By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
The power to overcome and defy odds. The power to push yourself past limits to a place you never imagined. The power you get from the fire within you.
Sophomore guard Denesia Smith has hardened her will through life experiences, but she doesn’t let them hold back her smile.
“Everyone has their own battles and struggles, so I’m not going to sit here and carp on mine, because there’s someone else who is in a worse condition than me,” she said.
Smith fell on her hip before the current season. She now has misaligned hips, which causes back, hip and lower leg pain during her normal day. On the pain scale, she rates hers at a constant five or six out of 10.
“It was a small little pop and I couldn’t walk,” she said. “Since then, my left side has been locking up, and it’s ‘out aligned.’”
Smith spent her childhood in Houston living in a house with more than 10 residents.
“We all grew up more or less raised as brothers and sisters,” she said. “If one of us didn’t have food, clothing or a drink, then nobody else did. That was just kind of how we were brought up.”
There were days they went without food and it seemed normal to do so, Smith said.
“That was just the way life was,” Smith said. “It wasn’t until later that I realized, ‘hey, we kind of had it rough.’”
During her middle-school years, Smith’s family moved to Arizona after her mother got a new job in Sierra Vista.
Smith attended Buena High School and played on the varsity basketball team during her freshman to junior years. She averaged 10.4 points throughout her time with the Colts.
She spent her senior year at Cienega High School in Vail, where she totaled 258 points in her last high school season and shot a 47 percent field goal average.
The Bobcats made it to the state championship but lost to Senton Catholic High School.
The showdown will forever live in Smith’s mind as the game they should’ve won. A Senton player who now plays alongside Smith at Pima made the winning layup.
“BS call,” Smith said. “It was the last three seconds. The girl on my team right now, Reazsha Benjamin, gets a steal and goes down court on a fast break. The buzzer sounds when she goes up and gets the ball in the hoop.”
Smith says she has footage to prove the game was over before the layup. Benjamin isn’t sure whether her shot beat the buzzer.
“It was hard to tell,” Benjamin said. “I don’t think I did, but because the crowd was so loud and the refs were distracted by everyone, I think it was so hard to say they just counted it.”
Smith is now a court leader for the No. 1 ranked Aztecs.
“Nesi is one of the best athletes I’ve coached here at Pima,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “She’s does whatever she needs to do so she can be out on the court with her team.”
When she first joined the Pima team, Smith was forced to redshirt due to knee and meniscus problems.
In the year after redshirting, she averaged 37 percent shooting field goals and 63 percent on the free throw line.
With her bad hip this season, Smith currently averages 33 percent shooting three pointers and 45 percent shooting field goals.
Smith goes to a trainer daily to get her hip popped back into place, and to use techniques that PCC athletic trainer Chris Murphy shows her to relieve pain.
“He’s gotta pop my hip back into place and get them re-aligned,” Smith said. “Murph gets it to where the pain is tolerable.”
However well she does in basketball, Smith hopes to find a career in something related to helping others.
“I just want to give and help people, you know,” she said. “In whatever form that may be ― counseling, psychiatry, being a teacher.”
Smith is attracted to the idea of working with children in fourth grade, because she sees how her little sister’s mind is growing.
“She’s still innocent and pure but I see the way she’s starting to learn and put things together,” Smith said. “I just love that whole process.”
She shows the same passion for life.
“You just gotta do what you gotta do and tough it out, you know?” Smith said. “It won’t be here forever. Take it day by day, and it’ll be OK.”
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team faced quality competition in preconference games that offered opportunities for the Aztecs to test themselves before conference play began Nov. 22.
The first conference game, against Tohono O’Odham Community College, took place after Aztec Press went to the printer.
Nov. 9: PCC 133, Arizona Christian JV 87
The Aztecs got off to a hot start in a 133-87 home win against Arizona Christian University’s JV team.
Pima opened with a 20-4 run and took a 65-45 lead into the halftime break. Another 17-0 run at the end of the third quarter put the game away.
Sophomores led the way, with Damon Dubots scoring 27 points and seven rebounds. Emilio Acedo knocked down four 3-pointers on his way to a 21-point, seven-rebound game and Jacob Anastasi recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Nov. 13: PCC 92, Utah State-Eastern 90
Pima faced its first true test of the season and came away with a 92-90 victory over Utah State University-Eastern.
The Aztecs and Eagles battled to a 46-46 halftime tie. Pima took a double-digit lead in the third quarter but surrendered a big run in the fourth to keep the game tight until the end.
