By BETO HOYOS
Pima Community College’s women’s basketball team is looking ahead to the playoffs following a loss in the regular-season finale.
The No. 2 seeded Aztecs will host No. 3 Chandler-Gilbert Community College on March 4 for the first round of the Division II regional tournament. The playoffs will run from March 4-6.
Pima ended the regular season with a 73-61 loss to Glendale Community College on Feb. 21.
The Aztecs tried to keep Glendale’s lead in check but trailed by nine at the half. In the second half, Pima did a better job of defending Glendale and limiting easy shots, but couldn’t find enough offense to turn the game around.
On Feb. 18, PCC defeated Arizona Western College 72-58. It was the final home game of the season, and the team made sure to go all-out in front of faithful fans.
Sophomores Holly Bolen, Felicia Foster, Raja Moreno-Ross, Shayna Porter-Banks and Rachel Williams were recognized after the game.
Freshman Alicia Jones was also honored. She has earned a scholarship to Florida A&M University, and will transfer there next year.
From the opening tip, the Aztecs fired on all cylinders. The previous meeting between the two teams saw Pima fall in overtime.
The Aztecs took a 17-point lead into the break and emerged from the locker room with the same intensity. Pima led by as many as 29 points in the second half.
Williams led the way with 16 points, while Jones finished with 15 points and Foster had 10.
On Feb. 15, the team defeated Cochise College 81-66.
Early in the first half, the Aztecs were down by 15 points. After an 8-0 run to bring the score within two points, Pima went into halftime with the lead.
At the beginning of the second half, the Aztecs held an 11-point lead but Cochise slowly came back and tied the game at 57 points. Pima responded with a 15-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Jones led the Aztecs with 20 points. Foster finished with 14 points and five assists, and freshman Melody McLaughlin finished with 13 points.
On Feb. 12, Pima handed Tohono O’odham Community College a 103-68 loss.
The Aztecs opened the game with relentless offense and tough defense, and held a 14-point lead by halftime. In the second half, the Aztecs outscored Tohono O’odham by 21 points.
Three Pima players were selected to Arizona Community College Athletic Conference All-Conference and All-Region teams.
Moreno-Ross was selected First Team All-ACCAC and First-Team All-Region I, Division II. She had 11 double-doubles during the season, averaging 13 points and nine rebounds per game. She started in all 30 regular-season games for the Aztecs.
Foster was selected Second Team All-ACCAC and First Team All-Region. She also started all 30 games for the Aztecs, and averaged 11 points and three assists per game.
Jones was named Third Team All-ACCAC and Second Team All-Region. She led Pima in scoring, averaging almost 14 points a game. She was second in rebounding, averaging almost six per game.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College’s men’s basketball team lost an overtime thriller in the opening round of the playoffs, ending their season.
The team fell to No. 1 seed Phoenix College 108-104 in the first round of the Region I, Division II tournament on Feb. 26. The Aztecs finished their season with a 13-18 record, an seven-win improvement from last year.
It was only the second time in 11 years that Pima’s men’s basketball team made the playoffs.
Sophomore Shakir Smith finished the game with 54 points, including 13 consecutive points that put the Aztecs ahead 89-86 with a little more than three minutes left.
Later, with Pima down 96-93, sophomore Tyler D’Amore hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime.
Phoenix College hit a couple threes in overtime that proved too much to overcome.
Freshman Ben Gershman finished the season with his 20th double-double of the season with 14 points and 18 rebounds.
Pima will have most of its roster intact going into next season, losing only Smith and D’Amore. The rest of the team is expected to return.
In the final game of the regular season, PCC fell to Glendale Community College 108-86 on Feb. 21.
The loss was the Aztecs’ sixth in a row heading into the playoffs. They finished the season with a 13-17 record and went 8-14 in conference play.
Wins were hard to come by in the final games of the season.
Pima fell to Arizona Western College 85-69 on Feb. 18.
The Aztecs were down by as many as 21 points in the second half but climbed back to cut the lead to eight before Western again pulled away.
