had been for Pecos. But it still ended up in a victory, and with a little help from Monahans, allowed the Eagles to clinch their first playoff berth in 16 years.

The Eagles, 70-45 winners at home last Saturday, went down to Presidio and outscored the Blue Devils in all four quarters of their game Tuesday night, though they were up by as few as six points in the final period, before coming away with a 50-39 win. Combined with Monahans’ 46-40 victory over Fort Stockton, it clinched post-season berths for both the Eagles and Loboes, who’ll meet on Friday night, tentatively at 7:30 p.m. in Pecos.

Gabby Garcia had 15 points, including a pair of 3-point shots, while Adriana Armendariz had eight of her 12 points in the opening period for Pecos, which outscored Presidio by two points in three of the four quarters and by an 11-6 margin in the second period, which allowed them to take a 26-19 halftime lead.

Head coach Debbie Garcia was at a training session on Wednesday, but assistant coach Donna Gent said despite the closer score, “I thought our girls dominated on the court. There was never any sign we weren’t in control of the game.”

Tuesday’s game didn’t have the parade to the free throw line like the teams’ first meeting in November, when both teams took 76 free throws, 51 by Pecos, or last Saturday, when the teams combined for 50 foul shots, 30 by Presidio. But the Eagles still ended up going to the line 23 times and the Blue Devils 20, though Presidio ended up committing 26 fouls to just 12 for the Eagles.

“They were doing anything they could to change things, and it ended up causing them foul trouble,” Gent said.

Garcia was 7-for-10 from the line, most of that in the final period, while Presidio’s Arely Levario was 6-for-10, as part of her team-high 14 points.

“I thought our girls did a good job rebounding, and they did a good job feeding the ball inside,” Gent said. Senior post Chantel Mazone was also in double-figures for Pecos, with 11 points.

The win improved Pecos’ record to 3-1 in district and 7-13 on the season, going into their game on Friday at home against Monahans. The Loboes pulled away from the Eagles in the final period two weeks ago in Monahans, winning by a 46-29 score after a 38-28 win at home in December at the Sandhills Tournament.

Monahans’ win over Fort Stockton put them at 4-0 in district play, and the Loboes can clinched the District 2-3A title with a win on Friday. But Gent said Monahans will be minus senior post Catherine Cutbirth for the game, due to this weekend’s Region I-4A Swimming and Diving Championships in Lubbock.

“They were hoping to get her back in time for the game, but the times for the regional swim meet have been changed, and she won’t be able to get back,” Gent said. Last year’s 4A regionals were in the morning, while this year’s don’t start until 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Cutbirth, who along with Dina Ortiz and Jordan Latham is one of Monahans’ leading scorers, has the top-seeded time in the 50-yard freestyle and is seeded second in the 100-free going into this weekend’s swim meet.

Gent said the Eagles had agreed to flip the starting times for Friday’s boys and girls varsity games in order to help the Loboes. With Cutbirth and her sister Candace not being able to make it back from Lubbock in time for the game, the game may be switched back to it’s regular 6 p.m. starting time.

Pecos also won Tuesday’s junior varsity game over Presidio, by a 40-28 final score. Veronica Tarin led the Eagles with 13 points. Friday’s JV game between Pecos and Monahans will start at its normal 4:30 p.m. time.

Pecos seeks state berths at 4A regional swim meet

The winning times for the Pecos Eagles’ boys swimming team at last week’s District 4-4A meet in Monahans were enough to give them the top seeds in all those events going into Friday’s preliminaries, at the Region I-4A Swimming and Diving Championships at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center in Lubbock. But the Eagles will have competition in several of those races, both from district rivals and from El Paso area swimmers, as they seek their seventh regional title in eight seasons.

Pecos’ girls didn’t have as many wins last Wednesday, but joined the boys in capturing the District 4-4A championship. In Lubbock, the Eagles will try to improve on their results in order to earn trips to state at regional, where El Paso Chapin will be favored to win their third straight I-4A title on Saturday.

Diving finals will start things off on Thursday at 1 p.m., while the prelims and finals for Class 4A and below schools is set for 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Only the winner of each event earns an automatic trip to state, along with eight at-large berths from across the state, based on times.

Times in general out of Region I have been faster on the boys’ side than on the girls’ side over the years, and the Eagles will go into the meet seeded first in two relays and six individual events. But in only a couple of events do the Eagles have a wide gap over the No. 2 seeded team. That includes the 400-yard freestyle relay, where Pecos set a new district record in the race last week with a 3:25.36 time, which is nine seconds better than second seed El Paso Andress.

Head coach Terri Morse said she expected that group of Eagles to be Pecos’ biggest challenge in trying for their seventh regional title, and first outright title in three years. “Andress will probably be the closest competition as a team. There will probably be some individuals in there, but as a team it should be us and Andress,” she said. “I think Andress has a little more depth than us, but if we’ll get out there and get after it, we’ll be all right. Pecos’ 200 medley relay team is also seeded first over Andress, by just over two seconds, while seniors Kyle Winkles and Matt Oglesby are seeded first in their individual events, and junior Matthew Florez and Josh Elliott have the fastest times going in for one of their two events.

