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Monday, November 24, 1997

Crane holds off Pecos' comeback attempt

Sports Editor
PECOS, Nov. 24 -- A slow start in their season opener at Monahans Tuesday night by the Pecos Eagles was more than offset by a third quarter 3-point barrage. But a similar start on Friday against the Crane Golden Cranes left the Eagles in too big of a hole for another 3-point outburst to overcome.

Crane jumped out to a 10-point lead after one quarter and led by as many as 16 points early in the second half before the Eagles got hot from outside. They cut the margin to 59-55 entering the final period, but saw their 3-point shots stopped falling after that, while the Cranes were able to use the inside scoring on Jamin Phipps to pull away for a 77-69 victory at the Pecos High School gym.

Phipps scored 31 points, while Tino Aranda and Donnie Bishop each had a pair of key baskets down the stretch, after a free throw by Omar Hinojos cut the margin to 63-60 with 5:05 to play. But Hinojos and Hector Garcia each missed a foul shot after that, and Bishop then nailed a side jumper and Aranda scored off a Crane steal.

"We need to make our little easy lay-ups and free shots. We didn't make out lay ups and free shots when we had them," said Eagles' coach Mike Sadler.

The Eagles also had problems with turnovers in the first 1½ quarters, when Crane built its big lead. Pecos failed to step up to take passes several times while trying to break the press, allowing the Cranes to step in front and come up with steals. Scott Rives had two like that at the end of the first period and at the start of the second, while Phipps scored off a steal and length-of-the-court drive to make it 25-13.

"We're not in shape, and that's my fault," Sadler said of the Cranes early game work. "My job is to get them in shape."

Sadler got angry enough with his starters to yank them all with 2:36 left in the half and put in his reserved. That came with the Eagles trailing by 14 and thanks to Mark Marquez' four points, the subs outscored Crane's starters 4-2 the rest of the half.

Pecos' starters were back in to start the third quarter, and just as they did in the third period against Monahans, the Eagles exploded from 3-point range. After a Gary Lewis 3-pointer made it 48-33, Pecos his five 3s in the final 3:14 of the quarter. Jacob Chavez had four of the Eagles' six overall in the period, while Omar Hinojos put in eight points from inside, as part of a 32-point quarter.

Crane would widen the margin back to eight before the Eagles made their final run, but in the closing minutes the turnovers returned, giving the Cranes six easy points and allowing them to regain their 10-point lead.

Chavez finished with 22 points for the second straight game, and Hinojos led the Eagles with 24. Ben Shenkman was the other Crane player in double figures, with 11 points.

"The second team came in and did a good job. Mark did a good job for us when he was in there," said Sadler, though he added the Eagles are hurting without starting forward Fabien Adame, one of three Eagles to miss his second straight game due to injury.

"We miss Fabien big time offensively. He'll give us a little more scoring punch," said Sadler, who was hoping the senior would be in the lineup tonight, when Pecos hosts Alpine in a 7:30 p.m. game. "We need to fit him for a mask, and he still has a little bit of vision loss," from the eye injury he suffered earlier this month, the Eagles' coach said.

Friday's game was the only one played between the Eagles and Cranes. Today, play will begin about 4:15 p.m. with the freshman game, followed by the junior varsity contest at 6 p.m., both in the old gym.

CRANE (77)
Shenkman 5 1-1 11; Rogers 1 0-1 2; Bishop 2 1-3 5; Rives 4 1-2 9; Phipps 12 7-10 31; Aranda 3 0-0 6; Carrasco 1 0-1 3; Brents 0 0-0 0; Lewis 2 0-0 6; Davenport 1 0-0 2; Gross 1 0-0 2; Morrison 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 10-18 77.
PECOS (69)
Garcia 1 0-1 2; Luna 1 2 0-0 8; Navarrette 3 1-2 7; Hinojos 9 5-8 24; Chavez 8 1-2 22; Perea 0 0-0 0; Barreno 0 0-0 0; Marta 0 0-0 0; Matta 0 0-0 0; Marquez 2 2-4 6; Bryant 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 9-17 69.
Crane 17 18 24 18 --77
Pecos 7 16 32 14 --69
Three-point goals: Crane 3 (Lewis 2, Carrasco), Pecos 8 (Chavez 5, Luna 2, Hinojos). Fouled out: Pecos, Hinojos. Total fouls: Crane 21, Pecos 18.

