By DEANNA SHERMAN
March Madness is almost upon us!
The No. 5 nationally ranked University of Arizona men’s basketball team is getting ready for the most exciting time in collegiate sports.
If you’re looking to go out and enjoy the game with friends or family, here are my Top 10 places in Tucson to watch the Wildcats play.
10. Schrier’s Sports Grill
1118 E. Sixth St.
Schrier’s is the youngest of all the businesses listed. It opened just last December, but the reception has only been positive so far. Located right next to the university, Schrier’s is cozy inside and has amazing food. The space is somewhat minimal, so arrive early and grab a beer on tap.
345 E. Congress St. #101
Hi-Fi, located across the street from The Cadence student apartments, definitely attracts a college-going crowd for games. With 45 high-definition screens (the most on our list) and a decent happy hour menu, this bar provides a rowdy good time for watching the Wildcats.
8. Sky Bar
536 N. Fourth Ave.
Although there are only three screens for watching a game, these are huge projector screens. You won’t have a problem finding a good spot to sit. On top of tap beer and cocktails, Sky Bar is connected to Brooklyn Pizza Co. and will bring the pizza to you at the bar. Don’t worry about missing a minute of the game.
7. Frog & Firkin
874 E. University Blvd.
Frog & Firkin has lots of outside seating and screens to enjoy the early spring weather. The crowd leans a little more to the student side but always has alumni as well. The food and beer selection is extensive. I recommend grabbing a burger or some deep-dish pizza.
6. Wings Over Broadway
5004 E. Broadway Blvd.
WOB is the place for fans who live east of the university. Even if you don’t, it’s worth the drive. It has some of the best wings you’ll find in Tucson and a ton of other menu options. You can sit at the bar or in the dining area. Either way, you’ll get great service and good food. The crowd is mainly locals so you won’t have to worry so much about those crazy college kids.
5. The Red Garter Bar & Grill
3143 E Speedway Blvd.
Locals love the Red Garter, which is located just east of Country Club Road. It always has a large crowd during big games. Enjoy some great bar food and a selection of beers for a good price. TVs surround the bar, the dining room and a back area with pool tables. If you choose the back area, you can play a little pool during halftime.
4. Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co.
865 E. University Blvd.
Another location right off University Boulevard, Gentle Ben’s is full of student life. It has good food and lots of space, including an upstairs balcony. Ben’s is the place to be if you want to have a little extra fun and get rowdy with the college crowd.
3. Thunder Canyon Brewery (downtown location)
220 E. Broadway Blvd.
If you’re worried about finding a table in time for the game, head to Thunder Canyon Brewery. The huge space has tons of tables, TVs and a bar for wherever you want to camp out during the game. The food and service have always been good and the extensive beer selections include house-made brews and root beer.
2. No Anchovies Pizza
870 E. University Blvd.
If you’re anything like me, we can agree that UA students sometimes get a bit too rowdy during a game. ‘Chovies’ always hosts a great mixture of locals, alumni and students. Get there a little early to snag a spot on the outside patio full of seating and shade. Grab a slice of pizza, a nice cold beer on tap and enjoy both the game and the beautiful Tucson weather.
1. McKale Center
University of Arizona campus
Although the UA regular season has ended, I couldn’t bear to leave out the one and only McKale Center. What better way is there to watch the Wildcats play than seeing them on their own court? McKale Center has a rich history. It has hosted multiple future basketball greats, NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournaments and even a United States president. Whether you’re in the rowdy Zona Zoo student section, in the nose-bleed seats or have deep enough pockets to sit courtside, it’s hard to put a price on McKale’s fun and memorable atmosphere.
By DEANNA SHERMAN
The Pima Community College’s women’s basketball team ended its season early in a loss to Phoenix College 55-53 on March 4 at the West Campus gym.
Despite Pima having the No. 1 seed over No. 4 Phoenix going into the Region I, Division II Tournament semi-finals, the Aztecs struggled to pull out the win.
Sophomore Heather Rogers scored 14 points, 10 of them in the second half, and had five steals to end the game and the season.
Sophomore Melody McLaughlin scored a team-high 15 points with nine rebounds. She ended the season averaging around 14 points and seven rebounds and managed to start all 30 games.
McLaughlin was selected Second Team All-ACCAC and First Team All-Region I, Division II.
Freshman Shalise Fernander contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.
Fernander ended the season with an average of 12 points and seven rebounds per game and was named Third Team All-ACCAC and Second Team All-Region I, Division II.
Reflecting on the season, Fernander said, “The beginning of the season was a little shaky, but toward the end of the season it was such a beautiful thing to see us all click on the court. I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Pima ended a strong season with an overall 17-14 record and 14-8 in the ACCAC Region I, Division II conference.
