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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Win puts Pecos in first place tie with Monahans

Having a home court advantage, and having the Monahans Loboes at a player disadvantage didn’t help the Pecos Eagles for a while in their game Friday night at the Pecos High School gym.

Pecos was trying to tie Monahans for first place in the District 2-3A standings, while the Loboes had a chance to clinch the district title with a victory over the Eagles. And it looked as if the Loboes had the momentum on their side going into halftime. A late basket by Jordan Latham had given Monahans a four-point lead, when Pecos’ Amalie Herrera hit a 30-foot shot at the buzzer. The Eagles would then go on to outscore the Loboes 25-14 in the second half for a 47-37 win, tying the teams for first with one game remaining in the regular season.

“That was a hard-fought game,” said Eagles’ coach Debbie Garcia, as the Eagles got their first win in three tries against the Loboes this season. It was also the first basketball win for Pecos’ girls against Monahans in eight seasons, a streak Garcia was glad to see ended.

“I just think at the beginning of the game, we were struggling. I think deep inside, we were not quite sure we could play with Monahans,” Garcia said. “But then we started having some success and making some plays, and we were a better team tonight.”

Pecos had failed to break the 30-point barrier in either of their two losses this season to Monahans. They were ahead of that pace in the first half, but they were ahead of for just few moments, despite the Loboes being without senior post Catherine Cutbirth, who was at the Region I-4A swim meet in Lubbock.

However, Pecos finally started taking control of play inside in the second half, as Adriana Armendariz led all scorers with 21 points, which offset a hot night of 3-point shooting by former Eagle Dina Ortiz.

She opened the game with the first of her five 3-pointers, and would connect on two more in the first half. Her second, plus a couple of foul shots by Kellie Almanza, gave Monahans an early 9-4 lead, but Pecos was able to come back and tie the score early in the second period, on a three-point play by Armendariz, and would by Armendariz, and at 17-16, after she scored on a rebound lay-up.

That lead disappeared after Ortiz’s third 3-pointer, and after a Brittany Rodriguez rebound basket tied the game at 19-all, Brenda Fuentes hit a short jumper with just under two minutes to play, and then Latham rebounded a missed foul shot by Betthany Willmon and scored with six seconds left in the half.

Herrera’s shot from 30 feet out gave the Eagles something to build on in the second half, though Almanza would answer Gabby Garcia’s 3-pointer to start the third period with a 3 of her own, to give the Loboes a 26-25 lead.

That turned out to be the last lead of the night for Monahans. Rodriguez hit a short side jumper, and then Armendariz and Jasmine Rayos both scored off steals before Armendariz hit another lay-up off an offensive rebound, and the Eagles suddenly had a 33-26 lead. Pecos would end the period up 36-28, and was ahead 39-31 when Latham fouled out with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter. But Rayos would miss two foul shots, and Chantel Mazone then missed two more before Ortiz scored and was fouled by Garcia. She completed a 3-point play, and then added a 3-point jumper, and the Eagles lead was down to two midway through the quarter.

But Mazone was then able to connect on a pair of free throws, and while she would miss the front end of a one-and-one 30 seconds later, Armendariz would come up with another steal and lay-up to give Pecos a 43-37 lead. The Eagles were then able to shut out the Loboes the rest of the way, and closed out the scoring with foul shots by Armendariz, Rayos and Brittany Palomino in the final 90 seconds of play.

“I thought our seniors stepped up and did a good job keeping things in line, and our sophomores played well,” said Garcia.

Ortiz ended up with 19 to lead Monahans, which is now 14-14 on the season. Pecos is 8-13 and both teams are 3-1 in district going into their final regular season games, the Eagles at home Tuesday against Fort Stockton and the Loboes at home versus Presidio. If the teams are tied after Tuesday, they’ll have a playoff sometime between Thursday and Saturday to decide the district championship. The winner will earn a bye into the area round of the Class 3A playoffs, while the loser will face Tornillo in the bi-district round of the playoffs next week.

The Loboes will get Cutbirth back for that game, if it’s needed, but Garcia said, “I think this win will make a big difference. Coming out on top, I think the girls believe anything’s possible now.”

Pecos defeated Fort Stockton on Jan. 26 at the Williams Center by a 44-42 score, holding off a late comeback attempt by the Prowlers.

