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SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find winning consistency

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find winning consistency

By CASEY MUSE JR. 

Sophomore Bailey Critchlow makes contact on a swing against a Central Arizona Vaqueras during their make-up game at home on March 9.
Casey Muse Jr./Aztec Press

The Pima Community College softball team (25-12, 19-9 conference) has been playing well in March and has found consistency in several aspects of the game.

March 4: PCC 4, Phoenix 10/ PCC 1, Phoenix 12

The No. 18 Aztecs fell behind 4-0 early in the first game against the No. 2 Bears. They cut into the lead by scoring three runs in the fourth inning.

Sophomore Bailey Critchlow took the loss as she pitched four and two-third innings, finishing with 10 hits and three walks.

Phoenix College jumped out early in the second game, scoring five runs in the first inning. Sophomore Luisa Silvain took the loss. She finished with four hits, one strikeout and one walk.

March 7: PCC 15, Ancilla 1/ PCC 21, Ancilla 2

Pima got back on track in a big way in a double-header against Ancilla College at the Tucson Invitational at Lincoln Park.

The first game saw the Aztecs score five runs in the first inning, then seven more in the fourth.

Freshman Mandy Lorenson earned the win, pitching all five innings. She finished with two hits and 12 strikeouts.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored four runs in the first inning and another 10 runs in the fourth.

Freshman Hannah Wood picked up the win, pitching all five innings. She finished with seven hits and two strikeouts.

March 9: PCC 5, Central Arizona 7

The Aztecs saw their late rally attempt fall short in a makeup game at home.

Pima struck first on a sacrificefly RBI in the first inning. Things got away from the Aztecs when the Vaqueras scored five unanswered runs for a 7-2 lead.

Critchlow took the loss, pitching three innings. She finished with 11 hits and two strikeouts.

March 11: PCC 4, Paradise Valley 8/ PCC 13, Paradise Valley 5

The first game was tight until the Pumas busted it open with seven runs in the sixth.

Silvain took the loss. She pitched four innings and finished with eight hits and one strikeout.

The Aztecs earned revenge in the second game, scoring four runs in the first inning, two in the second and four more in the sixth.

Lorenson got the win. She pitched two innings and finished with two strikeouts and six walks.

March 14: PCC 6, South Mountain 1/ PCC 8, South Mountain 0

Critchlow pitched one of her best performances of the year, so far, in the first game. She pitched the complete game, finishing with one run, five hits and two strikeouts. The offense put up six runs.

The second game was even more dominant as Aztecs scored eight runs.

Lorenson provided her best pitching performances of the season as well, finishing with no hits, three strikeouts and four walks.

March 16: PCC 14, Chandler-Gilbert 1/ PCC 20, Chandler-Gilbert 1

In the first game, Pima scored four runs in the second, fourth, and fifth for a mercy-rule win.

Critchlow earned her 10th win, pitching all five innings and finishing with seven hits.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored 10 runs in the first and eight in the second one. Lorenson tossed her second straight no-hitter for her fifth win.

March 18: PCC 10, AWC 7/ PCC 5, AWC 4

Pima took an early lead in the first game, scoring four runs in the first inning.

The Matadors scored three runs of their own in the fourth to cut the lead to one. The Aztecs put the game away with six runs in the fourth.

Critchlow earned another victory, finishing with nine hits. The second game was extremely close throughout.

Arizona Western battled to a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, but Pima freshman Alysa Talamante hit a game-winning walk-off RBI.

Lorenson pitched all eight innings and finished with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

March 21: PCC 6 Glendale 1/ PCC 20 Glendale 0

The Aztecs continued their winning streak with a conference sweep over Glendale on the road.

Freshman Megan Flores got things started for the offense with an RBI single in the first inning of the first game to help Pima take control.

Sophomore Margarita Corona got in on the action with an RBI double of her own in the third.

Critchlow earned the win pitching the complete game and finishing with eight hits and four strikeouts. Her record sits at 12-5 for the season.

Game two was even more dominant as PCC scored seven runs in the third inning and another 11 in the fourth inning on their way to 20 total runs and a mercy rule victory.


ON DECK

March 25: Mesa CC, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

March 28: at Yavapai College, Prescott, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

April 1: at GateWay CC, Phoenix, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

April 4: at Central Arizona, Coolidge, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

TENNIS: Aztecs struggle in early season conference

TENNIS: Aztecs struggle in early season conference

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

Sophomore Francisco Ton goes for a front hand swing against Mesa CC.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

After a series of scrimmages, the Pima Community College tennis teams played conference meets against Mesa and Glendale to start their season.

“The team adapts really well to play styles they have never seen before,” head coach Ian Esquer said.