On Feb. 24, Pima sealed the No. 1 seat in the Region I, Division II Tournament.
The Aztecs pulled out a win in an exciting game against Scottsdale Community College, 66-62.
With under a minute left in the game, the score was tied 62-62.
Freshman Kristin Baldwin scored a jump shot, putting Pima up 64-62 with 39.6 second left on the clock.
Scottsdale tried to tie the game back up. After a missed shot, freshman Shalise Fernander was fouled as she came down with the defensive rebound.
Fernander then made two clutch free-throw shots, putting the Aztecs up 66-62 with only 21.1 remaining in the game, sealing the game.
Even though the season is over Fernander is already excited for next year.
“I look forward to all the new freshman babies coming in and teaching them all the tricks of being successful in college on and off the court”
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team ended its season with an 80-71 loss against Tohono O’Odham in Sells on March 4.
The Aztecs struggled all season against Tohono O’Odham, dropping both of their regular season matchups.
The Aztecs came out slow in the semifinal game, being outscored 39-24 in the first half . They were never fully able to catch up even though they outscored their opponent 47-41 in the second half.
Pima was the No. 3 seeded team in the Region I Division II semifinals, with Tohono O’Odham being seeded right above them at No. 2.
The Aztecs would have hosted Tohono O’Odham at the West Campus if they could have won their final regular season game against Scottsdale Community College on Feb. 24.
They fell to Scottsdale 79-78 but had a chance at the end of the game.
Sophomore Bryan Cervantes missed a three-point shot with 9.6 seconds left in the game.
Sophomore Matt O’Boyle grabbed the offensive rebound and put it in for two with 0.2 seconds left, leaving the game to run out of time.
Sophomore Murphy Gershman led the team with a 31-point, 11-rebound double-double. O’Boyle added 22 points as he shot 6 of 10 past the three point line. Sophomore Esteban Lopez finished with 12 points on the night.
Head coach Brian Peabody led the Aztecs to the tournament for the second year in a row. The team finished with an 18-13 overall record this season.
O’Boyle and Gershman led the team, with both posting impressive stats.
O’Boyle was the Aztecs’ biggest threat from three-point range, shooting just under 50 percent and averaging 18.2 points a game.
O’Boyle was named to the Third Team All-ACCAC and Second Team All Region I, Division II. He played and started in 28 of 30 games.
Gershman led the team in double-doubles with a total of 19 on the season. He was also selected to the First Team All-ACCAC Conference and First Team All-Region I, Division II.
He averaged 27.8 points and 11.5 rebounds a game this season, leading the ACCAC in points. He played and started in 26 of 30 games.
Gershman has committed to play for Colorado School of Mines next semester.
Gershman was named NJCAA National Player of the Week in January, an honor he was particularly proud of.
“If I’m being honest, that was one of my goals this year,” Gershman said in an interview with KVOA. “I didn’t get it last year, so it was one of my personal goals this year and I got it.”
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (18-12, 10-12 in ACCAC) will be the No. 3 seed heading into the tournament. They will face Tohono O’Odham in the first round of the tournament. Pima previously dropped both of their regular season games against Tohono O’Odham this season.
The Aztecs dropped their last game of the regular season to Scottsdale Community College 79-78 on Feb. 24.
Down by three with 9.6 seconds left in the game sophomore Bryan Cervantes missed the potential game tying three-pointer.
Sophomore Murphy Gershman grabbed his 19th double-double of the season with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Matt O’Boyle hit 6 of 10 from beyond the arc dropping 22 on the night. Sophomore Esteban Lopez added 12 points.
The Aztecs fell just short in their game against South Mountain Community College, losing 71-74 on Feb. 21. The game marked their last road game of the regular season.
Gershman posted another double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. O’Boyle dropped 16 points and added seven rebounds of his own during the contest.
The Aztecs fell to Central Arizona College 62-68 on the road Feb. 18.
They trailed 24-32 at the half and with 10 minutes left they were down 43-51 but were never able to catch up in the second.
The Aztecs battled through a tough contest with Arizona Western College, coming out on top with an 83-72 victory on Feb. 14.
The Aztecs found themselves down 41-42 at half but were able to find rhythm in the last few minutes of the game with an 11-2 run which sealed the victory.
O’Boyle took control of the game in the last two minutes dropping eight of his game-high 29 points. O’Boyle sank eight of 12 from beyond the arc. He was named ACCAC player of the week and averaged 17 points and five rebounds in the two game stretch. O’Boyle is averaging 14.9 points and 4.2 rebounds a game this season.
Gershman also had a strong game for the Aztecs, dropping 20 points and 12 rebounds to grab another double-double.
Freshman Dorian Paige went 5 for 6 from the field as he added 16 points of his own.