Defense won the day as the Aztecs hit a pair of key three pointers and made key stops to obtain the victory.
Acedo led the way with 24 points, shooting 6 for 12 from the three-point line.
Nov. 17: PCC 86, New Mexico JC 99
PCC suffered its first loss of the season in a 99-86 contest against Division I New Mexico JC on the first day of the Native American Classic.
The Aztecs kept it close in the first half, going into the break down three points.
Sophomore Deion James gave Pima the lead on a technical foul free throw with 18 minutes left. New Mexico then went on an 11-0 run to take a double digit lead and control of the game. The Aztecs cut into the lead slightly but were never able to complete a comeback.
James finished the game with a double-double, 25 points and 10 rebounds. Acedo had a solid game as well scoring 19 points.
Nov. 18: PCC 95, Salt Lake CC 102
The Aztecs showed heart in their 102-95 loss to last season’s NJCAA Division I national champion, Salt Lake Community College.
Pima fell behind 56-36 at halftime but went on a 19-4 run halfway through the second half to claw their way back into the game.
Acedo and Freshman Isaiah Murphy were key during the comeback run.
The Aztecs got as close as one point but were never able to overtake the lead. Murphy finished the game with 28 points.
Nov. 19: PCC 120, Pascua Yaqui 113
Pima won a shootout against Pascua Yaqui 120-113 on the final day of the Native American Classic.
The Aztecs took a 59-47 lead into the halftime break. They would lead by as much as 21 points but allowed a late barrage from Pascua Yaqui that cut into the lead.
Sophomore Dakota Kordsiemon led the team with 26 points. Freshman Ilunga Moise had a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Freshman Alize Travis contributed 24 points, and sophomore Zach Evans finished with 21 points as well.
“All of our players weren’t even able to play tonight.” Evans said after the game. “If we all play and play together, I believe that we are good enough to make nationals.”
Nov. 30: at Chandler-Gilbert CC, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3: Glendale CC, West Campus gym, 4 p.m.
Dec. 7: Eastern Arizona College, West Campus gym, 7:30 p.m.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
The No. 1 Pima Community College women’s basketball team started the season 6-1. The Aztecs played in two pre-conference tournaments: the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbird Classic in Hobbs, New Mexico, and the Native American Classic at PCC. They opened conference play Nov. 22 with a win.
Head coach Todd Holthaus earned his 200th Pima win on Nov. 17.
“I’ve been privileged to coach people and alongside those I hold dear,” Holthaus said in a press release. “I’m very fortunate to do what I do.”
The Aztecs also avenged last season’s national semifinal loss to Illinois Central College in a rematch on Nov. 19.
Nov. 3: PCC 71, Western Texas College 64
The Aztecs’ first ‘W’ came at the Thunderbird Classic against a Division I team, Western Texas. Pima held the lead from the first minutes of the game.
Pima shot 43 percent from the field. Sophomore Bree Cates led the team with 13 points.
Nov. 4: PCC 54, New Mexico JC 79
Pima lost to the host school on the second day of the Classic. The Aztecs never held a lead and shot 6-for-28 from three-point range.
Sophomore Sydni Stallworth led the team with 12 points. She also had two rebounds and two assists.
Nov. 5: PCC 62, Howard College 56
PCC closed out the Thunderbird Classic with a win against Division I Howard College from Texas.
The Aztecs were behind by three points to begin the third quarter but went on a 13-0 run to turn their deficit into a double-digit lead.
Nov. 17: PCC 80, Gillette College 52
The first game in the Native American Classic saw Holthaus get his 200th Pima win. The Aztecs never let up pressure and finished the game with 18 offensive rebounds.
Sophomore Denesia Smith led the team with 15 points. Freshmen Izzy Spruit and Alliyah Bryant had three 3-pointers apiece. Spruit also had five steals.
Nov. 18: PCC 90, Elite 1 Academy 36
The Aztecs dominated, holding Elite 1 Academy to single-digit points in the second and third quarters.
Spruit hit five 3-pointers and finished the game with 17 points. Fellow freshman Reazsha Benjamin had 10 points. Stallworth finished with 16 points, five assists and four steals.
Nov. 19: PCC 96, Illinois Central College 73
After a tight first half, Pima outscored the No. 11 Cougars 34-16 in the third quarter and went on to win 96-73.
Pima lost 77-74 to Illinois Central in the NJCAA Division II tournament last March.
