Panthers walk line to beat Ruidoso

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By Richard Tripp

Tim Baca turned in an exceptional night at the free-throw line, leading the Pecos Panthers to a 57-43 win over Ruidoso in the opening round of the Sandia Prep Invitational.

Baca went 15 for 15 from the charity stripe and scored 21 points. As a team the Panthers were 25 of 29 from the free-throw line.

Pecos led 13-9 at the end of the first period and extended the lead to 30-14 at the half. With the Panthers drawing early fouls, head coach Clyde Sanchez turned to his bench to hold the Warriors at bay.

“Our bench played well and really came around,” the first-year head coach said.

The Warriors and Panthers played near even in the second half with Ruidoso outscoring Pecos 29-27.

“We did a good job of boxing out,” said Sanchez. “We played good defense and our offense is still coming around. We did a good job of rebounding also.”

Dale Gonzales scored 12 and Joe Gonzales added 10 for Pecos, who will play the Australian All-Star team at 5:15 Friday night. The team from Down Under beat McCurdy earlier Thursday.