Pecos also won Friday’s junior varsity game over Monahans, 28-14. Veronica Tarin led Pecos with 11 points.

Eagles boys take regional title, girls place third

There were few things for Pecos Eagles’ coach Terri Morse to be disappointed about on either the boys or girls sides this past weekend, at the Region I-4A Swimming and Diving Championships in Lubbock.

Pecos’ boys won their seventh regional title in the eight years since the Class 4A regionals began, setting four new regional records in the process, while Pecos’ girls had a stronger showing than expected and finished third in their division, which was won by El Paso Chapin for the third year in a row.

The boys built up a big early lead and survived a late rally by El Paso Andress in the team standings, then held off an upset bid by that group of Eagles in the final race of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay, and picked up their fourth regional record while qualifying for state in eight events and finishing with 130 points, to 118 for Andress.

Pecos’ girls won’t be sending anyone to Austin for the first time in eight seasons, but they came within three points of second overall in the standings, finishing with 71 points to 74 for Andress, while Chapin won with 117 points.

“I thought our girls team did awesome, and the boys swam a little better too,” said Morse. Pecos had taken both the boys and girls district titles this season, but set only one district record in this year’s 4-4A meet.

“We were going for six, but we only picked up four of them,” Morse said. “We missed it in the 50 (freestyle) and the 100 fly, but I’m really proud of the boys.”

Senior Kyle Winkles won Outstanding Swimmer on the boys’ side, and Morse earned Coach of the Year honors as well for the boys. Winkles set a new regional record in the 100-yard backstroke, with a 54.82 time, and was also part of the 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay teams that set new regional marks.

“We set a new regional record in the 400 free yesterday and then again today,” Morse said. Winkles, Matt Oglesby, Josh Elliott and Matthew Florez swam a 3:23.81 on Friday in the 400 free, placing first by over 10 seconds, but were pushed on Saturday by Andress and won with a 3:23.41 time, to Andress’ 3:26.08.

The same four swimmers opened the finals for the boys by cutting a second off their prelim time to set a new regional mark in the 200 medley, with a 1:41.94 time. Oglesby earned the other regional record for Pecos, winning the 200-yard medley relay with a 2:02.44 time.

He and Winkles also won their other individual races to qualify for state, with Oglesby taking the 100-yard butterfly with a 55.12 time and Winkles the 50-yard freestyle, with a time of 22.01. Josh Elliott had Pecos’ other first place finish, taking the 200-yard freestyle with a 1:53.89 time, and also earned an at-large bid to state in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing second to Winkles with a 57.25 time for the fifth of the eight at-large berths in Austin.

The only disappointment on the day was in the 100-yard freestyle, where Florez finished fourth, after placing first in Friday’s preliminaries. The junior had a 52.32 time on Saturday, which was .85 second behind his time in the prelims. He also finished third to Winkles in the 50-yard freestyle, and his 23.65 time was one second above the final at-large qualifier.

Pecos’ first regional qualifier came when Hector Roman placed second to Andrews’ Matt Culberson in the 1-meter diving competition on Thursday, with a 362.25 score to Culbertson’s 483.85.

The other finishes for the boys in Saturday’s finals included a seventh by Luke Serrano and an eighth by Brian Carrasco in the 200 individual medley; an eighth by Derek Teague in the 50 free; a fourth by Serrano and a sixth by Gus Mendoza in the 500 free; a sixth by Frankie Morin in the 100-yard backstroke; and the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay team, with Roman, Serrano, Teague and Morin, which laced seventh.

The girls didn’t have any swimmer finish higher than third, but two of those, by Niki Lindemann and Anatalia Hernandez, were improvements from Friday’s preliminary results.

Lindemann cut seven second off her prelim time in the 200-yard freestyle and took third with a 2:13.96 time, beating out Big Spring’s Kelly Sage, whom she tied for first at the District 4-4A meet on Jan. 24 in Monahans. She also moved up from fourth in the prelims of the 100-yard free to third in the finals, with a 60.02 time, a 1.3 second improvement. Hernandez cut her time by over four seconds from the prelims in the 100-yard butterfly and moved up from fifth to third, finishing with a 1:09.91 time. She also won third in the 500-yard freestyle, where her 6:04.97 time was a third of a second in back of runner-up Brianna Delisser of Andress. It was three seconds faster than Friday, but the freshman dropped a spot, as Delisser cut nearly 14 seconds off her prelim effort.