Cates finished with a game-high 26 points. She also had five rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore Erin Peterson had 16 points and four rebounds, while Stallworth contributed 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Smith had eight points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals, and fellow sophomore Moana Hala-ufia scored 14 points.
“This win was for last year’s graduates,” Holthaus told the team after the game.
Nov. 22: PCC 88, Tohono O’odham CC 51
After leaving the Native American Classic unscathed, the Aztecs defended their home court against Tohono O’odham Community College. PCC took control of the game early and never let up pressure.
Stallworth led the team with 19 points, and shot for 57 percent from the 3-point line. Spruit had 13 points, three steals and two assists in the game.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team opened the season with two decisive non-conference victories, a 127-68 win over Vegas Impact and a 138-63 win over Three Kings Prep Academy from Windsor Ontario, Canada.
Pima was scheduled to play Arizona Christian Academy Nov. 9. The game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.
The Aztecs were in control for the entire Nov. 6 game against Vegas Impact. They started the game on a 23-0 run and took a 64-25 lead into the halftime break. The second half was more of the same, behind 52 points from the bench unit.
Six Aztecs scored double points. Sophomore Dakota Kordsiemon notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Deion James lead the team in scoring with 23 points. Freshman Ilunga Moise was a factor off of the bench, with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Aztecs also controlled the game against Three Kings Prep Academy, posting a 83-26 lead at the half.
Freshman Isaiah Murphy led the way with 22 points, shooting 10-of-13 from the field. Three other players had 17 points each.
Pima continues home play with games scheduled Nov. 13-22 at the West Campus gym.
The Aztecs return six players from last season’s team, including one redshirt.
Sophomore guard Keven Biggs returns to the team looking to embrace a new leadership role. Biggs averaged 10.1 points and 1.7 assists per game in a 2015 season that saw the Aztecs make their third consecutive appearance in the Region I, Division II playoffs.
He will look to improve upon those numbers and lead the backcourt unit this season along with fellow sophomore Zach Evans.
Also look for sophomore big man Justice Bessard to evolve into a team leader. Bessard stands 6 feet, 6 inches tall and averaged 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 2015.
Head coach Brian Peabody will lead the team in his fourth season at Pima.
Peabody had more wins at the high school level (443) than any coach in Tucson history, and has worked each season to rebuild PCC’s program.
PCC had a 12-10 conference record in 2015, its best mark in 15 years. The Aztecs have not won an ACCAC championship since 1980.
Cochise College and Phoenix College tied for the best conference record last season at 16-6.
“It is all about execution this season,” assistant coach Joe Hickle said.
By STEVEN FOWLER
Pima Community College men’s basketball sophomore guard Yusuf Shehata has signed a national letter of intent to
continue his collegiate career at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Calif.
Shehata anchored Pima’s offense to a 17-14 overall record this season, its best ACCAC conference record since 2000-01.
The Aztecs made their third straight Region I, Division II tournament appearance.
He was named third team All-ACCAC and second team All-Region I, Division II after starting in all 31 games. He
averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while averaging 83.3 percent from the free throw line and
42.2 percent from the three-point range.
By Jason Weir
A season of honors for Pima Community College women’s basketball freshman point guard Sydni Stallworth continued
April 5 when she was selected first-team All-American.“It feels great to receive the award as a freshman,” Stallworth
said. “I want to thank my entire coaching staff and my teammates.”
Stallworth, the sixth PCC women’s basketball player to ever receive the honor, started all 36 games for the Aztecs on
their way to a record-tying 28-8 overall record. She was named ACCAC Player of the Week four times and NJCAA
Player of the Week once.
After helping lead the Aztecs to a third-place finish in the NJCAA Division II Tournament in March, she and teammate
sophomore Taylor Blue were named to the All-Tournament team.
“I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today if it weren’t for my team pushing me,” Stallworth said.
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.
By JASON WEIR
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (22-7, 16-5 in ACCAC) finished the regular season schedule and is ready for the Division II Playoffs.
The Aztecs went 1-2 since their Feb. 10 match up, losing the first two games.
The Aztecs rebounded from those losses with an impressive win against South Mountain Community College in their home finale.
Freshman Sydni Stallworth continued her impressive freshman campaign, leading the Aztecs in scoring in all three games.
Both freshman Denesia Smith and sophomore Gabby Banales put their injuries behind them as they each scored in double figures in the game against the Cougars.
The Aztecs hope to be at full strength for the regional playoffs starting March 1.
The Feb. 23 game at Scottsdale Community College took place after the Aztec Press went to print.