“I’m really proud of how our team played tonight,” head coach Brian Peabody said. “They showed a lot of fight and didn’t give up.”
Freshman Ben Gershman led the team with 32 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite the losses, Pima clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the playoffs due to South Mountain’s loss to Eastern Arizona College.
Pima also fell in a nail biter to Cochise College 82-78 on Feb. 15.
The game went back and forth the entire night, but was sealed when Cochise hit a three pointer with 1:49 left in the game.
Freshman Kendrick Little tried to retaliate for Pima but missed. Little finished the game with 15 points. Shakir Smith was the Aztecs’ leading scorer with 23 points.
On Feb. 12, Pima lost to Tohono O’Odham 106-95.
Pima had a 60-51 lead going into halftime, but was unable to hold on to it. Smith led the way for the Aztecs with 38 points and five rebounds.
Gershman and Smith were named to the All-Conference/Region Teams.
Gershman was named to the Second Team All-ACCAC conference and First Team All-Region I, Division II. He finished the regular season averaging 19 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.
Smith was named to the Second Team All-ACCAC conference and Second Team All-Region I, Division II. Smith averaged 27.7 points per game.
By JOSE SANTIAGO III
Michael Sam made history on Feb. 9.
It wasn’t for winning the co-Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, or for leading the Missouri Tigers to a huge win in the Cotton Bowl this past season.
Sam made history for coming out as the first openly gay NFL draft prospect.
The news was first reported in a combined interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and the New York Times.
If drafted, Sam would be the first openly gay athlete in NFL history.
This is a huge.
I’m not a gay man but I find it impossible not to root for this guy. His struggle and courage are really something to be admired.
Sam was born and raised in a small town in Texas as the seventh of eight children. He is the first member of his family to attend college, something he never thought he would ever do.
He really began to find himself in college. At first, he came out only to close friends on the team.
He came out to the rest of his teammates during a team-bonding exercise. There might have been mild discomfort in the locker room at first, but the team fully supported Sam throughout the season.
Sam went on to have an outstanding year.
What I find most incredible about this story is that no teammate told the media. Everyone on that team knew he was gay and not one leaked the information. They knew how important it was to Sam to come out himself when he was ready.
The reaction to Sam’s coming out has been generally positive. However, if you are looking for a negative reaction, you don’t have to look outside of his bloodline.
His father has voiced the displeasure he felt after getting a text from his son telling him that he was gay. “I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” he said in an interview with New York Times.
I find his lack of support appalling. Parents should be there for their kids when they are going through something like this.
There is sure to be more negative reaction. There always are with this kind of thing.
This is a really trying time for Sam and he needs all the support he can get. I’m sure that, as he has shown in the past, he is strong enough to get through it.
I’ll be rooting for him.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College had two athletes finish in the top 10 nationally during the Glendale Last Chance meet on Feb. 22.
Freshman Rhiannon Reece set her pole-vaulting mark at 10 feet 6 inches, which placed her ninth nationally.
Sophomore Kathy Fisher finished the 600-meter race with a time of 1:37.73, which also ranked ninth nationally.
The records qualify the two to compete at the NJCAA National Championships in New York on March 7-8.
“This year, that’s good enough to just qualify,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said.
Other Aztecs hit qualifying marks, but will not advance to nationals because Pima has a rule that they must be ranked in the top 12 to 15, Wenneborg said.
Pima will compete at the Arizona Relays at Central Arizona College on March 1 before sending qualifiers to the national championships.
On Feb. 15, PCC athletes achieved several national marks during the Pima Indoor Invitational.
On the men’s side, freshman Kevin Snead took first place in the 60-meter race with a time of 6.89 seconds. In the 200 meters, Snead set a national qualifying time of 21.96 seconds.
Freshman Cruz Rodriguez took first place in the 800 meters. Sophomore Eddie Wilcox set another national qualifying mark in the high jump with a jump of six feet eight and three-fourth inches.
On the women’s side, freshman Heidi Lopez nearly broke a Pima record in the 1500 meters, finishing in first place with a time of 4:55.77.