WOMEN’S TEAM

March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9

In their third match, the Aztecs (2-2, 1-2 conference) were swept at home by the No. 8 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds.

Aztec freshmen Emma Oropeza and Janine Fernando dropped the No. 1 doubles match 8-2.

Oropeza also dropped her No. 1 singles match, 6-2, 6-3.

Sophomore Ashley Ochoa played a close second set but fell 6-1, 7-5.

March 21: PCC 9, Glendale CC 0

Oropeza led a string of defeats against Glendale in singles, as she defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-2.

Freshmen Jayme Shafer and Elise Rodriguez dominated their No. 3 doubles 8-1.

MEN’S TEAM

March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9

The No. 7 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds swept the Aztecs (2-1, 1-1 conference) in a home meet.

Pima sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton played a close doubles match but lost 9-8.

Avalos lost his No. 1 singles match, 6-0, 6-1. Ton lost his No. 2 singles match 6-0, 6-1.

March 21: PCC 8, Glendale CC 1

As the Aztecs dominate Glendale, Ton was able to come away with a big victory in his No. 2 singles in a three-set tie-breaker, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0.


ON DECK

MEN’S

March 23: Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.

March 29: Mesa CC, 11 a.m.

WOMEN’S

March 23: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.

March 28: Eastern Arizona, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.

March 29: Mesa CC, 1:30 p.m.

Thank you Aztec Press, Pima Athletics

Thank you Aztec Press, Pima Athletics

By CASEY MUSE JR.

I am always talking about how lucky I have been to have had an opportunity to be a part of the Aztec Press.

I was one of those people who had no idea what they wanted to do with their life after graduating from high school. After working full time for a couple of years, I decided that I needed to ease my way back into school but I still had no idea what I wanted to study.

One of my biggest hobbies outside of work and school has always been sports. I am always trying to keep up with relevant headlines across various leagues.

Early in my time back at school, I was excited when I was offered a chance to contribute to the sports section of the Aztec Press.

The first sports that I ever covered at Pima were track and field and women’s golf, and I loved every minute of each.

I learned so much about the specific steps it takes to produce a news story. This included meeting the right people, conducting interviews, creating the stories, editing the stories and designing the pages in the computer programs.

I developed a new respect for all of my favorite journalists.

Sports at Pima have definitely been on the come-up since I have been covering them.

The football program behind the leadership of head coach Jim Monaco has seen a recent playoff appearance. Improvements in recruiting every season have resulted in a better product on the field.

It has been an honor to cover Pima sports during Sydni Stallworth’s basketball career. She is a BEAST and one of my favorite Aztec athletes of all time.

I have been on staff to see head softball coach Armando Quiroz win his 400th career game and continue to sustain a consistency throughout his program. I have also seen the steady improvement made in our baseball program through a revamped recruiting effort.

I was lucky enough to cover the men’s basketball team this season as it won the Region I Division II championship for the first time in seven years. There has been an upward trend in the program behind the leadership of head coach Brian Peabody.

I would be remiss not to express a small piece of gratitude to Raymond Suarez. Suarez serves as the sports information director at Pima and is excellent at his job. He is always there for advice and extra information regarding Pima athletics. Great guy.

I am extremely proud to be a part of the Aztec family. I cannot thank my classmates, members of the athletics department and adviser Cynthia Lancaster enough for the opportunity to make something of myself.

Casey Muse Jr., Aztec Press sports editor

New coach surprises at preseason tourney

New coach surprises at preseason tourney

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

After a sweep against Imperial College, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s teams played in a preseason tournament in Mesa.

“It went really well,” head coach Ian Esquer said.

Other schools such as Eastern Arizona and Arizona Christian University weren’t expecting the new coach and his team to get as far as they did, Esquer said.

“I was happy everyone played and had fun,” he said.

MEN’S TEAM

ACCAC preseason tournament

For doubles, the men’s team got to the finals of the main draw and the semifinals of the back draw.

“Arizona Christian University played and we beat them in the finals, so they were pretty impressed, as was I,” Esquer said.

WOMEN’S TEAM

ACCAC preseason tournament

In singles, freshman Emma Oropeza made her way to the semifinals of the main draw, while freshmen Janine Fernando and Lien Nguyen reached the back draw finals.

In doubles Oropeza and Nguyen made it to the semi’s of the back draw.

Feb. 23: Eastern 8, PCC 1

PCC’s game in Thatcher resulted in just one win, from freshman Elise Rodriguez. She won her No. 6 singles 7-6. The Aztecs lost every other match on the road.

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find batting consistency

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find batting consistency

By CASEY MUSE JR.