Eagles' offense stalls out after fast takeoff

Sports Editor
PECOS, Nov. 24 -- The Pecos Eagles were able to find the basket at the outset of their home opener Saturday afternoon against the Stanton Buffaloes, but lost the range for much of the rest of the way.

Stanton's Randi Simer, meanwhile, found her range when it counted, hitting a pair of baskets in the final 20 seconds, including a 15-footer with two seconds left, to give the Buffs a 42-40 victory over the Eagles at the Pecos High School gym.

The Eagles were able to use baskets off turnovers to jump out to a 15-8 lead after one period, and led 19-8 with under three minutes to go in the half. But they were never able to come up with another good run against Stanton, which cut the lead to eight at the half, narrowed it to as little as two in the third period, then took as much as a four point lead in the final period before Pecos rallied.

"I was disappointed we didn't win, but I was just pleased with the effort we put forth," said Eagles' coach Brian Williams, whose team will get another chance to win their first game of the season this evening, when Pecos hosts Alpine in a 6 p.m. game.

"We missed around 16 points off missed lay-ups," Williams said. "We're still trying to learn what to do out there, but we did a good job coming back to tie the game."

Down 38-36, the Eagles had a couple of chances to tie in the closing minute, before Lori Marquez hit a rebound land jumper with 32 seconds to go. Simer came right back and sank a foul line jumper to make it 40-38 with 19 seconds left, but Penny Armstrong was fouled by Ronnie Hull with 12.5 second to go and hit both free throws, tying the game.

That gave the Buffs one last shot, and they took advantage, as Simer found an opening just in front of the foul line and to the right of the basket, and nailed the shot as the clock ran down.

"Lori and Penny just got a little mixed up on rotating out on that play," said Williams, who was still happy overall with the Eagles' defensive effort.

"We were one step away on a couple of passes. They just have to get to know my press a little better," he said.

The Eagles took the lead early, on a rebound lay-up by Shea Lara that began an 11-0 run, turning a 2-2 tie into a 13-2 lead. Marisol Arenivas had a 3-pointer to finish the streak, as well as assists to Armstrong and Marquez. Pecos began the second period with another Marquez basket, but it turned out to be the only one of the period for the Eagles, though the Buffs didn't fare any better.

However, as a omen of things to come both Julie Adams in the first period and Hull in the second closed the quarter with buzzer-beating baskets. Adams would also play a key role in Stanton's fourth period rally, as both she and teammate Joanna Moore rebound teammates' missed foul shots and scored, with Adams' put back giving the Buffs their first lead of the night, at 32-30.

Williams had only eight players on the varsity again Saturday, which hurt down the stretch, when both Arenivas and Marquez got into foul trouble.

"Until we get our depth built up, I'm going to try and pace them," said Williams, who hopes to add at least two more players to the varsity squad by the time district play begins. "With Lori, I'm trying to take her out the least two minutes of the first three quarters and the first minute of the second and fourth to give her some rest."

Armstrong wound up leading the Eagles in scoring with 12, while Marquez had 11 for Pecos, which is 0-2 on the season. Adams and Simer each had 10 points for the Buffaloes.

Stanton also won Saturday's junior varsity game, 42-38. Katrina Quiroz led the Eagles' JV with 14. Williams said Alpine wouldn't have a freshman team today, so play will start with the JV contest at 4:30 p.m.