Sophomores Kathy Fisher and Brianna Rodriguez each took first place in their respective events.
Fisher won the 400 meters with a time of 58.92, while Rodriguez won the long jump with a jump of 18 feet 6 inches.
Sophomore Lucas Ruiz running in the 1,500-meter race on Feb. 15.
By NICK MEYERS
Former Pima Community College soccer player Minh Vu has signed with his first professional team, joining the United Soccer League’s Rochester Rhinos in New York.
Vu played at PCC from 2009-2010. He was an All-American both years before transferring to Penn State University, where he was named Big Ten Tournament Offensive MVP in 2011.
He attributes much of his success to PCC head coach David Cosgrove, who met Vu during his youth Tucson Soccer Academy days and encouraged him to be the best player he could.
“He told me I was a player that could get to that level,” Vu said in a press release. “When I got to Pima, he was happy I was there. He gave me the freedom to play forward, which helped give me confidence and to score goals.”
Cosgrove also helped Vu get recruited by Penn State.
“We helped Minh understand that there are no short cuts or excuses,” Cosgrove said. “Minh has always had a ton of talent. He put in the work at Pima and Penn State and deserves all the credit for becoming a professional.”
The Rhinos’s season opener will be April 5 in Orlando City. The team will play Phoenix FC in Phoenix on June 14, and Vu said he looks forward to having friends and family at the game to cheer him on.
By NICK MEYERS
Men feel heat in Sun City
Pima Community College men’s golf team came in behind five other teams at the Glendale Invitational Feb. 20- 21.
The Aztecs performed consistently over the weekend, with two-day totals ranging from 149 to 151 and one-day totals from 74 to 76.
Freshman Gabe Borboa lead the Aztecs with a score 5-over par at 149, which tied him for 13th individually.
Following the tournament, the Aztecs are fifth in conference standings, yet Coach Clark Rustand is optimistic about the improvement of the players on the team.
“We are close to playing really good golf, unfortunately we’re just making a few too many correctable mistakes that prevent us from competing,” Rustand said. “I’m happy where we are and where we are going, we just need to tighten down a bit.”
The Aztecs’ next opportunity comes at home with the Pima Invitational March 3-4 at Silverbell Golf Course. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. both days.
Women take second at Paradise Valley
Pima Community College women’s golf team took second place in the Paradise Valley Invitational on Feb 25.
Sophomore Josie Trapnell finished in seventh place, one spot shy of the medals.
PCC is now ranked second overall behind Mesa Community College.
Pima also finished second against six teams while hosting the first tournament of the season Feb. 10-11.
The Aztecs finished the two-day tournament at Silverbell Golf Course with a two-day score of 709. The team had a 9-stroke improvement on the second day, from 359 to 350.
Trapnell took 10th place with a total of 170. She trailed first place by 20 strokes and was five strokes away from taking home a medal.
Freshman Marta Felix improved five strokes from 88 to 83 for a total of 171. She finished 11th individually.
Sophomore Brittney Makar tied for 14th individually with a score of 179, while freshman Paige Valles finished 17th with a total of 189.
The Aztecs will next compete during the Scottsdale Invitational at the Hillcrest Golf Course on March 9-10.
By BETO HOYOS
Pima Community College’s softball team had their bats go quiet again Paradise Valley Community College on Feb. 25.
The Aztecs managed one run during the doubleheader, dropping the first game 9-1 in five innings. Sophomore Stephanie Vejar gave up seven runs in two and two-thirds innings, taking the loss.
Pima fought hard in the follow-up contest, taking a scoreless tie into the ninth inning before Paradise Valley scored for a 1-0 victory.
On Feb. 22, the team was swept by Phoenix College in a doubleheader.
In the first game, the Aztecs gave up six runs in the fourth inning. The next three innings were rough as well and they lost10-2.
In the second game, the Aztecs took a quick 1-0 lead off the RBI single of sophomore Valerie Luera, who finished 3 for 3.
“We hit really well against their ace but the slow pitchers really kill us,” sophomore Stacey Ramirez said.