Pima fell to Mesa Community College 67-84 on Feb. 11 at home. Mesa swept the Aztecs this season with the win.
The Aztecs fell behind Mesa by double digits in the first half, and were unable to close the gap in the second. Mesa’s 19-4 run early on gave them the momentum in the game.
Gershman and Freshman Justin Martion both finished 14 points, followed closely by Cervantes with 12.
By DEANNA SHERMAN
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (17-13, 14-8 in ACCAC) has sealed the No.1 seed in the Region I, Division II tournament.
The Aztecs pulled out an exciting win Feb. 24 against Scottsdale Community College, 66-62, in the final regular-season game.
With under a minute left in the game, the score was tied 62-62. Freshman Kristin Baldwin then scored a jump shot, putting Pima up 64-62 with 39.6 second left on the clock. Scottsdale tried to tie the game, but missed its shot.
Pima freshman Shalise Fernander was fouled as she came down with the defensive rebound. Fernander sealed the game with two clutch free-throws, putting the Aztecs up 64-62 with 21.1 seconds remaining.
“I’m really proud of this group and happy for our sophomores,” Pima head coach Todd Holthaus said in a press release.
“We have overcome many adversities and to be standing as the No. 1 seed is a testament to what this team is made of,” he added. “At this point, the post-season is gravy. The second season is always the most fun.”
Region I, Division II tournament play will begin Wednesday, March 4, at the West Campus gym. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.
Sophomore Melody McLaughlin expressed confidence before the Feb. 24 game.
“We, as a team, feel well prepared and excited knowing if we win tomorrow it gives us the first seed for playoffs,” she said. “I’m excited, but emotional at the same time because this year has flown by and I don’t want it to end.”
PCC entered the Phoenix game ranked No. 20 in the nation.
On Feb. 21, the Aztecs easily took down South Mountain Community College in Phoenix by more than tripling their opponent’s score, 100-31.
Fernander led the Aztecs with 26 points while freshman Heather Rogers had 25 points of her own.
At the time, Mesa Community College held a share of the No. 1 seed with Pima. The tie-breaker went to the Aztecs for sweeping Mesa during the regular season.
Pima came home with a loss Feb. 18, falling 82-68 to Central Arizona College in Coolidge. PCC was swept in the regular-season series after also losing to Central last month, 73-62.
The Aztecs had a rough start, trailing 41-28 at the half. They came back strong in the second, only being outscored 41-40.
On Feb. 14, Pima defeated Arizona Western College 77-53 at the West Campus gym.
Pima nearly doubled Western’s score in the second half, 42-25, and scored 30 points on three-pointers alone throughout the game.
Four Aztec players scored in double digits. Baldwin had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
In Mesa on Feb. 11, Pima finished another thrilling game against Mesa Community College 55-54.
In their previous meeting, a last-second buzzer beater secured the final score of 72-70 for Pima. This time around, a defensive play finished the game.
Down by one, Mesa attempted a buzzer shot in the last second, only to be denied when Baldwin swatted it away.
By DEANNA SHERMAN
The Spring semester has proven to be an exciting one so far as the Aztecs look to close out their season strong.
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (13-12, 10-7 in ACCAC) lost in dramatic fashion to Cochise College in overtime 72-71 Feb. 7.
The Aztecs came out strong in the first half with explosive defense holding Cochise to just 22% shooting.
Coming into the second half leading 30-18 Pima’s momentum shifted as Cochise slowly began to take control of the game.
Under pressure Freshman, Gabby Banales made a pair of free throws with 1:14 left putting the Aztecs ahead 63-61. Cochise then forced the overtime tying the game up 63-63.In the extra period neither team pulled away going basket for basket until Cochise hit a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left taking the lead 72-71. Freshman Samirah Miller went for a last second half court shot but fell short.
Melody McLaughlin (Sophomore) and Kristin Baldwin (Freshman) each finished with a double-double. McLaughlin with 26 points and 10 rebounds and Baldwin with 10 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. Banales and Freshman Shalise Fernander each had 11 points of their own.
On Feb.4 Pima’s four game winning streak came to an end in a loss to No. 9 ranked team in Division I, Eastern Arizona College in Coolidge, 66-54.
Banales hit a pair of important three-pointers gaining a lead in the second half but with around five minutes left the Aztecs couldn’t find a way to score, allowing Eastern to out score the Aztecs 21-8 to end the game.
Banales had the team’s highest score with 14 points.
The Aztecs came home with a win Jan. 31, defeating Glendale Community College 49-48.
It was the Aztecs’ fourth straight win and an extra sweet victory after their loss in overtime to Glendale back in December.
Pima came into the second half down 30-26. Midway through the second-half the Aztec’s went on a 13-0 run, out-scoring Glendale 23-18 to finish the game. Banales led the Aztecs with a team-high 13 points.
