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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 22, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas Spurs9 dismal season comes to an end San Antonio believes the future will be much better By KELLEY SHANNON AP Sports Writer_ SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs’ miserable season is finally over. Now the team is looking ahead to happier times. David Robinson predicts his injured back and foot will be in good shape come fall. Sean Elliott will have the summer to heal his knee. And, if they’re lucky, the Spurs could nab the No. I pick in the NBA draft. “You can just look at the future right now,” said point guard Avery Johnson. “And I think ours is bright.” San Antonio’s worst season in franchise history ended Sunday with the Spurs posting a 20-62 overall record after a 103-99 loss to Houston. ‘I’m really proud of the way these guys persevered and stuck together. They are to be commended.’ _—    Spurs    coach    Gregg Popovich “I promise this won’t happen again,” Johnson said. “Words can’t describe how I feel right now. It’s real disappointing.” With star center Robinson out injured almost the entire season, the Spurs lacked the power that had propelled them to the playoffs each year since Robinson’s rookie season in 1989-90. It didn’t help that other key players, including Elliott, were sidelined this year with assorted ailments. San Antonio ended the season with 347 games lost to injuries, another franchise record. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich applauded his players for the way they endured the tough times. “I’m really proud of the way these guys persevered and stuck together. They deserve to be commended,” said Popovich, who hasn’t announced whether he will return as coach next season. Popovich, also the general manager, fired coach Bob Hill in December and took over the team himself the day Robinson was to return from battling back pain. The return was shortlived. Six games later, Robinson went down with a broken foot and missed the rest of the season. The frustrated, injury-depleted Spurs limped along under Popovich the rest of the way. Robinson has said little publicly lately, but he spoke out after the season’s end, praising his teammates for the way they responded to adversity. NBA 1997 NBA Playoff* First-Round Pairings (bost-of-5) Eastern Conference (1) Chicago vs. (8) Washington (2) Miami vs. (7) Orlando (3) New York vs. (6) Charlotte (4) Atlanta vs. (5) Detroit Wes; -'in Conference (1) Utah vs. (8) LA. Clippers (2) Seattle vs. (7) Phoenix (3) Houston vs. (8) Minnesota (4) LA. Lakers vs. (8) Portland “I’ve seen other bad teams that don’t react as well as we did,” he said. “Every one of our players had obstacles to overcome and each put out the effort every night.” The Press Comal County Sports Softball By TOM ERICKSON Sports Editor_ SAN ANTONIO — Jarrett Skrobarcek is just one victory from a berth in the UIL state championships after winning his first two matches at the Region IV-4A tennis tournament Monday at McFarlin Tennis Center. Skrobarcek, the third seed in boys’ singles, defeated T.J. Ramirez of Floresville 6-0,6-1 in the opening round and topped Mike Domgard of Clemens in the quarterfinals 6-4, 6-4. The winner and runner up in each division qualify for state, so Skrobarcek will be guaranteed a spot with a win against Jason Randolph, the No. 2 seed. Skrobarcek’s match with Randolph was scheduled for 9 a.m. today. In the other boys’ semifinal, top-seeded Ron Theodore of Alamo Heights was scheduled to face Brad Clements of Marble Falls. Skrobarcek’s Canyon High School teammates, didn’t fare as well on Monday. Alamo Heights players proved tough for the Region IV-4A tennis Cougars, sending Canyon to three defeats in the first round. Lacey Olson of Alamo Heights beat Canyon’s Lauren Dean 6-1, 6-4 in girls’ singles and Bobby Hunt and Ryan Martin topped Luke Canyon and Tommy Thompson 6-0. 6-0 in boys’ doubles. Kit Scarbrough and fora Woollven ran into fourth-seeded Genevieve Kimmel and Monica Martin and lost 6-0. 6 0. Canyon’s Barton Adams and Brian Schwartz faced Jason Wilson and Hon Yates of Marble Falls in the first round but also lost 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Smithson Valley sent just two players to regionals, but Devon Ginn and Nicole Stout represented their school well, advancing to the quarterfinals before being eliminated. Ginn and Stout, both sophomores, beat Kim Bell and Catherine Harrison of Sharyland 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round but lost to Kristin Hedger and Katie Sweeten in the quarterfinals 6- 1,6-0. Hedger and Sweeten, the second-seeded doubles team in the tournament, were from Kerrville-Tivy. Smithson Valley coach Keith Brown said Ginn and Stout played well and would gain much-needed experience from this year’s tournament. “(Hedger and Sweeten) were both seniors, but we played them really well,” Brown said. “ We had four deuce games against them, and that was a good thing. “Their girls played well. They were actually down 3-4 in third set against the girls from Shary land but came back to win. When you see sophomores have that kind of fight that’s a good sign for the future of our program. Brow n hoped other Rangers watching from the stands Monday could learn from the experience as well. “The other kids see that and feed oft' that too, so they will play the same way next year,” he said. “We’v e got a lot of kids w ho are good athletes and when they get down, they don’t give up.” Baseball On Deck I; rn    ^0gg9gMm§P isssrasssi«sM«sm--^ -•s^fessBwaasBBgfjtggyiSiSiSii ig&EsafiaBMtf* _________ * iV ijj, mmi lf ft# JWSM Tuesday, April 22 Con Canyon at Regm IV-4A tournament TMI Canyon at Region IV-4A tournament Smithson Valley at Region IV-4A tournament BaaataNI New Braunfels at Seguin...........7    p m Bastrop at Srmthson VaMey .........7    p m Del Valle at Canyon ..............7    pm Wednesday, April 23 Ooh Canyon at Region IV-4A tournament Thursday, April 24 ft 11 itll ■ Ii   Dleu/d#e oofiDM — rwyum New Braunfels vs Holmes al UTSA 4 p m Canyon va Marble Falls at Dripping Springs ..............................7    p.m Tennis New Braunfels et Region IV-5A tournament Friday. April 28 Tennle New Braunfels at Region IV-5A tournament Srrtfheon Nfetey at Lockhart ........7    p.m. Canyon at Bastrop................7    p m Track New Braunfels at Region IV-5A meet Canyon at Region IV-4A meet Smithson Valley at Region IV-4A meet Friday, April 28 Track New Braunfels at Raglan IV-6A meat Canyon at Region IV-4A meet Smrthson Valley at Ragion IV-4A meet The third season begins Thursday for Canyon and New Braunfels’ softball teams. But    unlike pre-district and district games, the playoffs end when you lose. Both    the Cougarettes and Unicorns will face teams that survived the Bidistrict round of the postseason. Canyon and New Braunfels earned first-round byes after clinching their respective district championships earlier this month. The Cougarettes (22-3) will face Marble Falls at 7 p.m. Thursday at Dripping Springs, the same site where Canyon beat Hays in last week s District 28-4A tiebreaker. The Unicorns (19-6) will travel south to play Holmes at 4 p.m. Thursday at UTSA. New Braunfels’ played two warm-up games in preparation for the postseason, losing the first but winning the second. ■ Playoff schedule Canyon vs. Marble Falls at Dripping Springs, 7 p.m. Thursday New Braunfels vs. Holmes at UTSA, 4 p.m. Thursday Herakf-Zeitung photo by Tom Erickson Smithson Valley sophomore Devon Ginn returns a volley at the Region IV-4A tournament in San Antonio as doubles teammate Nicole Stout watches. Ginn and Stout won their opening match on Monday but lost in the quarterfinals to Kristin Hedger and Katie Sweeten of Tivy. Skrobarcek reaches semifinal roundSports Day ■ To talk with Sports Editor Tom Erickson about Sports Day, call 625-9144, Ext. 223. Readers can also send e-mail to [email protected] (Events are listed according to timeliness and as space allows) Unicorn football loam sat to pump Iron on Thursday The New Braunfels High School football team will hold a lift-a-thon at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the gymnasium. Admission is free. For more information, call Coach Kingsbury at 625-5713. Marlon AtMatlc Booster Club golf toumamant The Marion Athletic Booster Club is sponsoring a golf tournament May 3 at Northcliffe Country Club to raise funds for scholarships and athletic equipment. The event is limited to 72 golfers, and registrations are due Friday. For more information, call Susan Wehe at (210) 914-3636 or Aubry Foster at (210) 303-5765. Nawoomba Ranch Spring Invitational toumamant Tennis players are invited to compete in the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch Spring Invitational tournament, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The event is open to adults and juniors ages 14 to 16. Entry fees are $20 per doubles team or $15 per members doubles team. The entry deadline is Saturday and registrations will not be taken over the phone. For more information, call Tom Browntail at 643-0404. Soceor foam has two openings for trip The Texas Rangers soccer team has two openings for players born between Aug. 1, 1983, and July 31, 1984. The team will be traveling to England, Ireland and Scotland this summer from July 13 to Aug. 1. For more information, call 492-8706 or 696-8247. Sundance Golf Course Twilight League Sundance Golf Course’s Twilight League will have its organizational meeting at 6 p.m. May 1 at the