Sophomore Stephanie Vejar took the loss, dropping her record to 5-3.
On Feb. 18, the Aztecs hosted their home opener and swept South Mountain Community College.
It took the Aztecs just five innings to win the first game of the doubleheader. The Aztecs exploded for eight runs in the fourth inning, topping South Mountain 11-0.
Sophomore Danielle Stensby and freshman Alexis Dotson each had two-run RBI singles in the fourth inning. Freshman Jackie Hernandez joined the offensive showcase with a RBI triple.
Ramirez finished 3 for 3 with a run scored.
“The first game was the game you wanted to watch,” Ramirez said.
Vejar picked up her fifth win of the season, throwing a three-hitter with one strikeout.
“When we hit and our pitchers are on, we’re unstoppable,” Ramirez said.
The second game against South Mountain didn’t provide the same type of offense.
Freshman Taylor Fabing provided a solo shot to center in the third inning to give the Aztecs a 4-0 lead. South Mountain tried to come back, but Pima held on to win 4-2.
On Feb. 15, PCC visited Glendale Community College for a doubleheader.
The Aztecs had an explosive seventh inning in the first game, scoring six runs. Vejar picked up the win, allowing one run, six hits and one strikeout.
Sophomore Victoria Mariscal went 2 for 4 with a fifth-inning home run, and freshman Alexis Dotson finished the game 4 for 5 with an RBI and a double.
In the second game, the Aztecs scored five runs in the first inning. The big lead didn’t last, as Glendale began to slowly chip away at the deficit for a 8-6 win. Freshman Brianna Quiroz took the loss.
March 1: El Paso CC, West Campus, noon
March 4: Central Arizona College, West Campus, 1 p.m.
By ZACH ARMENTA
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s tennis teams swept Imperial Valley College on Feb. 8.
The women won every match, earning a team score of 9-0.
In doubles, the No. 1 team of sophomores Amy Beeston and Cayla Cordova won 8-1.
The No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Ashten Watt and freshman Cassidy McWhorter won 8-5.
The No. 3 doubles team of freshmen Yani Alameda and Katlyn Jones also won 8-1.
On the singles side, every player won with ease.
Beeston won 6-2, 6-2 and Cordova won 6-2, 7-5. Watts won 6-1, 6-1. McWhorter won 6-1, 6-4, while freshman Ema Hernandez won 6-3, 6-0.
On the men’s side, the Aztecs swept Imperial Valley on the doubles side but could only manage a split in singles play, going 3-3.
Sophomore Brian Soto won his match 6-3, 6-2. Freshman Gabe Ortiz won by default.
All the drama for the men came during the three doubles matches.
The No. 1 team of freshmen Richie Foitik and Soto won a nail-biter 9-8, 8-6.
In the second doubles match, sophomore Carlos Medina and freshman Josh Henkel won 8-6.
In the third doubles match, freshmen Trey Terry and Ortiz won another nail-biter 9-8 , 9-7.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams dominated in their exhibition match.
The Aztecs travel to Mesa Community College for a preseason tournament on Feb. 21-22.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College fell to Mesa College 85-70 on Feb. 8.
Mesa was able to sweep the season series with Pima and in doing so they put a real dent in Pima’s playoff chances.
The Aztecs are currently tied for third place with the top four teams making the playoffs.
Mesa controlled the paint for the entire game and Pima was unable to control them.
Freshmen Murphy Gershman and Kendrick Little lead the way for Pima. Gershman finished with his 17th double-double of the seasons with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
While Little added 17 points off the bench.
Sophomore Shakir Smith had a season low of 11 points.
The Aztecs have four games remaining on their schedule and will need to win at least three to guarantee a playoff spot.
Pima fell to South Mountain Community College 109-105 in overtime on Feb. 5.
With the loss the Aztecs record fell 13-12 with an 8-9 conference record. Only one game stands between them making the playoffs and falling short.
Coach Brian Peabody is very pleased with how his team has been playing the past five games. The offensive flow has been good, but they still need to work on the defensive side of the ball.
South Mountain was in a dogfight the entire night with Pima, but they were finally able to pull away when the game went into overtime.