At home on Jan. 28, PCC easily took down Tohono O’Odham Community College, 77-44.
Leading 45-16 at the half, Pima gave up only 16 points in the second half. Sophomore Jayla Brown ended strong with a three-point-play with 48.4 seconds left.
Five Aztecs scored double-digits, and two recorded double-doubles. NJCAA National Player of the Week Melody McLaughlin had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Alexa Arndt (Sophomore) had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Banales scored a game-high 18 points while Fernander and Brown each scored 12 points.
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (17-8, 9-8 in ACCAC conference) snapped their four game losing streak behind a huge performance from Sophomore Murphy Gershman.
Gershman was named ACCAC player of the week for the third time adding to his resume as the top player for the Aztecs this season.
Pima will rely on him to lead them as they wrap up their last few games of the regular season which ends later this month.
In their game against Eastern Arizona College Gershman set the season record for both points and rebounds with 45 and 22, respectively.
The Aztecs swept Cochise College this season with their dominant 91-68 victory on Feb. 7. The win marked their second in a row after breaking a four-game losing strike.
Sophomore Bryan Cervantes racked up a game high 27 points in the victory shooting 5 for 9 from beyond the arc.Gershman played a dominant game again, posting a 21 point 16 rebound double-double.
Sophomore Matt O’Boyle, who was kept scoreless in the first half finished with 14 points in the second half. He went 4 for 8 in the 3-point range helping the Aztecs stretch their lead.
Gershman lead the Aztecs to a 96-85 victory over Eastern Arizona on Feb. 4.
Not only was it a crucial win, sweeping Eastern Arizona and getting back on track with their season, but the Aztecs had a standout performance by Gershman who dropped 45 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. Gershman was dominant and dynamic on the court hitting three 3-pointers and converting on three 3-point plays in the victory.
The Aztecs led 44-39 at half and battled through the second half with crucial performances by freshman Dorian Paige with 11 points and sophomore Andres Marquez with 10. Two well timed runs helped secure the victory. Sophomore Esteban Lopez finished with eight points and eight rebounds on the night.
The Aztecs added a loss to their season as they fell 71-64 on the road against Glendale Community College on Jan. 31.
Pima trailed by two at halftime but was unable to rally in the second half to win the game. The Aztecs split their games with Glendale, winning their first meeting of the season in December.
Gershman finished with a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double on the night. Cervantes added nine points and five rebounds.
The Aztecs dropped their home game on Jan. 28 against Tohono O’Odham 77-92. The game, stocked full of emotions and attitudes, was hard fought. In the end the Aztecs were unable to stop Tohono O’Odham from beyond three-point range, giving up 15 three-pointers.
The Aztecs trailed 49-39 at halftime and managed to get the game within five points part way through the second half but ultimately came up short.
O’Boyle struggled with his shooting, scoring 11, but had opportunities throughout the second half.
Gershman finished with a game-high 26 points, seven rebounds and three steals. He shot well from the line, going 13-15 on the night.
Cervantes dropped 21 points, with five coming from beyond the arc.
The Aztecs will host Mesa CC on Feb. 11 after the Aztec Press goes to print.
By DEANNA SHERMAN
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (11-10, 8-5 in ACCAC conference) beat Phoenix College 80-78 in a double overtime victory on Jan. 24.
Despite some difficulty scoring throughout the game freshman Gabby Banales ended the game with a third offensive-rebound put back right as the buzzer went off.
Sophomore Melody McLaughlin led the Aztecs in the second overtime, contributing a 6-0 run that gave Pima a 76-74 lead with 2:01 on the clock.
McLaughlin earned NJCAA National Player of the Week honors for her efforts.
Sophomore Jayla Brown scored a team high 22 points, with her clutch three-point shooting.
“A road conference win is always good,” said Pima head coach Todd Holthaus. “I’m extremely proud of this group of ladies. They faced adversity and found a way through it.”
They easily defeated Chandler-Gilbert 89-51 on Jan. 21.
Pima led by 40 points in the second half and ended the game out-scoring Chandler-Gilbert 52-27.
Freshman Shalise Fernander led with 23 points and 7 rebounds.
Although the Aztecs consistently out-scored Chandler-Gilbert, their defense stood out as well, ending the game with 34 defensive rebounds and 15 steals.
The Aztecs lost 66-59 on the road against Scottsdale Community College on Jan. 17.
Pima’s women’s basketball team defeated South Mountain Community College 84-38 on Jan. 14. A 20-0 run put the nail in the coffin early in the second half. Brown and freshman Hayley Pryor had great games off the bench both scoring in the double digits.