The Pima Community College softball team has entered the full swing of the regular season. Players are looking to establish some consistency with their bats as they look to reach their full potential.

Feb. 16: PCC 10, Colorado Northwestern 13 / PCC 6, Colorado Northwestern 3

The Aztecs split a non-conference home match-up with Colorado Northwestern. Both offenses were on fire in the first game.

Freshman Megan Flores finished with one run scored, sophomore Bailey Critchlow finished the game three for five, with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Freshman Mandy Lorenson took the loss in the game after pitching two relief innings. She finished with three hits, three strikeouts and seven walks.

The Aztecs learned their lesson and did not let the lead slip in the second game.

In the first inning, sophomore Amy Pacheco drove in fellow sophomore Margarita Corona and Flores. Pima added two more in the fourth inning to make the score 5-0.

Critchlow earned the win as she shutout the Spartans for the entire game, finishing with three earned runs, six hits, four strikeouts and four walks.

Feb. 18: PCC 6, Central Arizona CC 5

Pima was able to win one conference game before the rain in a home meeting.

Things started out slow for the Aztecs as they fell to an early 5-0 deficit. However, PCC rallied and scored six unanswered runs, to give Central Arizona their first ACCAC conference loss.

Critchlow hit the game winning RBI single to score freshman Edith Prieto. Pima didn’t have any runs on the board until the fifth inning.

Critchlow took the win, pitching the entire game. She finished with five runs earned, 10 hits, one strikeout, and five walks.

The second game of the doubleheader was postponed for March 9, due to the weather.

Feb. 21: PCC 10, Eastern 9 / PCC 6, Eastern 8

Pima split a conference meeting with Eastern Arizona at home.

Pima took the lead early on back-to-back RBIs from Sophomores Courtney Brown and Critchlow. Eastern Arizona began their comeback in fifth inning and by the seventh, the Gila Monsters had a one run lead of their own.

Critchlow clutched a walkoff two run RBI single to win the game. Critchlow also earned the win as she pitched the entire game finishing with 10 hits, one strikeout and two walks.

Eastern Arizona was surely out for revenge in the second game. The game remained close throughout as the Gila Monsters were able to score the tying run in the seventh to send the game to extra innings. Pima just could not find any offense in the eighth and Eastern Arizona was able to score two runs to steal the win.

Sophomore Luisa Silvain took the loss as she pitched the entire game and finished with 12 hits, three strikeouts and three walks.

Feb. 25: PCC 8, Scottsdale 0 / PCC 11, Scottsdale 0

The Aztecs dominated the conference double header with Scottsdale Community College.

The first game was busted open by the Aztecs in the third inning, scoring seven runs. They did not look back from there and carried the momentum over into the second game.

The team was able to score nine runs in the fourth inning of game two and never let the Artichokes score any runs of their own. Both games ended in a shutout.

Sophomore Luisa Silvain earned the win in the first game finishing with five hits and three strikeouts. Freshman Megan Lorenson got the win in the second game, finishing with two hits, seven strikeouts and two walks.

Nicholas Trujillo./Aztec Press Margarita Corona goes for swings against GateWay Community College, on Valentines Day.

 

BASEBALL: Aztecs move above .500 for the season

BASEBALL: Aztecs move above .500 for the season

By RENE ESCOBAR

As the Pima Community College baseball team digs through the opening season schedule they face a 0.028 lower batting average than last year.

The Aztecs have 37 more games till their post season, after the Chandler-Gilbert game.

Sophomore Taylor Ferdinand throws a pitch against Phoenix College under the Kino Sports Complex lights.
Rene Escobar / Aztec Press

Feb. 18: PCC 5, Mesa 8

Manny Ramirez home runs as the Aztecs fall to No. 6 Mesa on Feb.18 at West Campus. In the first game, but weather permitted the second from being played and will be made up for a later date.

The Aztecs trailed 5-2 after the top of the third they cut into the deficit after a two-run RBI duble by Sophomore Erick Migueles. But could not capitalize with a runner on second with zero outs.

Feb. 21: PCC 0, Phoenix College 1 / PCC 2, Phoenix College 8

In the first double header of conference play, the Aztecs were swept by Phoenix at Kino Sports Complex.

Migueles started the Aztecs off strong in the second game of the double header with a solo home run.

Kino Sports Complex was the sight of the Tuesday night game “It’s awesome, great experience for the kids.” Assistant coach Ernie Durazo said.

Migueles finished the second game two for five along with a RBI and one scored run.

Sophomore Taylor Ferdinand had a dismal second game giving up five total runs, two of them earned he only pitched three and two thirds innings before being pulled.