Other than the 400 free, Oglesby goes in with the biggest time advantage in any race, with his 2:06.51 time in the 200 individual medley being eight seconds faster than No. 2 seed Arthur Flores of El Paso Chapin. But he also has the narrowest margin, in the 100-yard butterfly, where his 57.41 time is only .13 faster than Andress’ Kyle Vargas, and just over half a second better than Flores.

Winkles is seeded first, and Elliott second in the 100-yard backstroke, while Winkles and Florez are 1-2 seeds in the 50-yard freestyle. Florez goes in as No. 1 seed in the 100 free and Elliott is seeded first in the 200 free.

Pecos’ girls don’t have any No. 1 seeds - their best going in to the prelims are Anatalia Hernandez and Adriana Roman, seeded second and third in the 500 free; Niki Lindemann, tied for No. 3 seed with Big Spring’s Kelly Sage in the 200 freestyle; and the 400-yard freestyle relay team, which is seeded third behind El Paso Burges and Monahans, and which Morse said she planned to change a little for this weekend.

“I’m going to replace Cynthia (Marmolejo) with Cassandra (Mata) in the 400 to see if we can catch Monahans,” she said. The Eagles finished two seconds in back of the Loboes, while Burges’ winning time at the District 2-4A meet was 10 seconds better than Pecos’ time last Wednesday.

Burges’ Nancy Gamboa is seeded first by about half a minute in the 500 free, while she is seeded second and Andress’ Danya Contreras is first in the 200 free, about nine seconds better than the times swum by Lindemann and Sage at Monahans. For the other Pecos swimmers going into Friday’s prelims, Mata goes into the 200-yard medley as No. 4 seed, as is Hernandez in the 100 fly. The girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay team is also seeded in the Top 6, coming in with the fifth best time at district.

Last week’s meet was delayed twice by bad weather, which Morse said did change her team’s schedule up a bit. But she added, “I’ve rested some of my boys a little more this week. They’re not doing the tough yardage for a few days before district, and it’s starting to kick in. They’re feeling a little bit stronger in the water.”

She said the team will leave for Lubbock Thursday morning, in time for the 1-meter diving. Sophomore Hector Roman goes into that seeded second behind Andrews’ Matt Culberson, in an event where all the entries will come out of District 4-4A.

“If Hector dives well and hits his dives, he should be able to make state,” Morse said. The top two divers qualify for the Class 4A state finals, set for Feb. 16-17 at the University of Texas in Austin.

Lifters place second, third at Monahans meet

The Pecos Eagles placed second on the girls’ side and lost a tiebreaker for second in the boys’ division this past Saturday in Monahans, in their second powerlifting meet of the season.

Coach Fred Howard said the Eagle girls finished three points in back of first-place Fort Stockton, while the boys tied the host Loboes for second, one point behind Odessa Permian. “Monahans ended up getting second on a tie-breaker, because they had one more first place finishes than we did,” Howard said.

The Eagles had two firsts in the boys’ division, from seniors Ruben Salgado and Chris Navarrete. Salgado won the 242-pound weight class with a combined 1,335-pound total on his dead lift, bench press and squat thrust. It was the second-highest combined total for any lifter, and his 555-pound lift in the squat was best in any division. Teammate Mason Baeza was second in that division, with a combined 1,250-pound total.

Navarrete won the 275-pound weight class with a combined 1,195 total. He was the only lifter in that division.

“I was real pleased with our overall effort. I saw some totals go up more than 100 pounds,” Howard said. “Ruben did 1,335 pounds and Levi Cobos improved his total by 1005 pounds.”

Cobos lifted 1,050 pounds and was sixth in the 220-pound weight class, while Albert Lopez placed second there, with a combined total of 1,215 pounds, 10 in back of Monahans’ Anthony Salgado. Also placing second in his division was Elias Valenzuela, in the 123-pound weight class, with a combined 760-pound total.

Stephen Apolinar lifted 700 pounds to take fourth in that division. The other finishes for the boys included a seventh by Lucas Chavez in the 148-pound weight class, with an 855 total; a 12th by Wayne Sparkman in the 165-pound division, with an 840 total; an a 10th by Job Darpolar in the 198-pound division, with a 990 total.

Howard said Pecos’ girls were shorthanded on Saturday. “Not all our girls were able to lift because of the basketball game with Presidio,” he said.

“Stephanie Galindo increased her total by 70 pounds and won her weight class,” he added. She had a combined 675-pound lift to finish first in the 220-pound division, while teammate Marissa Lyles was second with a 650-pound total. Pecos’ other win came in the 114-pound division, where Ashley Ornelas was first with a combined 500-pound lift.

In the over-220 division, Deandrea Bailey lifted 605 pounds to take second; Katherine Ramirez lifted 605 pounds to place second in the 181-pound division; Doni Marquez was third at 165 pounds, with combined lifts of 460 pounds; Priscilla Sotelo was fourth in the 148-pound division, lifting 560 pounds; and Kayla Natividad was fourth in the 97-pound weight class, with a combined 230-pound lift.

Howard said Pecos’ next meet is next Saturday in Kermit, and the Eagles will have one more meet after that, before regional competition. “As far as regional outlook, right now with four weeks left, we have a chance to qualify between 10 and 15 boys and nine to 12 girls, but we have a few who are on the bubble,” he said.

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