Pecos also picked up a third from Cassandra Mata in the 200 individual medley, with a 2:35.79 time, while Mata, Lindemann, Hernandez and Neyva Rodriguez were third in the 400 freestyle with a 4:06.47 time. That was 4 1/2 seconds better than at prelims, and while the Eagles were able to pass Monahans, whom they lost to at district 10 days earlier, they were passed in the finals by Andress, after placing second in the prelims on Friday.

Mata, Hernandez, Adriana Roman and Jessica Dickenson took fifth in the opening event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay, while Mata, Lindemann, Rodriguez and Marmolejo placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“We’re still very young and for the most part inexperienced,” said Morse, who has just one senior on this year’s squad. “We never expected the girls to place this high. It was an upset for them to win district, so for them to do as well as they did here, I’m extremely proud of them.”

In the other individual finishes on Saturday, Roman was fourth in the 500 freestyle and sixth in the 200 freestyle, Dickenson was seventh in the 200 individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke; and Cynthia Marmolejo was sixth in the 500 free. Aside from Pecos’ swimmers and Andrews’ Culbertson, Monahans senior Catherine Cutbirth and Big Spring senior Ryan Hughey were the only other District 4-4A swimmers to advance to state. Cutbirth won both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races to earn a trip to Austin, while Hughey took the 100-yard breaststroke by 1 1/2 seconds over the Loboes’ Reed Bowman.

Elliott in the 100-yard backstroke was the only at-large qualifier out of the district, as last year’s UIL realignment has increased the number of big city schools competing at the Class 4A level and improved on the qualifying times from past years.

Eagle girls struggle in spring season golf opener

The Pecos Eagles girls golf team got off to a slow start over the weekend, as they opened the spring portion of their 2006-07 season at the San Angelo Girls Classic.

Pecos placed seventh in the Blue Division of the tournament, shooting a 431-416-847 over 36 holes of play. The Eagles ended up 160 strokes behind Snyder, which won the tournament title with a 342-345-687 total, while District 2-3A rival Monahans placed fourth, with 388s both days for a 776 score.

“None of the scores were low, but we just didn’t play,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan, whose team placed third last year at state, which was won by Snyder. “Friday it snowed on us and it was cold, but our course management wasn’t there. We didn’t stay focused trough our rounds.

“Saturday it was cold and windy. It blew 20-30 miles per hour through the round, but we still got careless with shots we knew we shouldn’t hit, and went ahead and did it anyway,” Doan said. “I think the girls realize now they’ve got a lot more practice to do.”

No Eagle golfer broke 95 on either day. Carolina Briones had the best score over 36 holes, shooting a 96-98-194, while Eleanor Mason had a 98-100-198, Rica Pino shot a 112-106-218, Kayla Natividad had a 125-112-237 and Samantha Sparkman shot a 126-120-246. “We went with two young players who have not gone to too many tournaments, and I had one senior who was sick and couldn’t go,” Doan said. “My other girls weren’t happy with the way they played. Putting and chipping are still a problem, but we’re still in the running to get better the next time out there.”

Doan said this weekend, the Eagles will be at a tournament hosted by Andrews, but will be nowhere near the Mustangs’ home course. She said Andrews, which placed third at San Angelo, would host eight other teams on Friday and Saturday in Austin, for a 36-hole tournament at the Morris Williams Golf Course.

“That’s where the state tournament will be played this year,” Doan said. “They invited schools that qualified for state (last year), so we’ll be up against different schools from different regions, along with Snyder, Andrews and Monahans.”

Last year’s Class 3A state runner-up, Yoakum, also will be in the field, along with one private school, Lubbock Christian. Doan said Mason, Briones and Pino, who were members of last season’s third place state squad, will make the trip, while her other golfers will compete this week to qualify for the final two spots in Austin.

