Daily Newspaper and for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
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Wednesday, December 10, 1997
Eagles' press flattens Loboes
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Dec. 10 -- For the first 16 minutes of Tuesday
night's basketball game between the Pecos Eagles and
Monahans Loboes, it looked as though Loboes coach John Curry
had been scouting the Eagles at last weekend's Odessa
But when things were over, it was the Eagles who were doing
to Monahans what Odessa Permian and El Paso Irvin had done
to them -- using a full-court press to get a lot of easy
baskets, as Pecos took control on defense in the second half
and scored a 54-39 victory at the Pecos High School gym.
The Eagles didn't press much in the opening periods, while
the Loboes built as much as a seven point lead in the second
quarter, mostly on baskets off turnovers.
"It was by design," said coach Mike Sadler of the Eagles'
defensive game plan. "I didn't want to start out in the
press, because I didn't know what they had coming back."
Sadler was referring to the Eagles' 58-52 season-opening
victory in Monahans, when several players, including guards
Brandon Stephens and Nathan Swarb, were still involved in
football. "I figured they'd have some more quickness out
there, and they did. Then after watching them, I thought we
could put the press on and make it work, and it did."
After a short jumper by Jason Merrick at the start of the
third quarter gave Monahans a 25-21 lead, the Eagles went on
a 16-1 run the rest of the period, then outscored the Loboes
13-7 in the first four minutes of the final period to go up
Forward Fernando Navarrette had a big role in the second
half outburst. The junior gave the Loboes major problems
getting the ball past halfcourt, and scored 11 of his 13
points in the second half.
"I thought Fernando played a good game offensively and
defensively, and that was good, because his defense sets up
his offense," Sadler said.
Navarrette put the Eagles ahead to stay at 26-25 with a
lay-up, then scored again off an inbounds steal and hit a
3-point jumper. Omar Hinojos also had a rebound tip of his
own missed shot, while Jacob Chavez added a pair of
3-pointers during the 16-1 run.
Chavez wasn't as hot from the outside as in the teams' first
meeting, when he hit six 3-pointers. The senior was shut out
in the first half, but Hinojos kept Pecos close by hitting
two from the 3-point range, part of his game-high 25 points.
Monahans, meanwhile, was hampered by Cody Avery's foul
problems. The Loboes' post had 22 points in the Nov. 18
loss, but this time managed only one first period basket and
finished with five points.
Monahans' defense hid that problem in the first half, though
the Loboes again had problems shooting from the outside.
Stephens banked home their lone 3-pointer of the night to
end the first period and give Monahans a 9-8 lead, and he
and Cody Stockton both would score off steals in the second
quarter, when Pecos fell behind by a 21-14 score.
Sadler had a talk with his guards after that, and it seemed
to pay off, as the Eagles turnover problems ended until
late in the fourth period, when Monahans cut the lead to
50-37. They had a shot at narrowing it to 10 with 90 seconds
to play, but David Williams' 3-pointer was short, and Oscar
Luna then fed Navarrette for his final two points of the
"I think that (Odessa) tournament really helped us. I don't
know if it was late in the first half or at the start of the
second, but we started passing the ball crisply and breaking
down their press, and that's what you have to do, move the
ball to the middle of the floor and pass it crisply," Sadler
Chavez was also in double figures for Pecos with 11, as the
Eagles snapped their four-game losing streak and improved to
4-5 on the season. Monahans, which was led by Stephens'
seven points, fell to 4-4 going into their own Sandhills
Tournament opener on Thursday against San Elizario.
The Eagles will also play Thursday, in the first round of
the West of the Pecos Shootout. They'll host Odessa High's
junior varsity at 7:30 p.m., while a split varsity squad
will take on Alpine in the tournament opener at 12 noon.
The Eagles' freshman and JV teams also will host their own
tournaments this weekend, and will be trying to bounce back
from Tuesday losses. The ninth graders were beaten by
Monahans, 44-38, while the JV lost to the Loboes, 63-36.
Alex Garcia had 15 and David Chavez 12 for the freshmen, and
Jacob Weidner led the JV with 10 points.
Swarb 2 1-2 5; Murray 0 0-0 0; Stephens 3 0-0 7; Rivera 0
2-2 2; Stockton 2 0-0 4; Williams 3 0-0 6; Morris 2 0-0 4;
Moreno 0 0-0 0; Merrick 3 0-0 6; Hawkins 0 0-0 0; Allen 1
0-0 2; Avery 1 3-4 5. «MDBO»Totals 16 6-8 39.
Garcia 0 0-0 0; Marta 0 0-0 0; Barreno 0 0-0 0; Luna 0 0-0
0; Martinez 0 0-0 0; Navarrette 6 0-0 13; Hinojos 10 3-7 25;
Matta 1 0-0 2; Adame 0 1-2 1; Marquez 0 2-2 2; Bryant 0 0-0
0; Chavez 4 1-2 11. «MDBO»Totals 21 7-13 54.
Monahans 9 14 3 13 --39
Pecos 8 13 16 17 --54
Three-point goals: Monahans 1 (Stephens), Pecos 5 (Hinojos
2, Chavez 2, Navarrette). Fouled out: None. Total fouls:
Monahans 11, Pecos 10.