Pima honored its six sophomores, Shalise Fernander, Taylor Blue, Hayley Pryor, Samirah Miller, Kristin Baldwin and Banales, as they played their final regular-season home game on Feb. 20.
The Aztecs dominated the winless Cougars from start to finish.
After winning the first quarter 28-2, Pima finished the first half with a 40-13 lead.
Pima continued to play hard in the second half on their way to the 93-34 victory.
The win completed the Aztec’s season sweep over the Cougars.
Pima’s bench even extended playing time with the large lead and scored 48 points on their own.
Freshman Bailey Johnson led the bench in scoring with 11 points to make her one of four Aztecs to score in double digits in the game.
Stallworth continued to be the Aztecs leading scorer with 17 points to go with five steals.
Pima lost back-to-back games for the first time this season on Feb. 17 losing to Central Arizona College 88-76.
The Vaqueras came into the game riding an 11-game win streak.
After a close first half, the Vaqueras showed why they were meant to win their 12th game in a row when they had an 18-2 run early in the third quarter and outscored the Aztecs 29-12 in the quarter.
This loss came a month after the Aztecs won at Central Arizona for the first time since 1982.
Stallworth led the team with 21 points to go with four steals.
Both Fernander and Smith scored in double figures. Fernander grabbed 12 rebounds on her way to a double-double.
The No. 6 Aztecs lost a close game at Arizona Western College on Feb. 13.
The two teams battled back and forth all night.
After falling behind in the third period, the Aztecs went on an 11-0 run and took a 50-44 lead.
Stallworth and Banales each hit a three pointer during the run.
Pima held a five point lead with 2:10 left to play.
The Matadors held Pima scoreless the remainder of the game outscoring them 9-0 as they won 67-63.
Stallworth was the leading scorer for Pima with 19 points to go along with her 13 rebounds. Both Stallworth and Blue had double-doubles. Blue with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
March 1: at Region I, Division II Playoffs (semifinals), TBA
March 3: at Region I, Division II Playoffs finals), TBA
By STEVEN FOWLER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (14-11, 9-8 in ACCAC) fell on the road at Cochise College 87-69 in Douglas on Feb. 6.
Down by two at 34-32 at halftime, the Aztecs were out-scored in the second half 53-37.
Sophomore Justice Martion led the Aztecs in scoring by contributing 22 points and had nine rebounds. Freshman Damon Dubots had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Aztecs split the regular season series with the Apaches. Pima won the previous game 88-87 at the West Campus on Dec. 9.
On Feb. 3, PCC won a close 81-78 game against the Division I Eastern Arizona College at the West Campus
Down 76-75 with 2:03 remaining in the game, sophomore Yusef Shehata scored and later stole the ball under Eastern Arizona’s possession. Shehata soon found Freshman Kwintin Williams mid-court. Williams landed the basket by a one-handed dunk to put the Aztecs ahead 79-76. With the clock stopping at 1:17, the Gila Monsters called a timeout.
With less than a minute remaining, the Aztecs’ lead was trimmed to one. Following a missed shot by Shehata, the Gila Monsters were unable to capitalize after a defensive rebound by Williams. After Shehata was fouled, he made two free throws at the 10. 8 mark. Eastern Arizona attempted a three-point shot but with a defensive rebound again by Williams, the game was over.
In the second half, Pima’s biggest lead was six when it was 60-54. On a few occasions, Eastern Arizona took one-point leads. The Aztecs’ defense, however, stopped any momentum by the Gila Monsters.
Williams led the team with 25 points, eight rebounds while Martion finished with 20 points – eight straight to keep the Aztecs ahead in the second half. Shehata finished with 19 points.
In the Jan. 30 game, the Aztecs were unable to find the strides it needed in the second half against Glendale Community College
The Aztecs were unable to get things going after trailing most of the game and lost 83-75. After falling behind early in the game, Glendale went on a 12-1 run to open the game. Freshman Dakotah Kordsiemon scored Pima’s first field goal at the 11:06 mark. Later in the first half, the Aztecs went on a 10-0 run to tie the Gauchos at 18 and again at 20. The Gauchos went on a 6-0 run to take a slight lead. The Aztecs went into halftime trailing 35-30.
In the second half, the Aztecs trailed 46-41 but the Gauchos hit two consecutive three-pointers to take a double-digit lead at 52-41. Sophomore Cameron Volk made a successful shot and Shehata made a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 58-52 with 11:28 remaining – that’s how close the Aztecs would make it.