The Aztecs lost at home in a close game against Central Arizona College with a final score of 73-62 on Jan. 10. McLaughlin had 14 points and seven rebounds. Banales finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Pima broke their losing streak with a road win against Arizona Western College 63-58 on Wednesday, Jan. 7. The victory was a good team win as five of Pima’s own scored in the double digits.
Then, at No. 15, Pima lost to No. 16 South Suburban College 56-45 on Dec. 28. Pima struggled throughout the game despite Pima’s freshman Kristin Baldwin who nearly had a triple double finishing with nine points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks.
On the second day of the Stone Creek Hotel Cougar Holiday Tournament the Aztecs lost a close game against Lake Michigan College 53-46. McLaughlin had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
They closed out the tournament with a third straight loss against No. 2 North Iowa Area Community College 94-63. Pima never cut the lead by more than 17 points. Banales led the Aztecs with 19 points. Baldwin ended the game with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Pima came up short 87-80 in their first game of the Bruce Fleck Classic tournament against Division I school Casper College on Dec. 16.
They turned things around the following day when they defeated Tucson Sol 80-65.
Finishing the tournament on a high note, the Aztecs closed out the Bruce Fleck Classic beating Arizona Christian University 82-55 on Dec. 18.
After the tournament, Pima’s own sophomore Adrianna Barrientez became the fourth recipient of the Bruce Fleck Scholarship Award, which is given to students who exemplify both athletic and academic excellence.
The Aztecs proceeded to end their losing streak with an upset win over No. 6 ranked Mesa Community College on Dec. 13. In the final seconds Pryor hit a layup with an assist from Banales defeating Mesa 72-70.
Fernander was honored with the ACCAC Division II Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 8-14 having two double-doubles against both Cochise College and Mesa Community College.
The team fell to Cochise College with a final score of 74-47 on Dec. 10.
Jan. 31: @Glendale CC, Glendale, 4 p.m.
Feb. 4: @ Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: Cochise College, West Campus, 2 p.m.
Feb. 11: Mesa CC, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (15-5, 7-6 in ACCAC) has gone 3-3 so far in the new year. The Aztecs found themselves in four tight games recently, with all the contests being decided by just a few points one way or the other.
The Aztecs came up short against No. 5 Phoenix College in their road game on Jan 24. The 77-73 loss marked their second in a row.
Sophomore Matt O’Boyle was unable to be effective in the first half but helped the Aztecs push for a comeback in the second half.
Sophomore Murphy Gershman had 22 points and 16 rebounds in his 12th double-double game of the season, sophomores Bryan Cervantes and Ezini Ugbisien both finished with 13 points on the night.
The Aztecs fell to Chandler-Gilbert 81-79 on Jan 21. The closely contested game saw eight lead changes as both teams fought hard.
Key mistakes by the Aztecs and big plays for Chandler-Gilbert set the tempo for the game and ended up being the difference.
O’Boyle, who led the team with 23 points, came just shy of hitting a game winning buzzer beater. Gershman had another double-double on the night, 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cervantes added 14 points on the night.
The Aztecs almost faced another overtime contest against Scottsdale Community College on Jan. 17 in Scottsdale.
With 3.1 seconds left in the game O’Boyle drew a foul and hit one of his two free throws to give the Aztecs the 89-88 victory after a failed shot by Scottsdale.
O’Boyle ended the game with a team-high 26 points, aided by Gershman who scored 25 points and had 18 rebounds. Freshman Justice Martion finished the game with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Pima earned a hard fought 86-84 overtime victory against South Mountain Community College on Jan 14.
Gershman carried the Aztecs with his 33 point, double-double and his buzzer beating three-pointer in overtime to end the game.
The entire game was a battle with neither team gaining a double-digit lead. The teams went back and forth during the end of regulation, but behind a 10-2 run by Pima and two clutch free throws by Martion the Aztecs were able to force overtime.
Martion finished with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double and Cervantes added 12 points of his own.
The Aztecs defeated Central Arizona 89-87 on Jan. 10 at home. Pima entered the second half down two points and continued to trail for the first 13 minutes.
Pima went on 15-2 run to gain the lead late in the game; Ugbisien sealed the game for the Aztecs by grabbing the last rebound.
Gershman had a game-high 24 points to lead the Aztecs to victory. O’Boyle, Cervantes, Martion and freshman Andre Bearden all finished with double digit points.
A nine-point halftime deficit doomed the Aztecs against Arizona Western on Jan. 7. Pima began to come back in the second half, cutting Arizona Western’s lead down to one, but weren’t able to complete the comeback.
Martion led the Aztecs with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double on the night. Gershman finished with 16 points, trailed closely by Paige with 13.
PCC will face Tohono O’Odham CC on Jan. 28 at the West Campus after the Aztec Press goes to print. Coverage of the game will be included next issue.