He was replaced with sophomore Ernesto Romero, who allowed one earned run.

Feb. 24: PCC 7, Vancouver Island 0 / PCC 7, Vancouver Island 3

Aztecs get back on track posting back-to-back lucky sevens sweeping Vancouver Island University at West Campus.

Pitchers Jonathan Deeble and Andres Hackman combine for a shutout during the first game of the double header against Vancouver.

Migueles got the Aztecs on the board first in the first game with a RBI single. He would finish one for two at the plate.

In the second game the Aztecs were trailing by the third.

An offensive explosion rallied the team to the lead with a five run in the fourth inning to secure the win for the Aztecs.

Feb. 25: PCC 3, Paradise Valley 5 / PCC 3, Paradise Valley 1

Both games were tight contests as the Aztecs saw freshman pitcher Jose Contreras toss five strikeouts in a 3-1 win over Paradise Valley.

Freshman Isaac Lopez continued the pitching dominance earning the save with one strikeout.

In the first game the Aztecs cut the into the lead in the fourth inning, making the score 3-2. But Paradise Valley halted the come back by scoring two runs.

In the second game the Aztecs provided just enough offense to take the lead and pitching kept the lead for the Aztecs.

Sophomore Oscar Larranaga finished the second game with two RBIs going two for four at the plate.

Freshman Marcus Mendez went two for three at the plate with two runs scored.

Migueles finished the game one for four with an RBI along with a solo home run.

Freshman Gage O’Brien pitched for two innings with two strike outs and three walks.


ON DECK

March 4: Glendale CC, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 7: GateWay CC, Kino Memorial Stadium, doubleheader, 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m. March 11: at Yavapai College, Prescott, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 14: Monroe CC, Kino Memorial Stadium, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 17: Madison Area Technical College, West Campus, noon

March 21: at Scottsdale CC, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

March 23: Mexico, Kino Memorial Stadium, 11 a.m.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima to host Scottsdale in playoffs

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima to host Scottsdale in playoffs

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

Sophomore Denesia Smith muscles past a Cochise College defender for a layup. Smith finished the game with a team-high 26 points.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

The Pima Community College women’s team will be the No. 2 seed for the NJCAA Region I, Division II tournament, and will host No. 3 Scottsdale Community College on March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Pima finished the regular season with a 22-7 overall record and a 17-5 record in conference play.

Feb. 15: PCC 80, Cochise 81

When the Aztecs faced Cochise College at home for their second game of the season, they met the same fate as in their previous meeting in Douglas.

After a strong first half, PCC fell behind in the second half. A last-second play by sophomore Sydni Stallworth forced overtime.

The Apaches won the game with a last-second layup.

Stallworth finished with 15 points, which she scored solely in the second half and in overtime. Sophomore Denesia Smith finished with a team-high 26 points and fellow sophomore Erin Peterson ended with seven points and seven rebounds.

Feb. 18: PCC 94, Phoenix 71

After recovering from the Apache loss, PCC bounced back to defeat Phoenix College by a double-digit margin.

PCC ended the first half with a 34-31 lead and opened the second half with a 15-6 run. The Aztecs used an 11-0 run to take a 74-50 lead with four minutes left.

Sophomore Bree Cates and Smith both ended with 16 points.

Stallworth finished with 23 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Moana Hala’ufia had 15 rebounds and four points.

Feb. 22: PCC 93, CAC 90

A 93-90 home victory gave the Aztecs their first-ever regularseason sweep of Central Arizona College. In a previous road match, the Aztecs beat the Vaqueras 96-85.

The Aztecs fell behind during the game but continued chipping away. The game was tied at 90-90 with 13.3 seconds left when Cates hit a 3-pointer to secure the win.

“We stayed together and kept fighting,” Cates said in a press release. “It was our time and we were due for sure.” Cates led the team with 23 points, and Stallworth scored 17 points.

Feb. 25: PCC 58, Mesa 60

PCC had a strong first half but quickly derailed. After multiple lead changes in the second half, Mesa used a 6-0 run to take and maintain the lead.

Cates finished the game with 22 points and six rebounds. Smith had 14 points.

Feb. 28: PCC 79, AWC 73 

Head coach Todd Holthaus talks to his team as assistant coaches Jim Rosborough and Chris Klassen look on.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

The Aztecs finished the regular season with a victory over the Arizona Western College Matadors on Sophomore Night.

PCC opened the first half with a 12-0 run and ended the first quarter 10 points ahead, 26-16. The second quarter saw a revamped Arizona Western College score seven points ahead of the Aztecs.

The teams went into halftime with PCC still in the lead, 37-34.

The second half of the game was no different.

