By STEVEN FOWLER
The No. 3 Pima Community College men’s basketball team saw its season end March 2 after a 96-81 loss in the Region I, Division II semifinal game at No. 2 seeded South Mountain Community College.
It was the third consecutive year that the Aztecs were eliminated in the semifinal game.
South Mountain took an early nine-point lead in the first half, but the Aztecs came back on a 15-6 run to take a 35-30 lead. The game was tied at 38 a piece at halftime.
PCC trailed early in the second half 51-48, but went on a 10-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game with 11:19 remaining.
PCC was outscored 23-6 in the final 4:50 in the game. Sophomore Yusef Shehata made two free throws to give the Aztecs a 75-73 lead but the Cougars went on an 8-0 run and the Aztecs saw their slim lead slip out of grasp.
Shehata made three free throws that closed the gap to three points. Later, freshman Kwintin Williams’s basket put PCC within two points at 82-80.
The Cougars went on yet another 8-0 run that made it a 90-80 score with roughly a minute remaining. South Mountain scored the final six points in their win.
The Aztecs produced four players in double figures.
Shehata hit six 3-pointers and went on to score a team-high 23 points. Williams finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore Justice Martion had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds while freshman Keven Biggs also scored 14 points.
The Aztecs finished the 2016 season at 17-14, their third straight season with 15 wins or more under head coach Brian Peabody. The Aztecs’ ACCAC conference record of 12-10 marked their best mark since the 2000-01 season.
PCC had three representatives selected to the All-ACCAC conference and All-Region I, Division II teams. Sophomores Yusuf Shehata, a guard and forward Justice Martion along with freshman forward Kwintin Williams were recognized for their contributions on the court during the game.
Williams was named second team All-ACCAC and first team All-Region, Division II. Martion was selected third team All-ACCAC and second team All-Region. Shehata was named third team All-ACCAC and second team All-Region I.