Over the break, the team dominated in the Holiday Ball-Out Tournament en route to a 4-0 tournament record.
In their first game of the tournament, the Aztecs defeated Trinity Prep 71-33. O’Boyle led the team with 25 points followed by Cervantes who had 20.
The second game of the tournament was a much better match against San Diego Prep. Martion dropped 23 points to lead the Aztecs to a 68-62 victory. Freshman Dorian Paige finished the contest with 17 points.
Pima came alive offensively in the semifinals as they defeated South Shore Prep 132-80. Martion led the Aztecs with a double-double 32 points and 15 rebounds. Four other Pima players scored in double digits.
The Aztecs capped their win streak off with a 74-66 win against Balboa Prep in the championship game. Martion led PCC in points for the third game in a row with 19 points, Cervantes finished right behind him with 17.
Jan. 31: @ Glendale CC, 4 p.m.
Feb. 4: @EasternArizonaCollege, 7:30p.m.
Feb. 7: Cochise College, West Campus,
Feb. 11:MesaCC, WestCampus, 7:30p.m.
By BETO HOYOS
As a teen, Pima Community College women’s basketball coach Todd Holthaus participated in multiple sports.
“I grew up in the corn fields of Iowa,” he said. “My high school was so small that we were almost expected to play every sport because we needed the bodies.” Holthaus developed into a talented basketball player and parlayed that skill into a two-year opportunity close to home at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.
He then made his way to Phoenix and played basketball for Grand Canyon University. After graduating in 1995, he taught elementary school in Phoenix for a few years. His wife Jennifer, a University of Arizona graduate, convinced him to move south. “I moved to Tucson because my wife went to the UA,” he said.
Holthaus taught and coached at Flowing Wells High School for seven years, then worked as a UA women’s basketball assistant coach for two years. “When you’re a Division I coach, you’re gone from your family a lot and at the time my kids were really small,” he said.
A coaching position opened at PCC in 2006, and Holthaus took a chance. “It was a situation where I wanted to be around my family more and it just happened to work out,” he said.
“It came with about a $50,000 pay cut but since then we’ve worked it out to where I can be here full time.” Holthaus said he draws inspiration from his wife and four children, and works hard every day because of them.
His oldest child is 13 and his youngest is 18 months old. “Yeah, we have a full house,” he said.
Coaches often get credit for teaching but Holthaus said his players always manage to teach him things. “I enjoy coaching because I feel like I still learn things,” he said.
“My biggest satisfaction in being the Pima coach is helping kids move on to a four-year university, especially if they want to keep playing basketball.”
Basketball can help pay for an education, he said, “which in the big picture is the most important thing.”
Sophomore guard Jayla Brown said Holthaus has a way of connecting with players on and off the court. “I absolutely love how he pushes me past what I’m comfortable with,” she said
Holthaus said female athletes still face challenges. “Exposure and funding has a long way to go, and there’s not as much professional opportunity as there is for men,” he said. His biggest personal challenge is holding himself to a high standard so he’ll be a good role model for the young women he coaches, Holthaus said.
“I just always want to be here for them, so that when they graduate and years down they can look back and still count on me and still invite me to weddings,” he added.
“He’s a great coach,” freshmen guard Gabby Banales said. “He actually cares about us and wants us to do good things away from basketball.”
During his time at PCC, Holthaus has seen the basketball program evolve and gain positive recognition. “We’ve established a good reputation, not just locally but nationally,” he said.
“We’re usually ranked and I think that makes it easier to recruit because people associate success with Pima.” Having more players wanting to join the team means he must be a little pickier, but Holthaus called that “a good problem to have.” Holthaus and his team take part in many community events, such as volunteering at local elementary schools to promote an active lifestyle. “We go to different schools and participate in recess, because they keep cutting programs for PE,” he said. “We go and keep the young kids active so they’re not just sitting around.” It bothers him when schools drop physical education programs. “It’s extremely important to me,” he said. “It seems like physical activity is becoming less and less important to people.”
By BETO HOYOS
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team used strong defense to pick up its second conference win.
The Aztecs (3-1, 2-0 in ACCAC conference) defeated Phoenix College 50-38 on Nov. 22 in their home opener. Pima got out to a rough start offensively but forced Phoenix College to turn the ball over 28 times.
“The girls did a good job playing defense on a night when we struggled offensively,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “Playing good defense and rebounding will carry us a long way.”
Sophomore forward Melody McLaughlin led the team with 11 points and nine rebounds. She was named ACCAC Division II player of the week on Nov. 24. Freshman forward Hayley Pryor finished with nine points and six rebounds.
