By BETO HOYOS
The season came to a close for the Pima Community College women’s basketball team on March 6 after the Aztecs fell to Mesa Community College for the third straight year. Pima lost 65-64.
Both teams got after it from the opening tip and both teams exchanged leads. The Aztecs led by 10 late in the first half but Mesa ended the half on a 7-0 run. Pima took a two-point lead into the half.
For much of the second half, the Aztecs held a single-digit lead. Mesa’s first lead of the half came with a little over five minutes left in the game.
With 1:22 left, sophomore Holly Bolen drained a three-pointer to give the Aztecs a one-point lead. Mesa tied it up with a free throw before sophomore Felicia Foster drained a three-pointer of her own to put Pima up 62-59 with less than a minute to go.
After hitting a pair of free throws and scoring on an inbounds play to the post, Mesa took the lead for good.
Sophomore Alicia Jones led the team in scoring with 17 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds
Sophomore Raja Moreno-Ross finished her final game as an Aztec with 12 points and nine rebounds. Foster finished the game with 12 points.
On March 4, the Aztecs advanced to the championship game after defeating No. 3 Chandler-Gilbert Community College 79-65.
“This time of year you survive and advance,” head coach Todd Holthaus said.
Both teams came out focused and exchanged leads in the first half. The game was tied 34-34 going into halftime.
“Coach said at halftime that we can’t take anything for granted and to do everything we have to for the win,” sophomore Rachel Williams said.
Williams finished with 12 points off the bench.
“It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t the way we wanted to play but we came out in the second half and got it done,” Holthaus said.
The Aztecs started the second half with an 11-4 run. Freshman Melody McLaughlin scored seven straight points and helped put the Aztecs up 50-41 midway through the half.
Freshman Jayla Brown drained a three-pointer to give Pima its first double-digit lead at 53-43. The biggest lead of the game came off a McLaughlin bucket that put the Aztecs up 76-58.
McLaughlin scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and also grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.
Moreno-Ross had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Jones finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
When Brian Peabody took the head coaching job for the men’s basketball team at Pima Community College, he knew he needed to change the team’s culture.
The Aztecs had gone 77-196 since 2004, with four head coaching changes and one playoff appearance.
That all changed during Peabody’s first year. He led the Aztecs to a 15-16 record. His team went 10-12 in conference play and secured the No. 4 seed in the Region I, Division II playoffs.
The Aztecs’ season ended when they lost an overtime thriller in the opening round of the playoffs, falling to No. 1 seed Phoenix College 108-104.
Sophomore Shakir Smith finished with 54 points and sophomore Tyler D’Amore hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime. However, Phoenix College hit two three-pointers in overtime to win the game.
Freshman Ben Gershman had his 20th double-double of the season, with 14 points and 18 rebounds.
“I think we accomplished everything we set out to do this season with the exception of making the national tournament,” Peabody said.
Talented players including Smith, Gershman and freshmen Matt O’Boyle and Andres Marquez helped Peabody meet those goals.
Smith and Gershman earned All-Conference honors.
Pima will have most of its roster intact next season, losing only Smith and D’Amore. The rest of the team is expected to return.
Peabody said he wants to add more size to the roster, to compete with bigger teams in the conference. He also wants his team to work on strength training.
“We need to get into the weight room and just get stronger,” Peabody said. “There were a lot of games where teams just flat-out punked us because of our strength, and that can’t happen.”
Now that he has had time to look back on his first season, Peabody feels the Aztecs overachieved.
Peabody has set high standards for himself and his teams everywhere he has coached, and has met them every time. He vows to eventually take Pima to the national tournament.
“We’ll get there one year,” he said. “I’m not going to make any promises, but I’m not gonna stop till we make the national tournament.”
By SHAQ DAVIS
March Madness has certainly started.
It will reach pitch fever on March16 during Selection Sunday, when seeds in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament are revealed.
Once games begin on March 18, it is win or go home for the 68 teams competing.
For the first few days, there will seem to be no end to tournament games broadcast on the CBS and Turner television networks.
Mid-major Cinderellas will rise and juggernauts will fall in arenas across the nation. From New York to San Diego, teams will leave it all on the floor, hoping to advance to the championship game in Arlington, Texas, on April 7.
