With under six minutes to play in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game in Fort Stockton, the scoreboard read 33-28 in the favor of the Panthers.
The advantage was garnered after one of their better 14-minute stretches of the season - beginning with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter to just over five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Fort Stockton trailed 14-7 with 2:35 left to play in the first quarter and the Panthers went on a 26-14 run over the next 14 minutes of play to gain a fivepoint lead.
Fort Stockton head coach Jimmy Martinez gave credit his team’s defense for the run.
“I think we did a better job defensively,” he said.
On offense, Dominic Aguilar and Cruz Rojas willed their team back from the early deficit by scoring 12 of their team’s 16 second quarter points. Rojas notably made back-to-back 3-pointers with under three minutes to play in the second quarter. The pair of triples turned a 24-21 deficit into a 27-24 lead.
Aguilar finished with a team-high 16 points.
Then the tide shifted drastically, and the Panthers saw their hopes of ending a 12-game losing streak dashed.
Pecos outscored Fort Stockton 26-10 after the 5:10 mark in the third quarter to get the 52-43 victory and extend the Panthers losing streak to 13.
“I think we relied too much on our shot instead of taking it to the basket,” Martinez said of his team’s late struggles. “We still got to work on rebounding the ball to get some more wins and get opportunities on the offensive end.”
Ezekiel Saldana played a key role in the Eagles late success. The junior forward tallied nine third quarter points and four in the fourth quarter to finish the contest with a game-high 23 points. Joseph Camarillo also was important for Pecos down the stretch, scoring five of his team’s 11 fourth quarter points.
Fort Stockton’s record fell to 2-15 with the loss while Pecos improves to 3-11. The defeat moves the Panthers district record to 0-3. Fort Stockton will head to Monahans on Friday.
Aguilar scores season-high in Panthers 12th straight loss
Junior Dominic Aguilar had his best outing of the season offensively for Fort Stockton in an away contest on Saturday, Jan. 16 at Andrews.
The 5-foot-10 forward was a perfect 7-of-7 at the free throw line on his way to a 17-point outing, along with three assists and.
But the effort wasn’t quite enough to end the Panthers losing streak as Fort Stockton lost 62-50 to the Mustangs.
The Panthers led after the first quarter by one point but never led again from that point forward. Cruz Rojas finished in double digits for the Panthers, as well. Rojas scored 13 points, while going 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Fort Stockton’s record fell to 2-14 overall and 0-2 in district play with the loss.