In a Nov. 19 road game, the Aztecs won their first conference matchup when they defeated Chandler-Gilbert Community College 72-58. Pima grabbed 25 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded Chandler-Gilbert 47-28.
The Aztecs held a double digit lead for most of the game and held a 38-29 lead by halftime. McLaughlin finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Pryor recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Seven of the rebounds came on the offensive end. Freshman forward Shalise Fernander also had seven offensive rebounds, and finished the game with 12 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
Freshman guard Samirah Miller had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Early in the game, freshman guard Jahnae Martin went down with a knee injury. “Jahnae got hurt about 10 minutes into the game,” Holthaus said. “She went up for a layup and got bumped. She came down awkwardly, then collapsed right away.”
The team rallied after the injury. “This is a very close team and the girls did a good job,” Holthaus said. “We got the win on the road.” Pima was scheduled to play at Tohono O’Odham Community College on Nov. 25 in Sells. The game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.
By BETO HOYOS
The Pima Community College women’s basketball opened their season with a split in the Arizona Western Classic in Yuma. On Nov. 6, PCC defeated Spire Institute (OH) 88-54 in the first game of the tourney. The Aztecs came out ready to play and five players scored in double figures and out rebounded Spire 57-18 for the game. Pima took a 17-point lead into half time and outscored their opponent 41-24 after the break. The Aztecs shared the ball well and finished with 21 assists for the game. Freshmen Kristin Baldwin finished the game with a double-double and led Pima in scoring with 14 points. She also had 11 rebounds. Sophomore Melody McLaughlin and sophomore Alexa Arndt each finished with 12 points. McLaughlin also contributed seven assists. The team played Illinois Central College on Nov. 7 in the second day of the Arizona Western Classic. The Aztecs were in control for much of the first period and took a 31-24 lead into halftime. In the second half, Pima was out scored 47-33 and lost, 71-64. Sophomore Jayla Brown was on fire from beyond the arc and hit four three-point bombs. Brown finished with a team high 21 points. McLaughlin finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. “We won one and lost one, but we played really well together,” McLaughlin said. Pima begins conference play on Nov. 19 when they travel to take on Chandler-Gilbert Community College at 5:30 p.m.
By BETO HOYOS
Sophomore forward Melody McLaughlin began playing organized basketball in 7th grade. Most athletes who attend college on an athletic scholarship start sooner, but hard work and a love for the game allowed her to evolve into a talented player.
McLaughlin’s a lifelong Tucsonan who attended Mountain View High School. She realized during high school that basketball could take her places.
“My sophomore year of high school I got on a club team and I started to take basketball more serious,” she said. “I didn’t really expect to play in college but once I got serious about it I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
Spare time doesn’t come often, but she enjoys riding quads and partaking in outdoor recreation.
The time consuming schedule and demands of the student-athlete life is rigorous on the body and mind.
“To be a student-athlete, you have to have mental toughness and physical toughness,” McLaughlin said. “We’re working out every single day, we’re playing all the time, then you have to get rest.”
Head coach Todd Holthaus said he looks to McLaughlin for leadership.
“She’s a great girl, a smart girl,” he said.
McLaughlin can’t see her life without basketball. “If I don’t play for a day or two, it’s just weird to me,” she said. “I just love it.”
Basketball has allowed McLaughlin to grow off the court and become a better person.
“I’ve definitely become more of a leader and a role model, and it’s made me more assertive,” she said.
The sport has also taught McLaughlin to cope with both hard times and triumph.
“I use basketball every day,” she said. “Whether I’m having problems or it’s a good day, it’s just a part of my everyday life.”
After McLaughlin finishes her time at PCC, she wants to continue playing college basketball.
“I’m hoping to play somewhere else after this, I mean that’s the goal,” she said.
McLaughlin is still undecided about what career to pursue. She plans to continue her education and knows basketball will likely help pick up the tuition fee.
“Basketball will help me pay for my school, I hope, but besides that basketball has been what I’ve been looking forward to,” she said.
It also adds an extra touch of motivation in the classroom.
“I like school but basketball definitely motivates me to go to school and do well,” she said.
McLaughlin is the youngest of three half-siblings and says her supportive family has made her basketball experience even more memorable.
“My parents always try to make every game, and they always tell my friends to show up,” she said.
“I couldn’t do it without the support of my parents and my former high school coach.”
By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community college men’s basketball team is hoping this is the year they return to winning ways. They opened the season with two close wins against non-conference teams.
The Aztecs had a 13-17 season record last year, and have gone 13 years without a winning record. The team has made one NJCAA championship, finishing seventh in 2010.
It also endured a string of head coaches before Brian Peabody returned last year to take the helm.
Peabody was originally hired as head coach 10 years ago, but was let go. At the high school level, he coached basketball at Salpointe Catholic and Ironwood Ridge. He has 443 wins and six state final appearances in his 25-year coaching career, the most of any Tucson coach.