March Madness brings back memorable moments for many fans. Memories such as:
- Magic beating Bird in the 1979 national championship, leading to a heated rivalry later in the NBA.
- The shot heard around the world in 2008, when Mario Chalmers hit a game-tying three that ultimately led Kansas to a championship over Memphis.
- Duke forward Christian Laettner drilling a desperation buzzer-beater that knocked out the Kentucky Wildcats in route to back-to-back championships in 1992.
- Head coach Jimmy Valvano and the N.C. State Wolfpack’s triumphant victory over the Houston Cougars as Lorenzo Charles dunked an airball before time expired in the title game of 1983.
A staple of tournament excitement can be summed up in one word: bracketology.
Filling out tournament brackets is a way to get involved monetarily, emotionally and physically as people root for their team to make it to the championship game.
Businessman Warren Buffet is offering $1 billion to anyone who gets a perfect bracket. The odds turn out to be 1-in-9.2 quintillion.
Filling out a bracket is worthwhile because you get to enjoy games and see how good your predictions are. Who knows, you might even take your buddies’ money from it.
One powerhouse looking to win will be the University of Arizona. The Wildcats enter the tournament with high expectations of getting a No. 1 seed.
Since 1979, 17 of 34 teams given a No. 1 seed won the NCAA tournament.
No. 1 tournament seeds have never lost in the first round. Will this be the year we see history happen?
In the end, the tournament comes down to one thing: winning. Any team can beat another, even if the odds are against them.
That’s the beauty of March Madness.
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 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 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 BETO HOYOS
Pima Community College’s women’s basketball team started 2014 with a flurry of games, and is currently sitting at .500 for their overall record (11-11) and in their conference (7-7).
A tough series of matchups have left the Aztecs looking to bounce back after a three-game losing streak.
On Jan. 25, the Aztecs lost a close game to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, falling 87-83. Sophomore Raja Moreno-Ross performed best for Pima, draining 30 points and snagging 15 boards for her ninth double-double of the season.
Pima suffered another heartbreaking loss on Jan. 22, when the Aztecs were a half-court shot away from tying the game at the buzzer against sixth-ranked Central Arizona. PCC lost the game 64-61.
With four minutes left in the game, Pima was leading 54-50, thanks in part to freshman Holly Bolen’s 15-point, 16-rebound performance coming off the bench, before a run by Central put the game out of reach.
On Jan. 18, Eastern Arizona College hosted the No. 15 Pima Community College Women’s basketball team. The Aztecs rallied late in the game but could not come away with the win, falling to the Gila Monsters 72-59.
Late in the second half, the Aztecs found themselves down 16 before going on 10-0 run to get back within striking distance. But that would be as close as the Aztecs would come.
Freshman Alicia Jones finished the game with 11 points and sophomore Shayna Porter-Banks added 10 points off the bench. Moreno-Ross contributed nine points and eight rebounds.
On Jan. 15, the women’s basketball team took on Glendale Community College at the West Campus, controlling much of the game on the way to victory.
The Aztecs were dialed in from three-point land, draining 11 three-pointers in the game.
Pima’s bench contributed big numbers, producing 32 points, including 11 from freshman Adrianna Barrientez.
Jones hit three free throws to give the Aztecs an 11-point lead late in the first half. At halftime, the Aztecs led by 16.
In the second half, the Aztecs came out firing on all cylinders and at one point led by 32 points. Pima defeated Glendale 96-75.
Sophomore Felicia Foster finished the game with 19 points, with 12 of those points coming in the first half. Moreno-Ross finished with 15 points, while freshman Melody McLaughlin finished with 13 points. Jones finished with 11 points, eight of those coming in the second half.
On Jan. 11, the Aztecs traveled to Yuma to take on Arizona Western College.
Pima had its hands full all game long. At halftime, the Aztecs found themselves down eight.
The Aztecs remained resilient and came back in the second half to slowly chip away at the deficit. There were 12 lead changes throughout the game as both teams fought hard late in the second half.
With six minutes to go, the Aztecs took their first lead of the half, going up 45-44. Then with four minutes left in regulation, the Aztecs found themselves up by three.
In the final moments of the second half, Jones drained a three point bomb to force overtime.
In extra time, Pima’s luck finally ran out. In the extra period, the Aztecs would score only one point, falling to Arizona Western College 60-55.