Smith led the way for the Aztecs with a 42-point performance. Freshman Matt O’Boyle had 17 points while Gershman contributed with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Aztecs must keep winning in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Pima defeated Scottsdale Community College 97-86 on Feb. 1.
The win was the Aztecs’ fourth in a row improving their record to 13-11 with an 8-8 record in conference.
Pima overwhelmed Scottsdale from the start. They did what they normally do when they play well and that is to have a great inside-outside game.
Gershman dominated the inside with 30 points and 18 rebounds, while O’Boyle did a little of both with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Smith took care of the perimeter with his 30 points. He also contributed four steals in the game.
The Aztecs were able to avenge a previous loss to Scottsdale from back in November.
“I’m excited about the way we’ve been playing lately,” Gershman said. “If we can build on this and keep getting better over the next few weeks we’ll be in good position to make the playoffs.”
Pima defeated Phoenix College 80-75 on Jan. 29.
The Aztecs controlled the game throughout. O’Boyle’s 22 points on 8-11 shooting and 4-5 from behind the arch led them.
Marquez also added 13 points and three assists off the bench. With the win, the Aztecs’ playoff hopes remain alive.
Peabody feels as long as his team plays the way they are playing now that his team will be a tough-out versus whomever they play.
The Aztecs played at Tohono O’Odham Community College Feb. 12.
By NICK MEYERS
The Pima Community College Men’s Golf Team took its first swing at the new season with the first tournament on Feb. 3-4.
The Aztecs struggled in the first round but made a spirited comeback in the second, for fourth place in the tournament at Legacy Golf Course in Laveen, Ariz.
The team finished with a combined score of 305 for last place in the first round but tied for the lowest round score in the second day with a team score of 288.
Sophomore David Chung led the team in the first round with a score of 70 and followed up with 74 in the second for a seventh place individual finish and the lowest two-day total on the team, 144.
Freshman Ben Bradford shot three straight birdies in the second round and tied for the lowest score of the day with 68 strokes. He tied for 17th individually with a total of 148.
The team’s new head coach, Clark Rustand, was inspired by the comeback and is excited to see how tournament experience will help players improve upon an already solid bed of talent.
Chung and teammates sophomore Tyler Cooper and sophomore Anthony Moncada are the team’s returning players who Rustand hopes will help anchor the team. Cooper placed 31st with 155 in the tournament and Moncada finished in 11th with 146.
Rustand played golf for Utah Valley State College, where he finished 12th as an All-American in Nationals, and Brigham Young University where he was ranked among the top five junior college golfers in the country before playing as both an amateur and professional golfer.
“I am very excited to be coaching again. The players on this team have a ton of talent, and it’s my job to help them reach their goals,” Rustand said.
Glendale Community College is hosting the next tournament at Sun City South Golf Course on Feb. 20-21 in Sun City, Ariz.
By DIEGO LOZANO III
Before any tip-offs or whistles this season, we all had our respective expectations and predictions for any given ball club prior to the upcoming season.
We never know what the potential ceiling can be for a team in the offseason but as the mid-term of the 2013-2014 season nears, we can now dissect the NBA landscape as it stands.
One fan may be reaping the euphoria of a team’s dominant home stands where as another may be slipping into the trenches of a bad losing streak.
Here’s my meaningless opinion on some possible surprises and stinkers to think about by the time you finish this reading.
Los Angeles Clippers
The notorious “Lob City” could be singing the blues of sob city in the summer. Loaded with three-point snipers on and off the bench has carried the Clips into a fourth place seed in the playoffs were to start today.
Unfortunately, L.A. has seen the injury bug take a bite at Chris Paul once again, leaving the dunking-duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to shoulder the load in minutes and production.
Nearly dominant at home and slightly above mediocre on the road could spell disaster taking on one of the top three teams in the Western Conference in either the first or second round.
This one was tough. It’s hard to label any two-time defending champs as non-contenders for this year’s strap but something just seems odd lately about this team.
