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Monday, January 15, 2001

Eagles lose big lead, but still win big game

Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 15, 2001 -- Sometimes, the best thing a team can do in dealing with the pressure of blowing a big lead is just blow it as soon as possible.

The Pecos Eagles shut out the Canutillo Golden Eagles over the first five minutes of their game Friday night, and held a 15-point lead with 2½ minutes gone by in the second quarter of their District 2-4A girls' basketball game. But by the time the second half was two minutes old Canutillo had gotten things together, taken away the Eagles' composure with a series of turnover baskets, and grabbed a 23-22 lead on a foul line jump shot by Gracie Borjas.

However, the Golden Eagles' comeback was so fast, it left Pecos with 14 minutes to right themselves and stage a small comeback of their own, as the Eagles were able to pull out a 41-38 victory at the Pecos High School gym.

"I went to a zone to try and give them a little rest, and we got a little bit lazy, then we started to rush things," said Eagles' coach Veronica Valenzuela. "I had to call a time out to calm them down. We're not used to being in a lead situation."

Pecos' second straight district win -- after winning only two district games in the past two seasons -- was led by guard Marisela Arenivas, who struggled in the team's 2-4A opening loss to Clint, and spent much of last Tuesday's win at Fabens on the bench. On Friday, she led all scorers with 17 points, including a trio of 3-point shots, the first giving the Eagles an early 8-0 while the last broke a 36-all tie and put the Eagles ahead to stay.

The Eagles came out of a strange first quarter with a 15-6 lead, even though they managed just one point in the game's first 3½  minutes. Philly Fobbs got Pecos' first basket with a short jumper, Arenivas followed with a pair of baskets, including her first 3-pointer, and Jessica Rodriguez added a couple of baskets in the closing minutes.

Canutillo, meanwhile, was running their plays correctly until they had to finish things off. The Golden Eagles couldn't score until Borjas hit a side jumper with under three minutes left in the period, and could have been down by even more, except for a couple of missed foul shots by Rodriguez in the closing seconds of the period.

Arenivas' second 3-pointer and a foul shot by Fobbs widened the gap to 20-5 before Canutillo finally got their plays to pay off. They scored 13 points to close out the period, several on rebound baskets by Lori Estrada, and held the Eagles to only a pair of free throws and went in at halftime down by only a 22-18 score. Borjas then nailed a 3-pointer to open the third period, and followed it up with her foul line jumper for a 23-22 Golden Eagle lead.

But having seen their big comeback succeed, Canutillo relaxed. The Golden Eagles began putting up a lot of shots from 3-point range, and while Daida Garcia did hit one -- to offset a Rodriguez 3-pointer and tie the game after three periods at 28-all -- it took them out of their inside game t hat had been so effective at the end of the second quarter.

Canutillo would get the lead two more times, at 32-30, 34-32 and 36-34 on a Garcia lay-up, a short jumper by Nicole Chaires and a corner jumper by Borjas. But each time, the Eagles had an answer, as Christina Arenivas, Fobbs and Marisela Arenivas hit jumpers, Arenivas then nailed her last 3-pointer, and after Estrada scored on a rebound basket to narrow the gap to 39-38 Fobbs found Christina Arenivas under the basket for a lay-up and a three-point lead.

That came just after both Arenivas missed lay-up chances off steals, and the Eagles missed four foul shots in the final minute that could have put the game away. But Canutillo never was able to get off a tying shot, having one blocked by Fobbs, then throwing the ball away twice and then seeing Estrada miss a jumper from inside the 3-point line with three seconds to play.

After Arenivas' 17 points, Rodriguez was next high scorer for Pecos with seven. Christina Arenivas, Dee Dee Molinar and Fobbs all finished with five points. Estrada had 11 and Borjas nine to lead Canutillo, which fell to 1-2 in district and 9-15 on the season.

The Eagles are now 5-10 on the season and will be at home again on Tuesday against current district co-leader El Paso Mountain View. The Lobos were outscored 21-2 in the fourth quarter by Clint on Friday and saw a 30-22 lead turn into a 43-32 loss, dropping them into a tie for second with Pecos in the 2-4A standings.

Canutillo did win Friday’s junior varsity game, by a 35-23 final score. Leslie Rodriguez led the Eagles with 12 points.