Moreno-Ross posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jones and Foster both finished the game with 11 points, while McLaughlin had seven points and eight rebounds.
Pima played Phoenix College at West Campus on Jan. 29, after Aztec Press went to the printer.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Pima Community College beat Tohono O’dham Community College 87-84 on Jan. 4, extending the Aztecs’ winning streak to six games and improving their record to 9-7 on the season.
The game had 23 different lead changes, but the Aztecs came away with the victory.
TOCC players were bigger at every position, but the Aztecs won thanks to leadership by the dynamic duo of freshman center Ben Gershman, and sophomore guard Shakir Smith.
No team seemed to ever have control of the game. When Pima made a run, Tohono would come back. Whenever Tohono made a run, Pima would do the same. The largest lead any team had was six points.
Coach Brian Peabody said after the game that he was thrilled with the way his team battled.
He said that this is how every conference game must be played if the Aztecs expect to keep winning.
Gershman led the way for the Aztecs once again, putting up another double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
“As a team, we had to fight tonight, that’s what every conference game is going to be like,” Gershman said.
“Murph had to work a lot harder than he usually does, a lot of thanks goes to him and his performance,” freshman Matt O’Boyle said, referring to Gershman, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds in the game to help his team emerge victorious.
As for Smith, the team hasn’t lost since he has joined the team in December. Watching from the sidelines early on in the season was extremely hard on him, but he has said he used it as a learning experience and will not take the game for granted again.
Smith lead the Aztecs in scoring with 27 points and also added seven assists. Freshman guard Andres Marquez finished with 13 points, going 11-14 from the free throw line.
“A year ago, we would’ve lost this game, but this Aztec team knows how to fight,” Peabody said.
The early success hasn’t changed the team’s focus on the big picture.
“Our goal is to go to the national tournament. That’s still our goal, we haven’t done anything yet,” Peabody said.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College’s men’s basketball team improved its record to 7-7 with a dominating 119-98 win over Midland College in the Pima Men’s Basketball Invitational on Dec. 30.
The Aztecs finished the tournament 3-0 and have already matched last season’s win total.
Pima was led to victory by the powerful duo of sophomore Shakir Smith and freshman Murphy Gershman.
Smith finished the game with 35 points and seven assists, while Gershman finished with 10 points.
Coach Brian Peabody’s team is finally starting to take form with the addition of Smith.
“I was very pleased where we are right now. With Shakir, we are a different team, and are much improved on the defensive end of the court,” Peabody said.
Peabody feels with hard work and continued improvement on the defensive side of the floor, the skies are the limit for this team.
PCC defeated the Soldierz club team 103-92 in the second day of the Invitational on Dec. 29.
For the second time in the tournament, Smith led the way in scoring with his 36 point performance. He also finished the game with seven assists.
Gershman continued to do what he has done all season by turning in another solid performance, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Matt O’Boyle also had a strong outing, scoring 18 points in the game.
PCC destroyed Westwind Prep Academy 117-81 on the first day of the tourney on Dec. 28.
Pima was led by Smith and Gershman, who finished the game with 26 points apiece.
Leading 26-21 in the first half, the Aztecs blew the game open with a 19-0 run during a six-minute span.
Freshman Bryan Cervantes finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds.
By Jaime Hernandez
Pima Community College women’s basketball team dominated Western Texas College 73-49 in the final day of the Bruce Fleck Classic tournament held Dec 16-18 at West Campus.
The Aztecs finished the tournament 2-1, improving their season record to 8-7.
Freshman Jayla Brown led the way for Pima, finishing with 17 points off the bench. Brown was a perfect 6-6 from the field, including five from beyond the arc.
Freshman Alicia Jones finished the tournament with another strong performance, racking up 15 points and eight rebounds against Western Texas.
The Aztecs began the tournament by defeating Gillette College 65-64 on the first day of the Classic.
The game was tied at 64 apiece going into the final seconds when sophomore Raja Moreno-Ross was fouled going up for a shot.
She missed the first free throw, but nailed her second foul shot to give the Aztecs a one-point lead and seal the victory.
The game was a game of runs. Gillette went on a run early in the second half to take a 41-35 lead in the second half. Then the Aztecs came storming back.
Ross finished the game with 12 points and 15 rebounds. The Aztecs were also led by freshman Alicia Jones, who finished with a game-high 21 points.