The Aztecs were up in the third quarter, only to see the Matadors come back in the fourth. The game ended with AWC falling short of the win.

Stallworth was just short of a triple-double with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Cates finished with 17 points, and Smith finished with 13.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Pima heading to national playoffs

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima heading to national playoffs

Head coach Todd Holthaus can’t contain his emotion as he cuts the net at the West Campus gym following PCC’s 78-54 home-court win over playoff rival Mesa Community College.

Head coach Todd Holthaus can’t contain his emotion as he cuts the net at the West Campus gym following PCC’s 78-54 home-court win over playoff rival Mesa Community College. (Aztec Press photos by Steven Fowler)

By JASON WEIR

The no. 4 ranked Pima Community College women’s basketball team won the Region I Division II title game in convincing fashion on March 5.

The Aztecs, led by finals MVP sophomore Shalise Fernander, defeated the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds 78-54 in front of their fans.

The win earned PCC a trip to the NJCAA Division II national tournament and kept their season going.

The national tournament starts March 15. Pima will play Hagerstown Community College in the first round at 2 p.m. eastern time in Overland Park, Kan.

Pima earned the right to host this year’s tournament. PCC’s victory marks the seventh time in the last eight years that the host team has won the tournament.

Fans turned out to support their Aztecs and help cheer them to victory.

“This is the largest crowd I have seen in my four years at Pima,” said Raymond Suarez of PCC’s sports information office.

The Aztecs fell behind 4-0 to start the game, but launched a 19-6 run and led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Mesa never got closer than seven and trailed 34-24 at halftime.

Pima used depth and athleticism to pressure Mesa all night.

Its defense caused 17 turnovers, blocked five shots and stole the ball eight times. PCC also controlled the glass, outrebounding Mesa 61-34.

Sophomore Taylor Blue and freshman Sydni Stallworth led all players with 10 rebounds apiece. Blue, Stallworth and Fernander each had six offensive boards.

Players and coaches echoed a common theme in explaining the key to victory.

“Defense. Defense for sure. Our offense settled in off of our defense,” Fernander said.

“Defense and communication between us,” Stallworth said.

“Defensive intensity and depth,” Pima head coach Todd Holthaus said. “Our speed wears them out.”

The Thunderbirds had just seven players in uniform, a weakness that played perfectly to Pima’s strengths.

“They had a couple of injuries this year that really depleted them,” Holthaus said. “We knew we were deep and we knew we were fast. They’ll hang with us for a little bit. Eventually, we will just hammer away at them.”

The most nerve wracking moment for Aztec fans came with 2:50 left in the third quarter, when Player of the Year Stallworth began limping.

“My calves were cramping,” Stallworth said. “They were both cramping at the same time.”

After Pima called timeout, sophomore Samirah Miller made sure the Thunderbirds did not take advantage. She scored Pima’s only points during Stallworth’s absence.

Stallworth was back on the floor to start the final quarter and was fine the rest of the game. Pima started the quarter with a 20-7 run, taking away any hope Mesa had.

Pima began post-season play March 1 by beating Scottsdale Community College for the second time in eight days. The final score was 78-50.

PCC came out focused and took control of the game from the start. The Aztecs held the Artichokes scoreless for the first seven minutes to take a 15-0 lead and were ahead 43-17 at halftime.

Pima started the second half with a 7-0 run and led by as many as 35 in the fourth.

Relentless defense led the way, with Pima forcing 22 Artichoke turnovers. The Aztecs also had 13 steals. Fernander’s double-double led Pima in both categories. She had 20 points and five of her 11 rebounds were at the offensive end.

Pima’s hard work and talent was acknowledged Feb. 24 in the yearly awards. Stallworth, Fernander, Blue and freshman Denesia Smith were named to the All-ACCAC Conference and All-Region I teams.

Stallworth was also named ACCAC Division II Player of the Year. Pima head coach Todd Holthaus was named ACCAC Coach of the Year.

“That is ‘cause they drew my name out of a hat,” Holthaus joked.

He was quick to give credit to his team. “I’ve had great teams before but this is the deepest, most athletic team I ever had,” he said.

The Aztecs closed out the regular season with a 69-53 win at Scottsdale Community College on Feb. 23. Pima ended the regular season with a 23-7 record, 17-5 in ACCAC.

For more details on PCC sport events and box scores, see pimaaztecs.com.

Pima players and coaches celebrate March 5 after capturing the Region I, Division II championship at the West Campus. The victory marked their first region championship since 2011.

Pima players and coaches celebrate March 5 after capturing the Region I, Division II championship at the West Campus. The victory marked their first region championship since 2011.


