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Late rally gives Eagles district-opening victory

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Staff Writer
The pressure was off the Fort Stockton Prowlers for a while during their
District 4-4A opener against the Pecos Eagles on Thursday night. But not
long enough to keep Pecos from getting its third, and most important,
win over Fort Stockton this season.

The Eagles fell behind the Prowlers by nine points at halftime, then
used a full-court press on defense to rally for a six-point lead with
three minutes to play. Then it was Fort Stockton's turn to come back, as
they rallied for force overtime and took an early two point lead, before
baskets by Jennifer Barrera, Penny Armstrong and Annette Marquez gave
Pecos a 60-56 victory in the District 4-4A opener for both teams.

Pecos' press had carried them to big early leads against Fort Stockton
twice last month, on the way to wins in tournament play at Crane and
Monahans. But on Thursday the Eagles were down to only seven players in
uniform, five fewer than their first meeting with the Prowlers.

"We didn't have a many kids to run in and out as he (Fort Stockton coach
Fernando Espino) did. He had 12 he used, and that kept them fresh," said
Eagles' coach Patty Hall, who also sat her leading scorer for the
season, Lori Marquez, for the final 3½ minutes of the second period,
while Fort Stockton built their 29-20 lead.

"She just looked like she was tired," Hall said. "I was noticing she was
not scoring in the third quarter, so I tried to give her a little more
rest, and see if she could come back better in the third period, and she

The junior had eight of her 19 points in the third quarter, then added a
jumper to open the final period, which cut Fort Stockton's lead to

Armstrong then put Pecos ahead for the first time since early in the
game with a side jumper, part of her team-high 21 point effort.

"She's becoming more comfortable at the wing position, with her
(shooting) range and with driving the ball. She hit a couple of outside
shots, and that helped open the post inside," Hall said.

Fort Stockton was also more comfortable shooting outside, though they
missed a trio of 3-pointers late in regulation that could have given
them the victory. Manuela Pando had nine of her 13 points from outside,
while Yvonne Valeriano hit a pair of 3s as part of her 17 points.

Combined with the play inside by Angela Granado, they helped the
Prowlers go up by as much as a 17-9 margin in the opening period.
Granado had 12 of her points in the first half, any after the Prowlers
were able to break the Eagles' press.

Fort Stockton's press late in the half gave them their lead. After a
3-pointer by Armstrong made it 22-20, Valeriano scored seven straight
points, including a lay-up and a 3-pointer following turnovers by the

The Eagles reversed that in the third period, scoring several times off
turnovers while Fort Stockton was in a delay game, then doing it again
midway through the period to grab a 51-45 lead off another basket by
Armstrong. But Pecos then lost momentum as they tried to stall, and Fort
Stockton tied the game at 54-all on two Granado foul shots with 53.7
seconds left.

She would put the Prowlers up as the overtime began with a lay-up, after
Armstrong missed from the foul line with 20 seconds left in regulation.
But the junior then found Barrera inside for a lay-up to tie the score,
and banked one in from 17 feet for a 56-54 lead.

Pando then missed from the foul line, and the Eagles stole the ball
three straight times in their own end, the last by Annette Marquez with
eight seconds to play. She was fouled by Granado, forcing her to leave
the game, and the 6-footers absence hurt, when Marquez was able to
rebound her own missed foul shot and sink a 10-footer to seal the
victory with 1.1 seconds left.

"I thought we showed a lot of character maintaining our poise and coming
back the way we did. They showed a lot of support for each other instead
of disintegrating," Hall said.

The win lifted Pecos to 6-8 on the season, going into Saturday's game at
Sweetwater. Fort Stockton fell to 9-9 and host Big Spring on Saturday.
Sweetwater is also 9-9 on the season, after coming up short at Andrews
on Thursday, 44-43. Vanessa Lehrmann led the Mustangs with 13 points,
while Lindsay Lepard and Kori Clemens had 10 apiece.

Fort Stockton did win Thursday's junior varsity game, 40-19. Katrina
Quiroz led the Eagles with seven points.

Espino 3 0-2 6; Valeriano 7 1-2 17; Granado 6 6-8 18; Creech 0 0-0 0;
Pando 5 0-1 13; Hughes 0 0-0 0; Lujan 0 0-0 0; Lemons 1 0-0 2; Robledo 0
0-0 0; Alcala 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 7-13 56.

PECOS (60)
Carrasco 1 0-0 3; A. Marquez 2 3-5 5; Armstrong 10 0-3 21; L. Marquez 8
3-4 19; Thorp 3 0-0 6; Orona 0 0-0 0; Barrera 1 2-2 4. Totals 25 8-15 60.

Fort Stockton 17 12 13 12 2 --56
Pecos 11 9 19 15 6 --60

Three-point goals: Fort Stockton 5 (Pando 3, Valeriano 2), Pecos 2
(Carrasco, Armstrong). Fouled out: Fort Stockton, Granado. Total fouls:
Fort Stockton 16, Pecos 14.
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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