PCC woman’s basketball team fell to Quest Prep 77-76 in the second day of the tournament on Dec 17.
The Aztecs found themselves in a nail-biter for the second night in a row. This time, however, they were on the losing end after a tough battle.
It appeared as though Jones she had won the game for Pima when she hit the go-ahead shot with 10.8 seconds left in on the clock, but that wasn’t the case.
A Quest player hit a runner from the foul line as time expired to steal the game from the Aztecs. The game featured 18 lead changes and 17 ties before the final horn sounded.
Jones once again led the way for Pima with 16 points, while sophomore Felicia Foster chipped in with 12.
By BETO HOYOS
The No. 12 Pima Community College women’s basketball team traveled to Mesa on Dec. 7 riding a four-game winning streak.
The streak ended when they lost 83-82 in overtime to No. 9 Mesa Community College.
“Another instant classic in the Pima-Mesa rivalry,” head coach Todd Holthaus said.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since last’s year Region I, Division II finals, when Mesa eliminated the Aztecs. Mesa finished the playoffs as national runner-up.
The loss brought Pima’s record to 6-5 overall and 4-2 in conference.
Five Aztecs scored in double figures. Sophomore Felicia Foster led the way with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Sophomore Rachel Williams came off the bench to score 15 points. Freshman Julia Cooper finished with 13 points. Sophomore Raja Moreno-Ross had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Melody McLaughlin contributed 12 points.
Pima was scheduled to visit Central Arizona College in Coolidge on Dec. 11. The game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.
On Dec. 4, the Aztecs defeated South Mountain Community College 82-61.
The Aztecs worked hard in the first half to beat a tough pressure defense. After halftime, Pima outscored South Mountain 38-27.
Foster, named the NJCAA Division II National Player of the Week, provided 14 points and five assists.
“It feels great,” Foster said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates because they make shots for my assists to count, so I thank them for that.”
Freshman Alicia Jones and Moreno-Ross both finished with double-doubles. Jones had 17 points and 14 rebounds while Moreno-Ross notched 13 points and 10 rebounds.
On Nov. 26, Pima defeated Scottsdale Community College 88-64.
The Aztecs were led by two ACCAC Division II Players of the Week. Moreno-Ross was honored for her play Nov. 18-24, and Foster was awarded for Nov. 25-Dec. 1.
Four Aztecs scored in double digits. Moreno-Ross scored a team-high 21 points and McLaughlin had 14 points. Jones and sophomore Holly Bolen each contributed 11 points.
Foster finished with 12 assists to go along with eight steals and seven points.
The Aztecs will host the Bruce Fleck Classic Dec. 16-18 at West Campus.
Dec. 16: Gillette College, West Campus, 7 p.m.
Dec. 17: Quest Prep Las Vegas, West Campus, 7 p.m.
Dec. 18: Western Texas College, West Campus, 7 p.m.
By BETO HOYOS
Sophomore forward Raja Moreno-Ross led the Pima Community College women’s basketball team to an 89-69 victory over Phoenix College on Nov. 23.
Moreno-Ross scored a double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds.
“She was in beast mode,” teammate Holly Bolen said.
The Arizona Community College Athletic Conference named Moreno-Ross the Division II Player of the Week for Nov. 18-24.
In the Nov. 23 game, the No. 17 Aztecs grabbed an early lead and stayed in control despite a late Phoenix rally.
Freshman Alicia Jones finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Felicia Foster scored 16 points. Sophomore Rachel Williams contributed 10 points and four assists.
Head coach Todd Holthaus called the victory a great team win. “It was probably our best 40-minute effort to this point,” he said.
The win brought the Aztecs’ record to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in conference. They were scheduled to play Scottsdale Community College on Nov. 26, but the game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.
On Nov. 20, Pima won its first conference game, 86-72, at home against Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The Aztecs came out with intensity from the opening tip.
Freshman Melody McLaughlin finished with 15 points.
“Coach told us to talk on defense and know who we have,” McLaughlin said. “We just have to play together, that’s what it comes down to.”
Foster scored a team-high 16 points, and had four assists and three steals. Bolen finished with 15 points, and Moreno-Ross had seven points and 12 rebounds.