The vibe in South Beach is just as shaky as the health of Dywane Wade. I’m not doubting “Flash” but who knows how long he can continue to revive stretches of his greatness during clutch hour.
Granted LeBron James is arguably in the discussion for the association’s Most Valuable Player honor yet again and his fellow cast is as lethal as ever, but sometimes you got to run with the heart over head instinct.
Taking a huge step up from the low-tier of the Western Conference to division dark horse has the Suns cracking the list of runner and gunners sure to make a playoff run.
With a youthful and crafty nucleus of talent still developing cohesion deeper into the season, Phoenix can look to overtake the Pacific division from the fraudulent Clippers.
All-Star snub Goran Dragic, and guys like the Morris’ brothers have ignited hope in the desert for postseason play all while playmaker guard Eric Bledsoe has been inactive. Upon Bledsoe’s return, put the Suns on your radar.
You probably wanted to stop reading here once you saw the crew above the border listed here but consider a few supportive points to make you stay.
I’m not suggesting Toronto is going to take the chip but this is a group of players who have surprisingly potent offensive as of late.
Another “should’ve been an All-Star” in point guard Kyle Lowry paired with the scoring threat of DeMar DeRozan has the Raptors clicking on offensive possessions but defensively is really this bunch could solidify their status as a top four Eastern Conference seed.
By JOSE SANTIAGO III
Pima Community College swept the University of Arizona club baseball team on Feb. 11 in a double header.
Pima would take the first game by a score of 8-0 and freshman Chris Kucko finally got his first win of the season after pitching five innings of the shutout and only giving up four hits.
Sophomores Kellen Marruffo, Devon Carrillo and A.J. Acosta each had two RBIs in the game.
In the second game of the double header Pima won 10-0.
The win was the Aztecs fifth in a row.
Freshman Francisco Rodriguez went 3 for 4 and racked up 3 RBIs in the game.
Freshman Ruben Bracamontes matched Rodriguez’s production, also going 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs.
The Aztecs look to take this hot streak into ACCAC Conference play starting Feb. 15. They play Western Arizona College in Yuma and look to get their record to above .500 for the first time this season.
Pima won three straight versus Hermosillo College on Feb. 7-9.
In the first game Aztecs won 9-4.
All nine runs came from a huge rally in the sixth inning.
Sophomores James Lynch, Steven Still, Jaquese Moore and freshmen Rodriguez and Brandon Burke each had an RBI in the game.
Sophomore Cole Plouck pitched another great game but couldn’t secure the win. He pitched 5 and two-third innings, giving up only one unearned run.
The second game of the double header had even more offense, winning the game 15-2.
Lynch was the offensive star of the game. He went 3 for 4 from the plate with 4 RBIs, two runs and one home run.
The bats would be alive and well for the third game of the series against Hermosillo, as they would win 8-2.
Freshman Kyle Petty pitched seven innings in the game and only gave up one run on four hits giving him his first win of the season.
Lynch had another great game, including a two-RBI single in the second inning.
Pima dropped two straight versus Western Nevada on Feb. 4-5.
In the second game of the series Kucko pitched six innings and had four strikeouts, but also gave up four runs and seven hits, resulting in his second loss of the season.
The offense struggled in this game as well. Lynch, Bracamontes and sophomore Juan Gamez each had one hit in the effort. Final score 5-0.
The struggles continued for the Aztecs in their game against the Sonora College All-Stars on Feb. 7.
This game went into extra innings with the score tied at one apiece, but due to a passed ball late in the game they would end up losing 3-2.
Sophomore Scotty Watson pitched a great game. He threw 112 pitches in seven and one-third innings, with seven strikeouts and giving up only one unearned run.
Sophomore Dan Kennon would score both runs for the Aztecs in the game on a 1-5 performance from the plate.
The Aztecs dropped both games of a doubleheader on Jan. 31, losing to Paradise Valley Community College.
Kucko was called upon to start the first game of the season for the Aztecs. He struggled early, giving up two runs in the first inning of play.
Kucko would settle down though, only giving up one more run for the rest of the five and two-thirds innings. He left the game with the Aztecs in a two run deficit, down 3-1.