Six Eagle gridders earn honorable mention
PECOS, Dec. 10 -- One of the six Pecos Eagle football
players selected to the All-Dis¬ trict 4-4A football team,
along with six other Eagles received honorable mention on
the squad, in voting by the six district coaches.
Senior Jason Abila, a first-team selection at cornerback,
received honorable mention as well on offense at
quarterback. He was joined by strong side tackle Steve
Harrison and strong side guard John Gutierrez on offense,
while on defense, tackle T.J. Huffman, end Alonzo Valencia,
linebacker Chris Reyes and strong safety Moses Martinez were
Martinez, Huffman, Harrison and Reyes are all seniors,
while Gutierrez and Valencia are juniors. Along with Abila,
seniors Jeremy Thomasson and Robert Cravey were named to the
first team all-district squad on the offensive and defensive
lines, while senior defensive end Jose Contreras and
offensive tackle Jake Fowler were second team picks, along
with junior Oscar Luna at cornerback and wide receiver.
Sprewell's lawyers go on offense after apology
OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 10 (AP) -- Latrell Sprewell apologized
for his one moment of anger that led him to attack his
coach. That said, the banished basketball star made it clear
he believes he's a victim, too.
``I am a good person and I've never had any situation like
this come up before,'' Sprewell said at a news conference
Tuesday, his first since losing his job with the Golden
State Warriors and being suspended for one year by the NBA
for choking and threatening coach P.J. Carlesimo during
practice Dec. 1.
``I feel 10 years of hard work shouldn't be taken away for
one mistake. My career didn't happen overnight and I don't
feel it should be taken away overnight.''
Sprewell read from a statement and didn't take questions
because of pending litigation in the case, but said he
apologized to Carlesimo in a phone call Sunday, and he
repeated the apology in public.
```I know this conduct is not acceptable in society and
professional sports. I accept responsibility for what I've
done,'' he said.
Sprewell's confrontation with Carlesimo, which has sparked
national debate over sportsmanship, player-coach relations
and professional athletes' standing in society as role
modes, led the Warriors to terminate the three-time
All-Star's contract last Wednesday. The move cost him $25
million, and the subsequent NBA banishment, the longest
nondrug suspension in league history, prevents him from
playing for another team for a year.
``The question here is about fundamental fairness to Latrell
Sprewell,'' said Johnnie Cochran Jr., the attorney who
successfully defended O.J. Simpson against murder charges.
``Is the penalty consistent with the mistake that he made?
We think not. We think this was an arbitrary and capricious
action. We hope to turn that around.
``There's really only been one side out there. This man
really was deprived of any kind of due process. Nobody heard
from him at all. That's not the American way,'' added
Cochran, who was at Sprewell's side, along with his agent
Arn Tellem and NBA players association head Billy Hunter.
Also attending in a show of solidarity with Sprewell were
Warriors players Muggsy Bogues, Bimbo Coles, Felton Spencer,
Brian Shaw, David Vaughn and Joe Smith. Robert Horry, a
member of the Los Angeles Lakers and a former teammate of
Sprewell at Alabama, also was there.
Carlesimo, who has a reputation for an abrasive coaching
style, and other Warriors officials declined to comment,
also because of upcoming legal proceedings.
The players union has filed grievances against the NBA and
the Warriors, arguing the penalties were excessive. And
Sprewell himself said he never got a chance to tell his side
of the story, a point the NBA disputes. The case will be
heard no sooner than Jan. 4 by arbitrator John Feerick, dean
of Fordham Law School.
Meanwhile, Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley said
Tuesday that some players might boycott the NBA All-Star
game or the World Championships in Greece if the league
doesn't ease the punishment.
``I think I'd have great support for a boycott,'' Barkley
said. ``I've talked with several players about it. ... If we
don't make a stand, it's going to be bad.''
Barkley declined to name the players he contacted.
Hunter said there has been no movement by the league toward
a compromise or a reduction in Sprewell's punishment.
``Everything is geared toward the arbitration,'' the players
union chief said. ``I'm hopeful that something might happen
where we could leverage enough pressure to where the league
might be open to reviewing it. But I don't think anything
will happen until the arbitration.''
Tellem would not reveal the strategy for the arbitration
``No one condones what Latrell did, but there are real
questions if there are any limits what a coach can do and
are there any rights for the player,'' he said. ``In other
jobs, the employee can seek other employment. Here, he can
not. The commissioner has denied him the right to work for
one full calendar year. That has tremendous implications.''
Witnesses said Sprewell grabbed Carlesimo by the throat and
threatened to kill him during practice for a team that began
the season 1-13. About 15 minutes later, Sprewell returned
to practice and again confronted the coach, who was left
with a 3-inch red mark on his neck.
Some reports have said Sprewell threw a punch at Carlesimo
during that second encounter, and NBA commissioner David
Stern labeled that confrontation a ``clearly premeditated
assault'' while announcing the suspension.
But a source said Tuesday that Sprewell disputes some
reports of the second confrontation and that he never
intended to assault Carlesimo a second time. ``He came out
to demand that P.J. trade him,'' said the source, who spoke
on condition he not be identified.
Tellem said the confrontations should be treated as ``one
``It isn't like he went home for 24 hours. This was one
short time where he lost his cool,'' Tellem said. ``He
shouldn't have done what he did. That's it.''
The news conference was held at the Oakland Convention
Center, the building the Warriors use for practice, and
began less than an hour after the team finished a workout.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise