By STEVE CHOICE
The perennial hard-luck Chicago Cubs are always thinking about “next year.”
After losing its 18th straight contest on Feb. 22, the Pima Community College men’s basketball team may be able to relate to that sentiment.
The Aztecs (6-24, 1-21 ACCAC) closed out their season with a 99-59 defeat at Cochise College.
Freshman guard Lawrence Pierce finished off a strong campaign with 20 points. Freshmen guards Terrance Carroll and Mike Scroggins contributed 12 and 11, respectively.
“We just have to go back to the lab,” Pierce said of the tough season. “I feel like we have a nice group of guys, and maybe some more will come.
“I appreciate the guys I’ve played with this year. As far as next year goes, we’ll just have to go back to the drawing board.”
Pima dropped a heartbreaking 71-70 contest to Tohono O’odham Community College on Feb. 19.
Though it was played at the West Campus gym, it may have felt like a road game for Pima. Tohono’s fans accounted for the majority of the spectators, and the atmosphere was raucous.
Carroll rose to the occasion, dropping 37 points on the Jegos in the loss. The Tennessee native was fearless with the ball all night, going 10 for 14 from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Joseph Monreal contributed 12 points for PCC.
The nail-biter came on the heels of Pima’s most lopsided loss of the year, an 80-32 road defeat to Mesa Community College on Feb. 16.
Despite the losing jag, the Aztecs are looking ahead to better times.
“After dropping this many in a row, we’re playing for pride and preparing for next season,” Carroll said after an 89-59 home defeat to South Mountain Community College on Feb. 13.
“We’ve just gotta keep putting out maximum effort and hope we break this streak.”
Carroll led PCC with 18 points and seven rebounds against South Mountain. He went 3 for 6 from 3-point range.
Scroggins had 13 points, while Pierce contributed 11.
Freshman Kevin Burton chipped in 10 points, and went 2 for 5 from distance.
“It’s been tough,” Monreal said of the winless stretch. “We just have to keep fighting.”
One thing handicapping Pima is a short bench.
“We’re only going about eight or nine deep right now, so that’s making it a little tougher near the end of games,” Monreal said. “The other teams are fresher at the finish.”
PCC’s second-half troubles were evident on Feb. 9 at Scottsdale Community College.
Pima trailed just 27-21 at the break, but eventually fell 71-51.
The Aztecs didn’t have any better luck on the road against Phoenix College on Feb.6, dropping an 88-50 contest.
Scroggins had 14 points, eight assists and five boards against the Bears.