Gamez would score the only run for the Aztecs, going 2 for 4 from the plate.
Watson was strong, starting the second game of the doubleheader. He pitched four and two-thirds innings, only giving up two hits and one unearned run to go along with four strikeouts.
Despite Watson’s strong performance, the Aztecs still found themselves down 1-0.
The Aztec bats showed some signs of life later in the game, scoring four runs in the seventh inning and taking a three-run lead heading in to the bottom of the frame.
The lead was short lived for the Aztecs, as they gave up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to find themselves down 5-4 going into the eighth inning.
The Aztecs lost the game 6-4, starting the season 0-2.
The second day of the season was slightly better for Pima, as they took one game of two against Paradise Valley at home.
The first game of the doubleheader was a thriller. Through the first 5 and two-third innings Pima pitchers were working on a no-hitter.
Plouck pitched the first four and two-third innings of no-hit ball in a strong starting effort before being pulled. He also had seven strikeouts to go along with four walks.
Going into the bottom of the seventh inning Pima was down by the score of 1-0. Carrillo would score in the inning on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Still scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly hit by Cooper Smith.
The sacrifice would wind up being the game-winning run and give the Aztecs their first win of the season. Final score 2-1.
In the second game, the Aztecs lost 3-0.
Marruffo went 3 for 4 in the game and Carrillo went 2 for 3 combining for 5 of the Aztecs’ 6 hits in the game.
Freshman Marcel Renteria pitched four and two-third innings of relief, racking up seven strikeouts to only one walk.
He did give up two runs and would ultimately take the loss.
By BETO HOYOS
Pima Community College sophomore shortstop Stacey Ramirez has been passionate about sports.
Growing up in the small town of Benson, Ariz., Ramirez participated in several sports including softball, basketball and soccer.
Her talent in softball began to blossom in 7th grade when she began playing for an amateur softball association team, which allowed her to travel to California and Hawaii.
By her sophomore year at Benson High School, Ramirez was convinced that softball was something she could ride to college on.
“By my sophomore year we were already getting recruited by Phoenix College,” Ramirez said. “I went to a small school so it was easy to stand out.”
During high school there was never any doubt in Ramirez’s ability and that she would become a college student athlete. The only question was what sport she would choose to participate in.
“I can’t really see myself without softball you know,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s teammates enjoy her on the field attitude and her work ethic. Her hard work seems to rub off on her team and it can seem infectious.
“She’s such a great teammate and such a hard worker,” teammate Victoria Mariscal said. “Even more than me.”
Ramirez says that without her family and without her faith in God all her success wouldn’t be possible.
“The things that are most important to me and come before anything are God and my family,” Ramirez said. “My family is everything to me and is exactly what keeps me going.”
Ramirez was raised Christian and grew up being an involved member of her church.
“Growing up I’d go to youth groups, church camp, the whole nine yards,” Ramirez said.
Growing up in a small town Ramirez knew a lot of members of the community, including a lot of kids and early on she knew she would be a role model.
“We had a lot of little girls look up to us and I didn’t want to give us a bad name,” Ramirez said.
In a small town such as Benson word of any wrong doings can get around very quickly, so Ramirez said in High School she would hardly go out and party or do anything that would cast a negative light.
The sophomore shortstop says being a good role model is not that difficult as long as you stay true to yourself.
“A good role model is somebody who represents themselves in a positive way,” Ramirez said.
As for future career endeavors, Ramirez is not exactly sure what she wants to pursuit.
“I get really bored really fast, and I want to be successful,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez says she thinks a career in criminal justice would be interesting or working for the DEA as well.
“It’d be cool to work for the border patrol, but more like the intelligence portion,” Ramirez said.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College’s men’s basketball team is looking to build on a two-game winning streak as the playoffs draw closer.
The Aztecs defeated Chandler-Gilbert 99-88 on Jan. 25, sweeping the season series.
The win improved Pima’s record to 11-11, with a 6-8 conference record.