ON DECK

March 15-19:@NJCAADivisionIINationalTournament,OverlandPark,Kansas.

Pima enjoys three-game win streak

Pima enjoys three-game win streak

Sophomore guard Yusaf Shehata (14) passes to freshman forward Kwintin Williams (3) during a game against South Mountain on Feb. 20.

Sophomore guard Yusaf Shehata (14) passes to freshman forward Kwintin Williams (3) during a game against South Mountain on Feb. 20. (Deanna Sherman/Aztec Press)

By STEVEN FOWLER

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (17-12, 12-9 in ACCAC) has found itself on a three-game win streak and has hit the ground running as the 2015-16 regular season play winds down.

Pima was victorious in a back-and-fourth game Feb. 20 against South Mountain Community College. The Aztecs won 111-108 in overtime.

Down 108-105 with 3:05 remaining in overtime, Pima went on a 6-0 run to seal the win. Sophomore Justice Martion made a pair of free throws while the Aztecs’ defense kept South Mountain’s bench quiet.

All five starters scored in double figures. Sophomore Yusuf Shehata led the team with 27 points, making five 3-pointers. Martion scored 26 points with 10-of-15 shots made at the dish. Freshman Kwinitin Williams had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds.

Freshman Keven Biggs scored 18 as well, while sophomore Cameron Volk scored 15 points.

The Aztecs swept the regular season series with the Cougars. The Aztecs won 81-79 in their previous meeting.

Sophomores Ezini Ugbisien, Volk, Martion and Shehata were honored at halftime in their final regular season home game.

On Feb. 17, the Aztecs defeated Central Arizona College 95-88 after leading 45-38 at halftime.

Three Aztecs scored more than 20 points in the game. Williams had a double-double of 24 points and 15 rebounds, Shehata finished with 22 points while going 6-for-10 in shooting and Martion had 21 points and three steals, while Biggs contributed with 11 points.

The Aztecs avenged their 70-62 loss against Central Arizona on Jan. 9 with the win.

Pima was unable to hold a double-digit lead on Feb. 10 against Mesa Community College and faltered 94-91.

Pima at one point held a 14-point lead at 22-8 and eventually led 48-39 at halftime.

At the start of the second half, freshman Damon Dubots hit consecutive free throws to make it a 50-39 score.

Williams made a three pointer, continuing Pima’s double-digit lead at 55-45. The Mesa Thunderbirds then went on an 11-2 run, trimming the deficit to one point at 57-56 with 12:37 remaining in the second half.

After a series of back-and-forth shots, the Thunderbirds’ successful rally came to fruition and they led 64-63 with 9:11 to go. The Aztecs regained the lead soon after when Biggs hit a three-pointer, putting the team in front 76-75 at the 3:50 mark.

Shehata led the team in scoring with 24 points while hitting 8-for-12 and 6-for-8 at three-point range. Shehata included eight assists in his successful game.

Martion finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Biggs scored 18 points, five assists and eight rebounds. Williams was fourth on the team in scoring with 16 points while shooting 7-for-8 off the bench.

PCC was swept in both games against the Thunderbirds this season.

Pima’s regular season finale took place Feb. 23 at Scottsdale Community College, after Aztec Press went to the printer.

 

 


 

ON DECK

March 2: @ Region I, Division II Playoffs (Semifinals), TBA

March 4: @ Region I, Division II Playoffs (Finals), TBA

March 15: @ NJCAA Division II National Tournament, TBA

SOFTBALL: No. 9 Aztecs sweep Mesa doubleheader

SOFTBALL: No. 9 Aztecs sweep Mesa doubleheader

By JASON WEIR

No. 9 Pima Community College (7-5) swept its Feb. 9 doubleheader at Mesa Community College.

The Aztecs won the first game 8-1. Sophomore pitcher Odalis Orduno pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and striking out two. PCC scored the only runs it needed in the second inning, taking a 3-0 lead when freshman Courtney Brown hit an RBI double. The Aztecs added four runs in the seventh inning to stretch their lead. Freshman Bailey Critchlow went 3-for-3 and scored two runs.

The Thunderbirds rebounded in the second game to score nine runs, losing 10-9. Winning pitcher Critchlow pitched six innings, allowing 11 hits and striking out one. Critchlow helped herself, again going 3-for-3 at the plate again. Mesa rallied in the bottom of the seventh trailing 10-5. After the Thunderbirds scored four runs in the innings, Orduno, who got the save in relief, got a bases loaded ground-out to end the game.

The Aztecs lost their home opener doubleheader against the Yavapai College Roughriders on Feb. 6.

