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February 4, 1997

Bears seek perfect district boys mark

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PECOS, Feb. 4 -- The Balmorhea Bear boys will be playing for an
undefeated season in District 29-A play tonight, when they and the girls
close out regular season play at home against Grandfalls-Royalty.

The Bears, who clinched their second straight district basketball title
on Friday with a 66-54 win at home over Buena Vista, can finish district
with a 6-0 mark with a win tonight over the Cowboys, starting at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Balmorhea's girls will try to get their first district win in
six tries and tie the Cowgirls for third in the final standings, when
they play at 6:30 p.m.

The boys had to rally from a first quarter deficit to get their ninth
straight victory on Friday and raise their record to 16-2 on the season.
"They came out early on us and hammered us pretty good," said Bears'
coach Michael Barrandey. "They had a nine point lead in the first
quarter, but we came back little by little."

The Bears overcame a 21-13 deficit after one period by outscoring the
Cowboys, 23-10 in the second period to take a 36-31 lead, then widened
that margin to 55-43 after three quarters.

Scott Clark led a balanced scoring attack for the Bears with 15 points,
while Debe Mendoza ad Zane Rhyne each put in 13. District-leading scorer
Jason Williams had 15 to lead Buena Vista, which can clinch second with
a win tonight over Marathon or a victory by the Bears over the Cowboys.

Balmorhea's girls dropped to 0-5 in district and 5-12 overall with their
69-27 loss to the Longhorns, in which the second and final quarters gave
Buena Vista its margin of victory.

The Bears trailed by just a 12-9 score after one period, before Buena
Vista went on a 20-3 run in the second period. Balmorhea then outscored
Buena Vista 10-9 in the third period, but the Longhorns ran away with a
28-5 advantage in the final eight minutes.

Cherry Garcia led Balmorhea with 11 points, while Amanda Lozano and Amy
Garcia each put in six.

While tonight will be the final game for the girls, Balmorhea's boys
will be preparing for their bi-district round of the playoffs after
tonight's game. The Bears will face either Garden City or Irion County
in the opening round. Garden City won the first half of district, and
the teams are tied for first in second half play.

Home play closes out for Eagles

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PECOS, Feb. 4 -- The Pecos Eagles will try to close out the home portion
of their 1996-97 basketball season by throwing a roadblock in the Fort
Stockton Panthers' path to the playoffs, when the teams meet at 7:30
p.m. in the Pecos High School gym.

The Eagles have dropped their last six games in a row, the latest coming
by a 78-54 score Friday night against the Big Spring Steers. A 37-12
Steers' run from the closing minutes of the third period to the game's
end broke open a close contest, and Big Spring helped itself by shooting
86 percent from the foul line, compared to 30 percent for Pecos.

Fabien Adame's 18 points led the Eagles in scoring, but the loss left
Pecos with a 1-7 district mark, and an 8-14 record for the season.

The win also gave Big Spring a one-game lead over both Fort Stockton and
San Angelo in the race for the two final District 4-4A playoff berths,
with Big Spring set to face Lake View tonight and the Panthers on Friday.

Fort Stockton has been the most up-and-down team in district play this
season, and come in with a 20-7 season record, 4-4 in 4-4A play. Last
week, Fort Stockton rallied from 10 points down to district champion
Sweetwater in the final 90 seconds to win, 52-51 at home, handing the
Mustangs their first district loss of the season. The Panthers then went
up to Andrews on Friday ad lost to the Mustangs by a 78-52 score,
keeping Andrews in the playoff race.

Last month in Fort Stockton, the Eagles led the Panthers for almost the
entire first half, fell behind in the third period, then saw a late
comeback effort fall short, as Fort Stockton scored a 73-57 victory.
Josh Garcia hit a trio of 3-pointers as part of his game-high 18 points,
and Hector Lopez put in 16 for the Panthers, while Omar Hinojos' 15
points and Adame's 13 led the Eagles.

Play will open tonight in the PHS gym with the freshmen and junior
varsity games, at 4:30 and 6 p.m. The Eagles wrap up their season Friday
night in Sweetwater.

Walks are biggest problem

for Eagles in scrimmage

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PECOS, Feb. 4 -- Walks were the biggest problem for the Pecos Eagles
during their first scrimmage of the 1997 season, head coach Bubba
Williams said today.

Scrimmaging in Kermit against the Yellowjackets, Williams said walks led
to four Kermit runs in the first inning, before the Eagles were able to
come back for a 9-5 victory.

"Bird (junior Jason Aguilar) struggled in the first inning with his
control. He had quite a few walks in the first inning, "Williams said.
"When they scored their four runs, I don't think they got a hit. It was
all walks, and the got a ball through (infielder) Steve Harrison's legs."

While Aguilar had problems with walks, Williams said relievers Ruben
Campos and Jason Chavarria "did a good job on the mound, Nestor Mendoza
hit the ball good, and Mark Abila did a good job catching. He threw out
two runners, one going to second and the other going to third."

The Eagles did suffer one injury in the scrimmage. "Richard Gutierrez
sprained his ankle sliding into home plate. I don't know how long he'll
be out, but he hit the ball good when he was in," Williams said.

"We're going to be a pretty good squad when we get all our players out
from basketball and see how the grades come out," said Williams, who had
seen failing grades ad injuries hurt his teams over the past five
seasons. The Eagles will be trying to end a drought that has kept them
out of the playoffs since 1991.

"If he gets his control down Jason will be all right," the Eagles' coach
added. "The thing I'm encouraged by is the fact that Jason Chavarria and
Ruben Campos were able to keep their hitters off stride. Changing your
pitches and keeping them off-balance is the key to getting the good
hitters out."

Williams took a mix of varsity, freshman and junior varsity players to
Kermit. For the Eagles' next scrimmage on Feb. 15, the varsity squad
will stay home to host Midland High, while the Bulldogs will host Pecos'
JV and freshman teams. Pecos' ninth graders open their season at home
Feb. 18 against Fort Stockton, while the JV and varsity begin their
seasons that day in Monahans.
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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