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May 16, 1997

First sports banquet held for 8th grade

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Eighth grade athletes will receive recognition tonight at the Reeves
County Civic Center, at the first-ever Crockett Middle School All-Sports

The banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Center, said coach
Donna Young, who is in charge of organizing the event. It will be
patterned after the sports banquet held annually for Pecos High School

Young said she and assistant track coach Neddie Molinar have been
preparing for the event for the since the start of the year. "We started
planning it after the first thought came up in January. Then we really
started moving on it in March and at the end of April we presented it to
coach (Mike) Belew."

The school district's athletic director approved the plan, and Young
said both middle school and high school coaches would be at tonight's

All-district certificates are given out to athletes at the high school
sports banquet. That won't be possible for the middle school event,
since there are no junior high all-district awards. But Young said,
"Every athlete will get an award, and we'll also give recognition to the
top athletes in certain sports."

Guest speaker for the banquet will be former Crockett and Pecos High
School athlete Adrian Martinez, Young added, while a group of parents
and coaches will help provide dinner for the event. "The parents and
five of the coaches got together to donate the food and catering," Young

Sports to be honored during the banquet include boys football, girls
volleyball, boys and girls tennis, basketball, swimming, golf, and track.

Sonics down Rockets, tie series

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AP Sports Writer

SEATTLE - The Seattle SuperSonics, on the verge a few days ago of
falling out of the playoffs, are proving to the Houston Rockets and
everyone else that they are tough to land a knockout punch against.

The Sonics, looking to become only the sixth team in NBA history to
overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series, tied their Western
Conference semifinal series at 3-3 with a 99-96 victory Thursday night.

The series will be decided in the seventh game at The Summit, where the
Sonics won Games 2 and 5, on Saturday. In the first round, Seattle
trailed 2-1 before winning the final two games against Phoenix.

So who's going to win it?

``My teams have always played well when they've been backed into a
corner,'' Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said.

``They have the advantage because they're going home,'' said Gary
Payton, who hit the shot of the game with 12 seconds left after the
Rockets rallied within two after trailing Seattle by 22 points.

The Sonics are seeking to duplicate what the Rockets did two years
ago when they came back from trailing 3-1 in a semifinal series to
beat the Suns.

In a trade with Phoenix in August, the Rockets added Charles Barkley to
go with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in what many figure is their
final opportunity to win another title. All three superstars are 34, and
Drexler will turn 35 next month.

After beating the Sonics in overtime last Sunday, Houston had a 3-1
advantage, and last season's conference champs were on the ropes.
Maybe that's just where the Sonics wanted to be.

``We've given ourselves a chance to go on,'' said Seattle's Shawn Kemp,
who had 22 points, 11 rebounds and an apparent slap at Kevin Willis
with three seconds left in the third quarter.

There almost wasn't a Game 7. The Sonics opened the game with a 16-2
blitz, led by 22 twice early in the second quarter and were up by 19
when Terry Cummings hit a 16-footer 23 seconds into the final period.

The Sonics built up their 22-point leads - their largest of the series
- by running. Houston finally rallied by stopping Seattle's fast break
on the boards, out rebounding the Sonics 57-43.

``We don't need to bang with them if we can outrun them,'' Payton said.

``We'll probably have to press more down there to win,'' Seattle coach
George Karl said.

When Seattle went ahead by 19, it looked like the first blowout of the
series. It didn't happen.

Drexler's 3-pointer with 31 seconds left cut the Sonics' lead to 95-93.
The Key Arena crowd of 17,072 wondered if it was going to have to go
home disappointed.

Payton, averaging a career-best 23½ points in the playoffs, came
through again. His spinning, acrobatic left-handed hook put the Sonics
ahead 97-93. It was the Sonics' only basket in the final 7:59.

State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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