Second half shots get Eagles by Loboes

The Monahans Loboes are physically built to do a little more banging inside than the Pecos Eagles are in basketball. But the Eagles did a better job Friday night connecting on their shots from the outside than the Loboes did from inside, and the result was a one-game lead for the Eagles over the Loboes in a battle for the final District 2-3A playoff berth.

Pecos had problems from 3-point range in the first half, but nailed three straight shots from behind the line in the third period and two more to start the fourth quarter, turning what had been a five-point Monahans lead early in second half into a nine-point Pecos advantage in the fourth quarter. The Eagles then were able to get several baskets inside after getting behind the Loboes defense, and were able to survive some bruising play at the other end of the court to score a 62-48 victory, their first win in district this season.

“Our effort in the second half improved tremendously,” said coach Chaun Brooks, whose team had gone winless in January, including losses in the first two district games. “We were a lot more focused in the second half, and we didn’t foul as much.”

Lucas Macha led an early third period rally that turned a 23-18 deficit into a 24-23 lead. Than, after an Arnold Rodriguez basket put Monahans back on top, Macha, Mark Molina and Jeremy Rodriguez hit from three-point range to give Pecos a 33-25 lead, and Molina and Macha would hit from behind the 3-point line again in the final period, around a 3-pointer by the Loboes’ Cameron Bennett.

Rodriguez would hit a pair of 3s and finish with 14 points on the night, in his first game back after being ineligible since mid-January. But Brooks said the senior guard’s ability to get the offense moving better was just as important as his points.

“That opened up our whole offense,” Brooks said. “It allowed us to play Mark off the ball, and he shot so much better, and it helped open things up for Lucas.”

Molina also had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, while Macha would lead all scorers with 17, after a slow start.

“I think Lucas only had two points at the half,” said Brooks. “I told him to step up and be the all-district player he is, and instead of pouting, he went out and had a monster third quarter.”

Justo Dominguez gave Pecos a 2-0 lead with a foul line jumper, but the lead would switch hands three times in the period, with Monahans leading most of the way before a 3 by Molina and one by Rodriguez gave Pecos an 11-9 lead.

Two foul shots by Chris Bates tied the game going into the second period, when the Eagles’ outside shooting went cold after foul line jumper by Rodriguez to start the quarter. Blake Hughes would hit a pair of free throws and a lay-up to put Monahans up by three, and Bates and Tanner Owens would score on a lay-up and two more foul shots for a 21-16 advantage, before Chris Garnto hit a rebound lay-up just before halftime to get the deficit back to three.

Aside from Pecos’ 3-pointers, the foul situation also hurt the Loboes in the second half. They were whistled for the first eight fouls of the half, though the Eagles didn’t get into the bonus until 5:50 was left in the fourth quarter. That came after Owens was hit with a technical foul, and while Pecos was able to convert just one of three attempts, the basket upped the Eagles’ lead to 10, at 44-34.

Monahans began doing a better job on offensive rebounding after that, and would score 14 points in the final four minutes of the game. But they also allowed Dominguez and Victor Mondragon to get behind the defense a couple of times for lay-ups off passes from Rodriguez, while Molina, Rodriguez and Macha were 10-for-10 from the line in the final 2 1/2 minutes of play, after a 3-point jumper by Justin Patterson got Monahans to within seven, at 50-43.

“Lots of times Monahans would get the offensive rebound, it usually went though our hands first. We gave them a lot of second and third chances,” said Brooks.

Every Monahans player scored in the game, but no Lobo hit double-figures, with Patterson, Rodriguez and Sean Merrick finishing with eight points. The loss left Monahans with an 0-3 district mark and 10-15 overall, going into their home game on Tuesday night against Presidio, which lost at Fort Stockton on Friday, 53-39.

The Eagles, now 7-13 on the year, host the Panthers on Tuesday, with Fort Stockton looking to clinch a playoff spot with a victory. The Panthers pulled away from the Eagles in the final minutes of their Jan. 26 game at the Williams Center, scoring a 39-31 win. After Tuesday’s game, Pecos hosts Presidio on Friday, then goes to Monahans to close out regular season play on Feb. 13

“We need to take revenge on Fort Stockton. We owe them and Presidio,” Brooks said. Pecos went to overtime in the junior varsity game to defeat Monahans, while the Loboes’ downed the Eagles in Friday’s freshman game.

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