The Aztecs lost a close game 79-76 in their conference opener Nov. 13 against Eastern Arizona College.
Bolen, playing against her old team, finished with a team-high 21 points. She hit three 3-pointers, and scored 17 points in the second half.
Jones scored 12 points, while sophomore Foster and Moreno-Ross each finished with 11 points.
By JAIME HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team fell to Phoenix College 92-68 on Nov. 23.
After going into halftime tied at 33, Phoenix outscored Pima 59-35 in the second half.
The Aztecs were led by freshman Murphy Gershman’s 19 points and 12 rebounds. His double-double was his fourth of the season.
The loss brought Pima’s overall record to 2-5, with a 2-2 conference record. The Aztecs were scheduled to play Scottsdale Community College on Nov. 26, after the Aztec Press went to the printer.
PCC got its second conference win of the season on Nov. 20, defeating Chandler-Gilbert Community College 72-62.
Pima was led by Gershman, who finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Kendrick Little had 16 points and four assists.
“Coach told us to play with energy all night, so we did,” Little said.
Head coach Brian Peabody was not completely happy with the win, saying his players were often selfish in the second half. He said it will be hard to win games in the future if they continued to play that way.
On Nov. 16, PCC’s comeback attempt came up short against Central Arizona College. The final score was 86-81.
Little, who led the Aztecs with 23 points, scored in double figures for the fourth time in five games.
PCC got its first win of the season Nov. 13, defeating Eastern Arizona College 99-96.
The Aztecs jumped out to a quick lead but Eastern came roaring back to cut Pima’s lead to 55-51 at the half. Pima was outscored 45-44 in the second half, but still came away with the victory.
Peabody was pleased with his team’s performance and effort. He credited an early-season game against Odessa College with helping the Aztecs prepare for conference play.
“I think the trip to Odessa did us a world of good,” he said. “Having to play a top-five team in the country was good for us. The teams we are playing from here on out are nowhere near as talented.”
Peabody did express concern about the number of fouls his players committed.
“We need to concentrate on keeping the ball in front of us and not fouling our opponent, because I don’t know if we’re going to be able to keep scoring 96 a night,” Peabody said, laughing.
Gershman led the team with 19 points, 16 rebounds and five assists.
“We busted our tails off tonight,” Gershman said. “I’m so happy we finally got our first win.”
Little added 19 points, while freshman Brian Cervantes had 18 points and nine rebounds.
By SHAQ DAVIS
Basketball player Alicia Jones hit the ground running at age 7 and hasn’t looked back. She’s now ready to leave a mark in her first season with the Pima Community College women’s basketball team.
Jones graduated in 2012 from Tucson’s Palo Verde High School, where she averaged almost 19 points and seven rebounds per game. She was named the 2012 Southern Arizona Player of the Year.
She first signed to play college ball with a southeastern Division II school, but didn’t enjoy it.
Feeling homesick, she returned to Tucson and talked to PCC head coach Todd Holthaus. He offered her a spot on the team, and she officially signed on April 15.
Jones described the transition from being player of the year to playing with new teammates and adapting to college games.
“It’s been different,” she said. “In high school you’re the star, then starting from scratch in college.”
Last year, Jones redshirted. She practiced with the team but could not play in games. Sitting on the sidelines was tough, she said, but she learned the expectations of being a college athlete.
The women’s team opened the season Nov. 1 against Midland College, losing 83-75. Jones was the leading scorer with 14 points.
“I felt like we played pretty good as a team,” she said. “Also, we were able to see things to improve on.”
Her first college game brought jitters, especially after sitting out a year. Despite being the leading scorer, Jones rated her performance as merely OK.
“I missed a lot of shots I normally make,” she said.
Holthaus said he expects to see Jones get more comfortable as the season progresses.
“We are still working on her being more vocal,” he said.
Jones would rather lead by example, saying that laying it all on the court shows others she means business.
Most of Jones’ teammates are from Tucson and already knew each other, which helped them come together as a team.
“I love how hard the team works in class, on the court,” Jones said. “Everyone’s together on the same page.”
The coaching staff is as focused as the players, she added.
“We have a great coaching staff this year,” Jones said. “They all have the best interest of the team.”
As the women’s basketball team presses forward, players carry a championship or bust mentality. Jones believes the team has the work ethic and talent to make a deep run into the post-season.