Pima fell behind early in the first game. After reaching base on an error, sophomore Araceli Peralta scored, tying the game at 1-1 when freshman Courtney Brown doubled in the bottom of the third. The Aztecs were scoreless the rest of the game and Yavapai won 5-1.

Orduno pitched a complete game, allowing 10 hits while striking out three.

The Aztecs held a 2-1 lead going into the top of the seventh of the second game. The Roughriders led off the seventh with a single before Pima starting pitcher freshman Bailey Critchlow struck out the next two batters. Yavapai then hit a two-run double, taking a 3-2 lead.

Pima put two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to push the tying run across the plate before losing 3-2. Critchlow pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits and striking out two.

The games were scheduled at Yavapai but were relocated to Pima early in the week due to weather. The March 22 home date against the Roughriders has now been moved to Yavapai.

Pima started conference play 2-0 after sweeping a doubleheader on Feb. 2 at Scottsdale Community College.

The Aztecs won the first game 3-2. Freshman Larissa Rodriguez hit a single in the top of the seventh inning, scoring freshman Gabriela Trejo to end a 2-2 tie.

Brown’s two-run home run in the fifth inning put Pima on the board after falling behind 2-0. Orduno pitched a complete-game and had five strikeouts.

In the second game, Pima got out to a quick start by taking a 6-0 lead in the second on their way to the 7-4 win.

Freshman Margarita Corona had three RBIs, getting two on a single in the first inning and one on a sacrifice in the second. Critchlow picked up the win, pitching a complete-game with two strikeouts.

The Aztecs had a rough start to their season, going 3-3 at the Southern Nevada Kick-Off Classic.

The second and final day of the Classic saw Pima doing a reversal of its record from the day before by only winning one of three games on Jan. 30.

The final day of the Classic started badly for the Pima Aztecs.

The Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartans shut out the Aztecs 8-0 in the first game. The Spartans allowed Pima just two hits for the game. Freshman Luisa Silvain received the loss, giving up six runs (two earned) off five hits in the first two innings.

The Aztecs’ rough day continued in the second game as they lost 16-4 in five innings against the No. 5 ranked Salt Lake Community College Bruins.

The Bruins took control of the game right away, scoring six runs in the first and adding seven more in the second. Critchlow received the loss after getting a win the day before to even her record at 1-1.

Pima finished the Classic with a win.

The final game against the Snow College Badgers lasted eight innings before sophomore Araceli Peralta drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring sophomore Kalynn Martinez in the top of the eighth inning. Critchlow struck out two in the bottom of the eighth as Pima held on to win 11-10.

The Classic started with three games on Jan. 29 and the Aztecs went 2-1.

Pima won the first game against the College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles, when the team rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning in what was a 3-3 tie.

Corona’s run home in the sixth capped a three-run final inning as the Aztecs won 11-3. Orduno, who came in to pitch the final two innings, was credited with the win. Orduno didn’t allow a run and struck out two.

The Aztecs lost their second game of the day against Western Nevada College Wildcats 5-4.

Pima scored two runs in the first inning but the Wildcats took the lead by scoring three runs of their own in the second inning, and grabbed the lead for good.

Orduno, who started the second game after getting the win in the first game, received the loss. She went two and one-third innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Pima finished the first day with a 14-1 win in the third game against El Paso Community College Tejanos in five innings. The Aztecs exploded in the fourth inning, putting up 13 runs on 10 hits. Brown’s three-run home run was a highlight of the inning.

Critchlow pitched all five innings, allowing one earned run on four hits. Critchlow also helped the offense by getting two RBIs while going 2-for-3 at the plate.

ON DECK

Feb. 13: @ Glendale Community College, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

Feb. 16: South Mountain Community College, West Campus, doubleheader,
1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Feb. 20: @ Phoenix College, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

Feb. 23: @ Paradise Valley Community College, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

 

GOLF: Women lose eligibility, men win opener

GOLF: Women lose eligibility, men win opener

By MICKEY RAY LAMB

The Pima Community College women’s golf team was unable to complete its first meet of the season.

“I’m not at liberty to disclose any information at the moment,” head coach Rick Price said, citing eligibility issues.

Although the Aztecs participated during the first day of competition, PCC was not permitted to participate in the contest for the second day of events.

The next meet of the season is at Dobson Ranch Golf Course in Mesa on Feb. 14 at noon.

The mens’s golf team had an outstanding season opener, winning the Chandler-Gilbert invitational.

Pima finished on top individually, with David Rauer taking first place with a 137, Wilfred Tewawina in second with 140 and Frankie Wu was tied for third with a 142 in the two-day event.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs avoid back-to-back losses

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs avoid back-to-back losses

By JASON WEIR

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team got right back to their winning ways after having an 11-game win streak snapped on Jan. 23 at Phoenix College.