Graves 1 0-0 2; Hull 2 1-2 5; Chandler 3 0-0 6; Adams 5 0-0 10; Simer 5 0-0 10; Madison 0 0-0 0; Cobb 0 0-1 0; Washington 1 0-0 2; Moore 2 3-3 7. Totals 19 4-6 42.
PECOS (40)
Arenivas 1 0-0 3; Lara 2 2-4 6; A. Marquez 2 0-4 4; Armstrong 3 6-6 12; L. Marquez 4 3-5 9; Orona 0 2-2 2; Bell 0 0-0 0; Thorp 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 15-23 40.
Stanton 8 5 10 19 --42
Pecos 15 6 8 11--40
Three-point goals: Pecos 1 (Arenivas). Fouled out: Stanton, Hull. Total fouls: Stanton 21, Pecos 19.

Swim teams take 3rd, 8th in Monahans

PECOS, Nov. 24 -- Having the Midland swim teams around meant one lower spot in the final standings for the Pecos Eagle boys swim team on Saturday in Monahans, while the girls saw a big difference from a week earlier in Pecos.

Pecos' boys, who placed second to Big Spring in their own meet on Nov. 15, were third Saturday behind the Midland High Bulldogs and Big Spring. The girls, who won the Pecos Invitational without placing first in a single event, saw their depth advantage nullified by the addition of the two Midland squads and several other schools, and wound up eighth in the 14 team field.

Midland High, which canceled out of last week's meet due to icy roads, won both divisions, taking the girls title with 239 points to 184 for Midland Lee and 136 for Big Spring. Pecos ended up with 93 points on the day. Midland High's boys won by a 181-169 total over Big Spring, while the Eagles beat out Carlsbad for third by a 140-139½ margin.

"(Midland) had some pretty fast girls, and also Carlsbad and Hobbs had some pretty good swimmers," said Eagles' coach Terri Morse. "Plus, some of my girls didn't swim the same events they did a week ago. I think because of that they didn't place as high as they would have if they swam their normal events."

The girls' best finishes on the day was a fourth place effort by the 200 yard freestyle relay team of Liz Parent, Megan Freeman, Sarah Flores and Dionnie Munoz. Later, Parent, Freeman, Randi Key and Munoz were fifth in the 400 freestyle relay.

Individually for the girls, Parent had a pair of finishes in the top 10, placing seventh in the 200 medley and 500 freestyle, while Freeman was sixth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 breaststroke. Key was seventh in the 200 free and eighth in the 100 backstroke; Munoz was eighth in the 50 free and ninth in the 500; and Flores was sixth in the 100 breaststroke.

The boys were still not at full strength Saturday, but Morse said it probably wouldn't have affected the final point standings. "We didn't have Grant (Holland), which would have made a difference in the couple of relays, but we still would have placed about the same as we did. Perhaps a couple of relays or individual events would have gotten a few more points."

The Eagles' lone gold medal of the day came in the 200 medley relay, where Kenneth Friar, Al Tillman, Matt Ivy and Kevin Bates swam a 1:47.17 to beat out Big Spring by .28 seconds. The Steers would later edge the Eagles for second in the 400 freestyle relay behind Midland High.

Bates lost out by .06 seconds to Lee's Gregg Strauss for first in the 100 freestyle, and later placed second in the 100 backstroke. Friar also picked up a medal for third in the 100 butterfly and was sixth in the 200 medley. Other top 10 finishes for Pecos came from Ivy, fourth in the 200 free and fifth in the 100 back, Tillman, seventh in the 100 breaststroke, and Scott Pounds, who was fourth in Friday's one-meter diving competition.

The Eagles have this week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, and return to action on Dec. 5-6 at the Odessa Invitational.

Packers dump Cowboys into second half cooler

AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis., Nov. 24 -- One demon down, one to go for the Green Bay Packers.

Behind Dorsey Levens' running and Brett Favre's passing, the defending Super Bowl champs bounced back from an embarrassing loss at Indianapolis to rout Dallas 45-17 on a frigid Sunday at Lambeau Field.

``It's good to finally get that out of our system,'' defensive tackle Santana Dotson said after the Packers beat the Cowboys for the first time in eight tries. ``Now we've got another ghost to exorcise.''