Williams scored a team-high 24 points along with 10 rebounds and two blocks. Kordsiemon came off the bench scoring 17 points and went 5-for-7 from the field. Martion finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
On Jan. 27, Pima Community College men’s basketball played in an exciting came that came down to the final seconds against Tohono O’odham Community College.
Shehata scored the game-winning shot with 0.2 seconds remaining as the Aztecs defeated Tohono O’odham 69-67 in Sells, AZ. The Aztecs swept the regular season series after defeating the Jegos 94-90 on Dec. 14 at the West Campus gym.
Martion finished with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds while Williams contributed 15 points.
To read about Pima’s Feb. 10 game at Mesa Community College, visit aztecpressonline.com.
Following Pima’s away game at Mesa, the Aztecs continue their road series at Arizona Western College on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10: @MesaCC,7:30p.m.
Feb. 13: @ Arizona Western College, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17 Central Arizona College, West Campus,
Feb. 20: South Mountain CC, West Campus, 4 p.m.
Feb. 23: @ Scottsdale CC,
By STEVEN FOWLER
Since Dec. 9, the Pima Community College men’s basketball team (12-9, 7-6 in ACCAC) have compiled an 8-5 record including a 91-85 upset over No. 16 Arizona Western College on Jan. 6 since our last publication.
The Aztecs upset No. 18 Phoenix College on the road on Jan. 23.
Pima held a double-digit lead for the majority of the game beating Phoenix College 94-86.
In the first half, the Aztecs went on an eye-popping 22-3 stretch in roughly five minutes to take a 36-13 lead. Sophomores Yusef Shehata and Cameron Volk contributed with a combines nine 3-pointers in the half.
The Aztecs led 55-32 early in the second half but the Bears went on a 16-3 stretch to trim the deficit to eight. Pima responded with an inside shot from sophomore Justice Martion and a three-pointer by freshman Kwintin Williams to make it 63-50.
As Pima held a 67-56 lead with 10:28 left, they went on a 16-5 run to take a comfortable 83-61 with a little over five minutes remaining. Despite a 12-3 run by Phoenix College, the Aztecs made several free-throw shots to seal the victory.
Williams finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Shehata made 19 of his 24 points in the first half including six 3-pointers. Volk contributed with 15 points and seven rebounds while Martion scored 13 points and seven rebounds.
On Jan. 20, PCC lost on the road to Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
After trailing 31-25 at halftime, the Aztecs were outscored by 10 and fell 78-62.
Pima split the regular season series with the Coyotes. The Aztecs won 86-76 on Nov. 18 at the West Campus Gym.
PCC won a high-scoring game on Jan. 16 against Scottsdale Community College.
“I thought we were a better team personnel-wise, I just couldn’t get our guys to find the defensive end,” said men’s basketball head coach Brian Peabody.
The Aztecs reached triple digits for just the fourth time this season in their 104-94 win-their fifth win in their last six games.
Leading by as much as 10 points in the first half, the Aztecs held on to a 50-45 lead at the half.
Up 77-76 with roughly eight minutes remaining in the game, the Aztecs went on an 8-0 run that was capped off by a three-pointer by Shehata to make it 85-76 with 7:09 left in the game. The Artichokes cut the deficit with 2:08 remaining until Shehata and freshman Keven Biggs each made two free throws to give the Aztecs a double-digit lead.
“I thought we did a little bit better of a job in the second half on the defensive side but not much better,” Peabody said. “It’s just trying to get guys to put some effort into it on the defensive side.”
Shehata finished with a team-high 27 points including making seven 3-pointers. Martion scored 25 points including six rebounds and two blocks.
Williams made 17 points, six rebounds and two assists while Biggs had a double-double of thirteen points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Dakota Kordsiemon came off the bench and scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
PCC earned the win in a tight game against South Mountain Community College on Jan. 13 in Phoenix.
The Aztecs held on to beat South Mountain 81-79 after the Cougars fell short in their failed attempt with five seconds remaining.
Pima led 36-33 at halftime and eventually took a 73-69 lead with four minutes remaining.
Williams led the Aztecs with 27 points and 19 rebounds while Shehata contributed with 19 points, four assists and six rebounds.
“In our league, everybody can beat everybody. There is nobody that stands out,” Peabody said.
By JASON WEIR
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (17-4, 11-2 in ACCAC) went on an 11 game win streak since our last publication. The Aztecs Jan. 23 loss and Dec. 5 loss at Eastern Arizona College surrounded an impressive 11 game win streak.