Garcia 3 0-2 7; Borjas 4 0-1 9; Bueno 0 0-2 0; Barragan 1 0-0 2; Retena 1 0-0 2; Gonzalez 0 2-2 2; Vega 0 0-0 0; Acosta 1 1-2 3; Charies 1 0-0 2; Parra 0 0-2 0; Estrada 5 1-2 11. Totals 16 4-13 38.
PECOS (41)
C. Arenivas 2 1-2 5; Rodriguez 3 0-2 7; Maldonado 0 0-3 0; Molinar 2 1-4 5; M. Arenivas 5 4-6 17; Terry 0 2-2 2; Fobbs 2 1-4 5. Totals 14 9-23 41.

Canutillo  5 13 10 10 -- 38
Pecos  16  6  6 13 -- 41
Three-point goals: Canutillo 2 (Borjas, Garcia), Pecos 4 (M. Arenivas 3, Rodriguez). Fouled out: Canutillo, Bueno, Gonzalez, Acosta. Total fouls: Canutillo 20, Pecos 15.

Canutillo’s quick guards too much for Pecos

PECOS, Jan. 15, 2001 -- The Canutillo Golden Eagles big post player Eddie Hita figured to give the Pecos Eagles problems inside on Friday night. Instead, Canutillo’s leading scorer watched from the bench as a couple of guards frustrated Pecos all night, and helped the visiting Golden Eagles come away with a 59-42 win in the District 2-4A opener for both teams.

Abraham Moreno scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half, and all but four of his team’s points overall, as Canutillo went in at halftime with an 18-14 lead.  Then guard Jose Rodriguez took over, pouring in 20 of his 22 points in the second half, most of those coming off turnovers, as the visitors used their quickness to make up for the absence of Hita due to a sprained ankle.

“It’s a whole different world playing out there,” said Eagles’ coach Tino Acosta, referring to the style of play El Paso area teams favor. “We hadn’t seen quickness like that all season. We’ve played some of the best Permian Basin teams, but they shocked us by how quick they were in the passing lanes.”

With the 6-foot-3 Hita out, the Eagles had one of their rare size advantages on Friday. But they were done in by throwing too many soft passes that the Canutillo guards stepped in front of and took the other direction, especially at the start of the first and third quarters.

The Golden Eagles had a series of steals at the outset of the game, but didn’t get the fast-break chances they would have later, and only Moreno was able to provide any offense, scoring all of his team’s points in the first period and overall the first 14 points of the night.

Canutillo led at one point, 8-3, but the Eagles cut that back to 8-6 on a 3-pointer by Alex Garcia. Pecos would trail by as many as six in the second period, but cut that back to 16-14 on a Joey Ortega steal and lay-up and two free throws by Adrian Tarin before a late basket by Jerry Urieste made it 18-14 just before the halftime buzzer.

That turned out to be the start of a 12-0 run by Canutillo, with the final 10 points all coming on Rodriguez lay-ups to start the third period. That turned a four-point deficit into a 14-point hole for Pecos, and while the Eagles stopped the run after that, they weren’t able to cut into the lead until midway through the fourth quarter, when a couple of baskets by Freddie Torres made it 46-35.

The Eagles then had a chance off a steal to get to within nine, but Torres didn’t see Garcia behind him under the basket, and lunged for the pass inside, knocking it out of bounds. Canutillo then went on an 8-2 run to put the game away.

“That play just killed us. We were making a little run, and that would have been big,” said Acosta. “Our effort was there, but our execution wasn’t. We had our chances, but we just have to get better.”

Ezra Varela led Pecos with nine points, while the loss left Pecos at 0-1 in district and 4-14 overall going into Tuesday’s home game against El Paso Mountain View, 51-49 losers to Clint on Friday. Canutillo also won Friday’s junior varsity and freshman games, by 60-40 and 46-32 scores. Jason Sanchez led the JV with 14 points and Oscar Parada topped the ninth graders with eight.

Rodriguez 11 0-3 22; Urieste 1 3-4 5; Ruiz 2 0-0 4; Garcia 0 2-2 2; Chaidez 0 0-0 0; Moreno 10 2-4 22; Molinar 1 0-0 2; Escobedo 0 0-0 0; Saldivar 0 2-6 2. Totals 25 9-19 59.
PECOS (42)
A.Garcia 3 0-1 7; S. Garcia 0 2-3 2; Varela 4 1-1 9; Torres 3 2-7 8; Salazar 0 0-0 0; Tarin 0 2-2 2; Ortega 4 0-1 8; Mora 0 0-0 0; Vasquez 1 0-0 2; Coria 1 0-1 2. Totals 16 7-16 42.

Canutillo  8 10 20 21 -- 59
Pecos   6  8 10 18 -- 42
Three-point goals: Pecos 1 (A. Garcia). Fouled out: Pecos, Ortega, S. Garcia. Total fouls: Canutillo 20, Pecos 19.

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Pecos Enterprise
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