That would be winning at Minneapolis.

``I've exorcised one demon. Next week, I'll have another,'' said coach Mike Holmgren, winless in five trips to the Metrodome.

``Here we go again,'' Favre said after the Packers moved a game ahead of Minnesota and Tampa Bay in the NFC Central. ``We haven't beaten Minnesota in Minnesota. The Vikings are just as good as Dallas, if not better. So, we have our hands full again.''

But the trip to their personal House of Horrors will be easier to take for the Packers (9-3) now that they've beaten their tormentors, whom they'd lost to seven straight times by double digits at Texas Stadium.

The Packers promised it would be different at home, where they've won 25 in a row.

And they delivered, handing the Cowboys their worst defeat in eight seasons on the strength of a 35-7 second half fueled by 145 of Levens' franchise-record 190 yards.

``It feels like I thought it would,'' Favre said. ``It's great to finally beat these guys. It's a shame it took so long. But we finally did it.''

Now, the Cowboys (6-6), losers of six straight on the road, might have to win their remaining four games, beginning Thanksgiving Day with Tennessee, to keep alive their streak of six straight playoff appearances.

``I would love to sit up here and say we can run the table, but I don't know,'' Dallas receiver Michael Irvin said. ``I'd be lying if I told you that.''

This kind of drubbing can create that kind of doubt.

The Cowboys hadn't surrendered this many points in 12 years and hadn't lost by four touchdowns since the 1989 opener in Jimmy Johnson's first game as coach.

``I can't remember a loss like this,'' Emmitt Smith said.

``The last time I took a beating like this was from my father,'' Irvin said.

The afternoon was sweetened for Green Bay when the Bucs got beat by Chicago and the Vikings lost to the New York Jets.

``We didn't know the Jets and Chicago were going to do that and we didn't really care,'' Packers safety LeRoy Butler said. ``We just knew that if we beat a team of Dallas' caliber that it would give us the momentum.''

Green Bay's domination of their nemesis came on the heels of the most embarrassing loss of the Holmgren era, when the Packers surrendered nearly 500 yards to the lowly Indianapolis Colts, who had been winless.

``Indianapolis took a lot of wind out of our sails,'' Butler said. ``But we're sailing again, and it's wonderful.''

On Sunday, the Packers allowed Dallas only 213 yards, and the defense chipped in with a touchdown of its own -- a 34-yard fumble return by Darren Sharper.

``That's football,'' Holmgren said. ``It's kind of like the Bermuda Triangle. Some things you just can't explain.''

The Cowboys' fading playoff hopes are in danger of vanishing themselves.

``I think we'll have their attention this week,'' Cowboys coach Barry Switzer said. ``The guys we have will respond. They're a good group. But they never expected what happened today. Because, I promise you, I damn sure didn't expect it.''

Favre threw four touchdowns passes and the Cowboys had trouble operating in minus-4 wind chill. Green Bay broke a 10-10 halftime tie by scoring every time it touched the ball after intermission.

``I witnessed in the second half probably the best kicking the Cowboys have had in a long time,'' Switzer said. ``We were totally dominated.''

The Packers savored this victory more than any since the Super Bowl.

``I have a vivid memory of last year after they beat us -- Reggie White pointed at the sideline and said, `Come to Lambeau, come to Lambeau,''' said Levens, who broke Jim Taylor's 36-year-old single-game record of 186 yards.

``It's emotional for all the guys who went through all those losses to beat them the way we did,'' Butler said.

Favre's 4- and 2-yard TD throws to tight end Mark Chmura came in a third quarter in which Dallas ran just three offensive plays and had the ball for just 1 minute, 44 seconds, making it moot that White and Gilbert Brown were ailing for Green Bay.

The Cowboys got just one offensive TD, Smith's 21-yard run. Deion Sanders' 50-yard pass interception gave Dallas a 10-7 lead before the Packers scored the next five times they got the ball.

``It was the only bad throw he made all game,'' Sanders said.

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