Sundance Golf Course pro shop. Priority in league play will be given to teams which have previously competed. League play will be for 12 weeks, beginning May 21 and running to Aug. 13. Play will be a scramble format each Wednesday night, with a shotgun start at 6 p.m. All team captains who wish to form a team should attend the organizational meeting. lf you have questions, call the pro shop at 629-3817.Herald-Zeitung J Tuesday, April 22,1997 J 5 Canyon, N.B. begin playoffs on Thursday By TOM ERICKSON Sports Editor Tigers rally, beat Texas ARLINGTON (AP) — Melvin Nieves figured the hot Texas weather would be just the tonic his bad hamstring needed. He was right. His timing has been struggling with a combination of injury and cold weather. The Detroit designated hitter missed three games with his hamstring problems but he’s not worried any more, thanks to the Texas sun. His three-run double off center fielder Damon Buford’s glove capped a five-run eighth inning as the Detroit Tigers rallied for a 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers. Cowboys, Oilers happy with choices at draft Dallas gets help from new face IRVING (AP) — In addition to the usual collection of coaches, scouts and bean counters, the Dallas Cowboys had a new face in their draft headquarters. That was former star running back Calvin Hill, hired recently as a consultant to help the Cowboys spruce up an image which has been tarnished by a series of suspensions and legal scrapes. The Cowboys completed their draft on Sunday, and Hill played a role in the selection process. Owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys investigated not only the 40-yard dash times and bench press totals of prospective draftees. “We did our homework on players,” Jones said. “We made some decisions that were influenced by that issue. “It wasn’t the first time we’ve looked at the background of players we were thinking about drafting, but we spent a considerable amount of time checking.” The Cowboys certainly need to add some new faces to an aging roster that lias been further depleted by another round of free agent defections. Dallas drafted nine prospects over the weekend, trying to help themselves at tight end, linebacker, in the secondary, on the offensive and defensive lines, and on special teams. “If you would have told me before the draft that we’d get a tight end, a weak side linebacker and a few of the other positions we had emphasis on. I’d have said we’d have a pretty good draft,” coach Barry Switzer said. After investing their first-round pick on 6-foot-7, 280-pound LSU tight end David LaFleur, and two of their top three selections on offense, the Cowboys spent three of their final five picks in the last four rounds on defense. With the first of three fourth-round selections, Dallas added to its depth along the defensive line by taking tackle Antonio Anderson, a 6-6 309-pounder from Syracuse. Houston gains depth on defense HOUSTON (AP) — It took two days but Houston Oilers general manager Floyd Reese feels the Oilers accomplished their goals in the NFL draft. They wanted a top cornerback and didn’t get one in the first round and still struck gold with pass rush specialist Kenny Holmes of Miami with the 18th pick in the first round on Saturday. They returned on Sunday to add players they feel will give them depth. “I’m really happy about it,” Reese said. “It started well and we all feel it fell into place the second day to be able to get the guys we needed was very satisfying.” The Oilers lost Cris Dishman, their top cornerback, and linebacker Micheal Barrow, their No. 2 sacker, to free agency. They wanted an impact cornerback but all the top players were taken before the Oilers pick. “There were six comerbacks in the first round and we had two rated in the third round,” Reese said. ‘That affected the whole first round for everybody but still the second day we did what we wanted to do the night before.” On Sunday, the Oilers used the first of their two fourth-round picks on Michigan State receiver Derrick Mason, who holds the Big IO record for kickoff return yardage with 2,575 yards. They also drafted Troy State defensive end Pratt Lyons in the fourth round. Houston took Baylor cornerback George McCullough in the fifth round, illinois linebacker Dennis Stallings in the sixth and Arizona linebacker Armon Williams in the seventh. The Oilers expect Holmes, who had 29 career sacks for the Humcane, to make an immediate impact, and Holmes expects to do the same. “I’m always talking about sacks,” Holmes said. “You’ll be hearing me talking more about making sacks. I love sacks.” The Oilers got only 35 as a team last season and went into the NFL draft with an eye on dratting a cornerback to replace Cris Dishman and getting an outstanding pass rusher .v' tv ;