The Aztecs don’t have another regular season game against Phoenix College but will get their chance to avenge the loss against Eastern Arizona College when they host the Gila Monsters on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. at the West Campus Gym.
Pima had a difficult time finding points to start the game against the Bears. The Aztecs managed only 6 points in the first quarter. The slow start led to a 37-23 deficit at the half. The Aztecs were unable get the lead down to single digits in the second half as they lossed 69-50.
Pima sophomore Shalise Fernander had a double-double with 14 in each points and rebounds.
The Jan. 27 game against Tohono O’odham Community College in Sells took place after the Aztec Press went to press.
The Aztecs won their 11th game in a row on Jan. 20 when they defeated Chandler-Gilbert Community College 83-67. The Aztecs showed no signs of tiring on the road as the outscored the Coyotes by 13 in the 4th quarter. Freshman Sydni Stallworth was the high scorer in the game with 31
This is nothing new for Stallworth as she was ACCAC Division II Player of the Week the day before. This is the third time Stallworth has received this award.
On Jan. 16 the Aztecs hosted Scottsdale Community College. The Aztecs remained unbeaten at home going this season beating the Artichokes 77-55. The Aztecs scored the first eight points in the second half and with five minutes into the second half they were up 52-27.
Stallworth led the team with 25 points with 11 of those coming from the free throw line where she was 11-12. Sophomore Taylor Blue also scored in double figures with 11 points along with five rebounds and two steals.
The Aztecs won nine straight over the break from Dec. 9 to Jan.13 following a loss to the Gila Monsters. They won those games by an average of just over 20 points a game. The Cochise College Apaches took the Aztecs to overtime before falling to Pima 72-66 on Dec. 9.
The Aztecs will play thier next game against Glendale on Jan. 30.
by DEANNA SHERMAN
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (4-1, 2-0 in ACCAC) took down the defending region champs at West Campus on Nov. 22.
In a 61-46 victory over Phoenix College, the Aztecs avenged their nail-biting 53-55 loss from last years Region I, Division II semifinals.
It seemed as though the game might be another close one with a little more than five minutes left in the game Pima was only up 48-40. Exceeding under pressure, the Aztecs went on a 13-6 run to finish the game strong.
Freshman Denesia Smith finished with a game high 17 points followed by sophomore Gabby Banales with 14. Fellow sophomore had an impressive 10 rebounds on the night helping Pima control the boards.
“Great win today against the defending region champs. We played solid defense and crashed the offensive boards,” Pima coach Todd Holthaus said.
Pima opened their regular season conference play Nov. 18 at home with a victory over Chandler-Gilbert Community College 77-70.
It was a tight first half as both teams battled basket-for-basket, ending the first half with the Aztecs in the lead 39-36. But it wasn’t until the third quarter that Pima began to keep a strong, consistent lead, putting Chandler-Gilbert in an 11-point deficit 26-15.
Blue had the game high score of 23 points and eight rebounds. Smith and fellow freshman Sydni Stallworth scored double digits as well; Smith with 16 points and six steals while Stallworth had 13 points and two assists.
The Pima Aztecs opened their season playing the Arizona Western Classic tournament in Yuma.
Stallworth came out of the tournament with a total 40 points, 16 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals in the three games.
In the final game of the tournament Pima took down Brookdale Community College (NJ) in a 94-38 blowout to end the long weekend on Nov. 14.
Banales had 11 points and four rebounds on the game while Stallworth had an impressive 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Aztecs had a tough match-up against top 10, Division I school, New Mexico Junior College on Nov. 13.
Despite Stallworth’s game-high 19 points, six rebounds and two assists, Pima lost 55-39 with a disappointing 24 percent shooting from the field.
Fortunately that would be Pima’s only loss and toughest match of the season so far.
In the opening game of the tournament the Aztecs had the opposite effect on the court, destroying Cetys University (Mexico) 86-29, Nov. 12.
Four Pima Aztecs scored double figures and outrebounded Cetys 41-27. Blue led PCC in scoring with 22 points, followed by sophomore Shalise Fernander with 15 points and seven rebounds. Banales had 10 points on the board as well as freshman Aubre Fortner.
Stallworth was named ACCAC Division II Player of the Week for the week after leading the Aztecs to a 2-1 record in the Arizona Western Classic in Yuma. She totaled 40 points, 16 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals.
The Aztecs travel to Thatcher Nov. 27-28 where they will participate in the Thanksgiving Classic.
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.”