By: Armando Harmon
It’s a wrap for the Aztecs and the regular season. With an overall record of 23-8 the Aztecs will face familiar foe and seek for redemption as they face Mesa Community College for a third time in the Region I, Division II championship. Unfortunately the Aztecs hit a two game slump but bounced back to finish off the regular season with a win. Freshmen Jacqulynn was selected as the ACCAC Division II Player of the Year. Sophomores Christine Ortega was named second team All-ACCAC and first team All-Region I, Division II.and Izzy Spruit was selected third team All-ACCAC and second team All-Region I, Division II.
March 6: PCC 99, Glendale CC 56
The Aztecs of Pima Community College advance to the NJCAA Region I, Division II championship after dismantling Glendale Community College. Outscoring them 52-26 in the second half. Pima will play the No. 1 seeded Mesa Community College on Saturday. This will be the 10th time in 11 years the Aztecs will face the Thunderbirds in the finals.
At the half, the Aztecs were up 47-33. Pima started off the third quarter hot as sophomore Alliyah Bryant scored on a four-point play and sophomore Izzy Spruit hit a three- pointer. It turned into an 11-0 run to make the it 58-33 with 7:51 left in the quarter. The Aztecs outscored the Gauchos 32-16 in the third.
Spruit led the Aztecs with a team-high 17 points on 6 for 10 shooting and 5 for 9 from three-point range. Freshman Jacqulynn Nakai finished with 14 points, six assists and two steals while sophomore Christine Ortega also scored 14 points on 6 for 6 shooting.
“ I’m going to give props to our scout team for dialing in at practice,” Christine Ortega said. “I want to thank our coach for believing in the sophomores.”.
Freshman RyLeigh Long scored 14 points on 4 for 8 shooting to go along with four rebounds, four steals and three assists off the bench. Sophomore Aubre Fortner contributed with 11 points and three blocks. Freshman Shauna Bribiescas came close to a double-double as she had eight points and nine rebounds.
“It’s a good one to get out of the way,” Todd Holthaus said. “We played our style of basketball and I’m happy about.”
Feb. 27: PCC 76, Arizona Western 65
The Aztecs closed out the regular season with a big win over a Division I opponent.
Sophomore Spruit set a new Pima school record of nine 3-pointers and scored 30 points as the No. 13-ranked Aztecs beat Arizona Western College 76-65. Spruit went 10 for 17 from the field to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Aztecs trailed at the end of the first quarter but took a 31-25 halftime lead after outscoring the Matadors 19-11 in the second quarter. The Aztecs took a double-digit advantage at 52-40 to close out the third.
Sophomore Christine Ortega scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and also had 9 rebounds. Freshman Jacqulynn Nakai contributed with 11 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.
The Aztecs secured a 16-6 record in the ACCAC conference for the second straight year. This is the third straight year the program has won 20 games or more.
Feb. 24: PCC 69, Mesa 74
Pima was unable to stop Mesa from a quick rally in the fourth quarter. The Aztecs fell to the Thunderbirds 74-69 after being outscored 26-13 in the final quarter of play.
Up 39-35 at halftime, the Aztecs went on a 15-4 run to secure the lead with a 54-39 advantage with 3:46 left in the third. At the end of the quarter, the Aztecs led 56-48.
The Thunderbirds started the fourth quarter hot as they went on a 10-4 run and tied the game at 61-61 at the 6:30 mark. Freshmen Macey Rose hit both free throws to give Pima the lead, but Mesa would score 5 straight points with under a minute left.
With an another pair of free throws by sophomore Ortega, the Aztecs only were down 68-66. Mesa would take advantage, however, and score the final points from Pima’s turnovers.
Freshman Jacqulynn Nakai scored 22 points with 5 rebounds and assists. Freshmen Shauna Bribiescas finished with a double double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ortega had an off night and she went 0 for 6 from the field. She ended the game with 5 points from free throws and 14 rebounds.
“We have a tough conference,” Todd Holthaus said. “ It was a rough loss because we had them and hopefully we see them again.”
Feb. 21: PCC 82, Central Arizona 106
The women’s basketball team for Pima Community College has secured the No. 2 seed for the Region I, Division II tournament.
The Aztecs, however, couldn’t get it together in the third quarter at the Feb. 21 game against Central Arizona College.
The No. 7 Aztecs fell to the Vaqueras 106-82 after being outscored 36-17 in the third quarter. At the half, the Aztecs trailed 52-44.
Freshman Nakai was named ACCAC Division II Player of the Week for the fourth time. She finished the game with 28 points.
Sophomore Alliyah Bryant scored 15 points, while fellow sophomore Spruit scored 12 points. Sophomores Aubre Fortner and Ortega each scored 10.
The Aztecs are 1-1 in the matchup against Central Arizona. Pima won earlier in the season 83-73.