He said last year that he can build a winning team, though he warned it could take a few seasons.
“I would love to play as up-tempo as we possibly can,” he said. “I need to be realistic, though.”
The Aztecs must replace Shakir Smith, who averaged 29.1 points per game last season. He is now playing at Division II Adams State in Alamosa, Colo.
Pima will expect returning sophomores to fill a leadership role, including center Ben Greshman forward Matt O’Boyle and guard/forward Bryan Cervantes.
Last season Gershman averaged 19 points per game and registered 20 double-doubles.
This season, the Aztecs jumped out to an early 2-0 record in pre-conference play. They won both games by a combined three points, and trailed at halftime each time.
Pima showed resilience and determination on Nov. 3 with an 82-81 win against Planet Athlete.
The Aztecs faced deficits of up to 14 points and were behind 37-44 at halftime. They got back on track with an 8-0 run in the second half.
After a few lead changes, Pima took the lead for good with a basket by freshman DeVaunte Paschal. Sophomore Andres Marquez hit two critical free throws to make it 82-78 with 29.3 seconds left. Planet Athlete hit a three-pointer with 21 seconds left.
Gershman and Cervantes both started this season with a double-double. Gershman scored 20 points and secured 11 rebounds, while Cervantes finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
O’Boyle scored a team-high 22 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Paschal finished with 13 points and Marquez contributed with 11 points.
On Nov. 8, the Aztecs again used a last-second put back to defeat West Wind Prep Academy 91-89.
Cervantes grabbed an offensive rebound off a Gershman miss, and scored the put-back. Cervantes also tipped the following inbounds play as the clock expired.
The Aztecs trailed for much of the first half and were down 42-37 at halftime.
Gershman was 1-for-8 with six points in the first half but scored 10 points in the first six minutes of the second half. He finished the game with 25 points.
O’Boyle scored 25 points, going 8-for-15 from the field and 6-for-10 from three-point range. Freshman Dorian Paige contributed 11 points, five assists and four rebounds off the bench.
Pima was scheduled to play Arizona Christian University at the West Campus on Nov. 12. The game took place after Aztec Press went to the printer.
The Aztecs open conference play Nov. 19 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler. Their first home conference game will be Nov. 22 against Phoenix College.
Nov. 15: Phase 1 Academy,West Campus gym, 2 p.m.
Nov. 19: @ Chandler-Gilbert CC, Chandler, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 22: Phoenix College, West Campus gym, 5 p.m.
Nov. 25: @ Tohono O’Odham CC, Sells, 7:30 p.m.
By BETO HOYOS
Last season, the Pima Community College women’s basketball team was a well-oiled machine and a tough matchup for many conference opponents.
The Aztecs made it to the Division II Region I championship game as the No. 2 seed, but lost to No. 1 Mesa Community College for the third straight year.
This season, they’ve revamped their roster and brought in 10 freshmen.
“We’re really inexperienced but with that being said, we have a lot of very talented freshmen,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “I’m really excited to see what happens.”
Holthaus is proud of the hard work his team has exhibited early in the preseason and believes the diligence will pay off.
“They’re a hard working group, extremely hard working group, I love it,” he said.
Becoming comfortable with new teammates and developing good team chemistry can take a while to develop but with the regular season quickly approaching, the Aztecs must develop chemistry on the fly.
“We’re working on our chemistry but this has been one of the lowest maintenance teams I’ve ever had,” Holthaus said.
Returning sophomore Melody McLaughlin is confident in her team and optimistic about the freshmen.
“Our defense is going to win us games and overall we communicate well,” she said.
“Being able to talk on and off the floor keeps up our chemistry and that’s just something we have to keep working on, because we’re girls,” McLaughlin added jokingly.
Newcomers to the PCC basketball program have enjoyed getting to know their new teammates and are excited to join a team with winning traditions.
“I love Pima and I love all these girls,” freshman Ashley Mack said. “Even though sometimes we get on each other’s nerve, I still love them.”
Mack expects the Aztecs to continue their high-octane offense.
“We’re big and we’re really fast,” Mack said. “We also all play pretty smart and we all get along on the court.”
Holthaus expects returning sophomores McLaughlin, Adrianna Barrientez, Jayla Brown and Alexa Arndt to lead on and off the court.
“Our leaders are probably Mel, Adri and Jayla, so we’re really inexperienced,” he said.
Oct. 30: Tucson Sol scrimmage, West Campus, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6-7: @ Arizona Western Classic, Yuma, TBA.
Nov. 19: @ Chandler-Gilbert CC, Chandler, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 22: Phoenix College, West Campus, 2 p.m.