By CASEY MUSE JR.
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Region I, Division II tournament.
PCC will host No. 3 seed Glendale Com munity College on March 8. During their final five games of the sea son, Pima won two games and lost three.
Feb. 15: PCC 110, Cochise 102
The Aztecs earned one of their best wins of the season at home against Cochise College. The game was back and forth to start until Pima took charge halfway through the first half. A 7-0 run gave the Aztecs their first double-digit lead of the game at 32-21 with just over eight minutes left in the half.
PCC strengthened its lead to as much as 14 before settling for a 50-39 halftime lead. Cochise did all it could to close the gap in the second half and came as close as a seven-point deficit but it was never enough.
Sophomore Emilio Acedo had another good game as he tied for the team high in scoring with 26 points. He shot 4-for-7 from the 3-point line. Freshman Isiah Murphy had one of his best games of the year as he also scored 26 points. He shot 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the process.
Sophomore Damon Dubots contributed 19 points and seven rebounds. Fellow sophomore Deion James secured his 15th double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The result meant a split in the season head to head with Cochise.
The Aztecs fell 96-83 to the Apaches in Douglas in January. The win also meant Pima had won seven of its last eight games.
Feb. 18: PCC 67, Phoenix College 72
The Aztecs fell in a close game on the road against Phoenix College. The No. 20 Aztecs and No. 11 Bears went back and forth for the entire game. The first half produced nine lead changes and seven ties as the teams went in to halftime tied at 32.
The Aztecs came out strong in the second half, using an 8-0 run with about 12 minutes left in the game to take a 52-46 advantage.
Pima couldn’t maintain, however, and Phoenix College reclaimed the lead with just over five minutes left.
The Aztecs managed to tie the game two more times but could never take back the lead.
Acedo led the way with 20 points. He shot 3-for-6 from the 3-point line. James earned his 16th double-double on the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dubots added 11 points.
Feb. 22: PCC 84, Central Arizona 79
Pima earned a close victory at home against Central Arizona College. The first half was closely contested and the teams entered halftime tied at 33-33. The Aztecs played a strong second half
but Central Arizona was able to keep things close.
Up two points with 27 seconds left, Acedo iced the game on a clutch 3-point shot. James scored a team-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. Acedo finished the game with 13 points
and seven rebounds.
Pima also earned 34 bench points. The win earned head coach Brian Peabody the most wins he has ever had in a season at Pima, with 19. The win also offered revenge for a 103-97 loss the Aztecs took from Central Arizona in January.
Feb. 25: PCC 93, Mesa 94
The Aztecs played such a close game on the road against Mesa that regulation just was not enough.
Pima had a hot start to the game and broke out to an early 23-16 lead. The lead grew to as many as nine points but Mesa came back to regain the lead by halftime. Pima entered the second half down 41-40.
Mesa was in control for most of the second half until a late Aztec run forced overtime. Mesa owned the overtime period and scored the game’s final five points to win it. James earned his 17th double-double of the season with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Three other players scored 17 points
Mesa earned its revenge as Pima defeated the Thunderbirds 115-78 at home in January.
Feb. 28: PCC 71, Arizona Western 98
It was a rough night for the Aztecs in their final home game of the season. Pima fell behind early to Division I opponent Arizona Western and could never chip their way back into it. James scored a team-high 15 points, while Acedo contributed 14 points.
All of the sophomores were honored during halftime.
By STEVE CHOICE
Brian Peabody is back for his second stint as the men’s basketball coach at Pima Community College, and he loves what he’s seeing.
“I couldn’t be happier about being here,” Peabody said. “It’s been night and day from the first time around. It seems like we’re so much further ahead in the game.
“Everybody’s very supportive and working toward the same goal. You can definitely feel the difference.”
Peabody, 50, coached the Aztecs in the 2003-04 season after having led local high school power Salpointe Catholic to a pair of state runner-up finishes in his 10 years there.
He led PCC to a 7-23 record before leaving to take a job as an assistant coach with Western Carolina University (N.C.), a Division I school.
The Catamounts faltered in Peabody’s time there. After a year, he returned to Tucson.
“I’m glad I did it,” Peabody said of his time in the Tar Heel State. “It was an adventure for my family and me. Beautiful part of the country.”
He then guided Ironwood Ridge High School’s program for six years, including a state championship in 2008 and a runner-up finish in 2009.
Now Peabody takes over for Gabriel Van Guse, whose teams went 4-25 and 6-24 during his two-year tenure, including an 18-game losing streak to finish out this past year.
Peabody has plenty of items on his to-do list, not the least of which is seeing which Aztecs will be coming back to play in a Pima uniform.
“I’ve met with all the current players, and I’m going to start working the guys out to see if it’s a good fit,” Peabody said. “We’re kind of feeling each other out at this point.
“They want to know more about me, and I want to know more about them. We’ll go from there.”
Freshman center Stephen Hadley is one player who’s already looking forward to the program’s new leadership.
“I’m excited he’s here,” he said. “I worked out with him yesterday, and it was really good. He knows what he’s doing, knows what he’s talking about.”
Peabody is also busy recruiting new faces into the program. His efforts got off to a good start on April 9, when he signed his top recruiting priority, 6-foot-4 forward Bryan Cervantes from Nogales.
“We’re very excited to have him in the program,” Peabody said.
Peabody said his teams will “get up and down the floor” if he has the right personnel to do it, and also stressed the importance of team play.
“We’re going to be really unselfish on both ends of the floor,” he said. “They’re going to have to help each other out defensively.”
More than anything, Peabody seeks to establish stability within the program.
“The most important thing to me is getting quality kids in here,” he said. “If I start the first semester with 15 kids on my roster, I want 15 kids on my roster the second semester.
“I don’t want there to be one style of basketball played in the beginning of the year, and then have drastic changes later because of personnel issues.”
Peabody believes getting to know his players in a more comprehensive way will help accomplish that.
“I want to develop a relationship with them,” he said. “Not just in basketball terms, but also how they’re doing academically. What’s their family situation, their financial situation, where are they living?
“It’s a process, but I think we’ve gotten a good jump on it so far.”