Freshman Murphy Gershman led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Matt O’Boyle added 15 points for the Aztecs, while sophomore Shakir Smith had another 30-point night.
The win puts the Aztecs one step closer to making the conference tournament. They are in a dogfight for the last spot.
Pima snapped its four-game losing streak on Jan. 22 with a win over Central Arizona, 81-76.
Four players scored in double figures, with Gershman and Smith leading the way with 20 points apiece.
O’Boyle added 17 points, while freshman Andres Marquez scored 10 coming off the bench.
Head coach Brian Peabody was pleased with the team’s effort.
“We had to go back to the drawing board,” Peabody said. “We started it at practice. I wanted to make them as competitive as we could get them.”
Peabody hopes to instill a sense of urgency with his team, since there’s only 10 games left in the season.
He feels the Aztecs need to win at least five or six to make the playoffs.
Pima fell to Eastern Arizona College 88-69 on Jan. 18, their fourth loss in a row.
With the win, Eastern was able to avenge its 99-96 loss to the Aztecs last November.
With a little over six minutes left in the game, Pima had a 84-77 lead but Glendale went on a 8-0 run to go up 84-85.
They later hit two three-pointers to take a 93-90 lead and never looked back.
Smith led the way for Pima with 26 points.
Pima fell to Glendale Community College 105-103 on Jan. 15.
The Aztecs led most of the way but failed to close the game out.
Smith finished the game with 36 points and five assist, while Gershman had his 12th double-double of the season with 32 points and 15 rebounds performance.
The Arizona Community College Athletic Conference named Smith its Division II Player of the Week for Jan. 6-12.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Assistant coach Jim Monaco was named Pima Community College’s interim head football coach on Dec. 9, after head coach Pat Nugent announced his resignation.
Monaco recently set aside time from a busy schedule to discuss his background and his vision for the football program.
Q: Where did you grow up playing football?
A: Lynn English High School in Lynn, Mass. It’s a small town right outside of Boston. I also played at the University of New Haven. After four knee surgeries, plus ankle and hip surgery, I was done my sophomore year.
Q: How long have you been coaching football and what was your last coaching job before you became an assistant at Pima?
A: I’ve been coaching now going on my 30th year. I coached at Desert View before I came to Pima. Our first year we were 5-5. We started off 5-1. They hadn’t won five games in the previous seven years and we managed to do that for quite a while.
Q: How did you feel when you found out you got the head coaching job at Pima, even though it has the word ‘interim’ tied to it?
A: I was jacked. This is going to be my last gig. I know there was an interim tag. However, there were still 28 applicants, gosh, a ton from out of state, and I managed to do it.
I also look at it as a tryout. I tell these kids when I recruit them, it’s opportunities. You can’t turn your back on opportunities, because you never know how many you are going to get.
Q: What did you learn under Nugent?
A: Coach Nugent was very dynamic in the way he set up practice. His passing tournaments were very detail-oriented. It’s those kinds of things that I’m trying to steal. Nobody comes up with anything new, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Nugent was very meticulous in the way he ran the program, and that’s what I tried to pick up on as much as possible.
Q: What aspect of the program needs improving, and how do you plan on doing that?
A: The offense was a sore spot for us last year. I’m not going to sit here and say we lost games because of our offense, because we didn’t. I don’t think we capitalized enough. I think there was a little too much strife with the offensive staff. So, we started there.
We brought in a few new people who are amazing, who coached here at Pima back in the day. I think offensively we need to gel, we need to work together as a staff. You don’t always have to agree, but when you walk out of that door you need to be on the same page.
Q: What are your short-term and long-term goals for the football program?
A: You know, I have an issue with long-term and short-term goals. They have a tendency to run into each other.
Short-term goal is, we need to continue winning, we need to fix our grades.
We have to have our students passing, because I don’t believe that one is more important than the other. When you’re here at Pima, you are expected to be a student and a football player — not one or the other.
Long term, this school has to get back to winning. It has to get back to supporting itself.
We have to fund raise and get people in the community excited about Pima football again. We moved into the new soccer stadium at Kino, and my goal is to have a bowl game there.