The Aztecs went 3-1 in the two-week span, winning back-to-back games before a loss to Eastern Arizona.

A Feb. 10 game at Mesa Community College took place after the Aztec Press went to press.

Pima won the first of its current three-game road trip, beating Cochise College 61-53.

The No. 8 ranked Aztecs gave the Apaches their first home loss this season and swept the season series. After taking a 12-10 lead, the Aztecs held the lead the rest of the night.

Freshman Sydni Stallworth finished with 21 points, her second straight game with 20 or more points.

On Feb. 3, the two top teams in the ACCAC conference met at Pima’s West Campus gym for their second and final regular season matchup. Eastern Arizona won the hard-fought game 77-69.

The Aztecs committed 24 turnovers against the pressure defense of the Gila Monsters. “Can’t give a good team that many opportunities,” head coach Todd Holtaus said.

Pima trailed much of the second half and all of the fourth quarter against the Division I opponent, but never let the Gila Monsters pull away.

“We stayed in the fight,” Holtaus said. “We didn’t give up.”

Two of the top players in the league battled most of the night. Gila Monsters’ Akia Frett and Stallworth, who both received player of the week honors Feb. 8, gave the fans a performance to remember as the two point guards each led their team in scoring.

The two players have seven player of the week honors between them this year.

“She is very good and it brings out the best in me,” Stallworth said about guarding Frett. “It’s tough, but it is fun at the end of the day.”

Sophomore Gabby Banales looked more comfortable as she continues to play more after coming back from a leg injury.

“It is my last year, so I do want to play a lot,” she said. “I have been working in practice at using my legs my more.” She made three of four 3-pointers in the game.

Pima returned home on Jan. 30 to beat Glendale Community College 68-59. The Aztecs had previously beaten the Gauchos 91-64 at Glendale on Dec. 2.

The Gauchos came prepared to challenge the No. 9 ranked Aztecs. Glendale Coach Jennifer Niebling had her team ready to challenge Pima’s athleticism with the Aztecs short-handed as Denesia Smith had to miss another game because of injury.

This fact was not lost on Pima, but don’t look for them to use excuses.

“Hard to replace her athleticism, but no one feels sorry for us,” Holtaus said. “We just have to step up.”

While the Aztecs were missing a key player, they still had many talented players in the lineup and used their size to beat the Gauchos. They outrebounded the Gauchos 53-35 (18-5 on the offensive boards).

Sophomore Taylor Blue led all players with 12 total rebounds (four offensive) and both sophomore Shalise Fernander and freshman Erin Peterson grabbed five offensive boards each.

Pima also blocked five Gauchos shots, with three by Fernander, compared to to just one block against them.

Blue, who led the team in scoring with 17, had a huge block with Pima ahead 56-55 and under four minutes to play. The block led to a layup for Stallworth to put Pima up 58-55.

A bucket by the Gauchos put them within one point ,58-57. Two free throws by Fernander, who got a shooter’s roll on both, followed by a Gauchos turnover and a baseline jumper from Blue, put the Aztecs up 62-57 with just over two minutes left in the game.

“That is where we needed help,” Fernander said about the rebounding edge. “We just control what we can.”

Neither the players or coaches were not happy with their play against the Gauchos, but were glad to get the win.

“It was not pretty but we will take it,” Holtaus said.

“It was sloppy, but I’ll take the win,” Fernander said. “We got the job done.”

The Aztecs rebounded from their second loss in conference play by beating Tohono O’odham Community College on the road 69-44 on Jan. 27.

This was the second time the Aztecs played the Jegos. They won the previous matchup 63-38 on Dec. 14.

The Jegos kept it close in the first half. Pima led 26-19 at the half, but took control of the game in the second half and ended the game outscoring Tohono O’odham 20-9.

 

Freshman guard Denesia Smith and sophomore forward Shalise Fernander prepare to stop a Scottsdale Community College Artichoke player from scoring a basket. (Steven Fowler/Aztec Press)

Freshman guard Denesia Smith and sophomore forward Shalise Fernander prepare to stop a Scottsdale Community College Artichoke player from scoring a basket. (Steven Fowler/Aztec Press)

ON DECK

Feb. 13: @Arizona Western College, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 17: Central Arizona College, West Campus Gym, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 20: South Mountain Community College, West Campus Gym, 2 p.m.

Feb. 23: @ScottsdaleCommunityCollege,5:30p.m.

Aztecs go 4-0 in Holiday Ball-Out Tournament

Aztecs go 4-0 in Holiday Ball-Out Tournament

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.

Aztecs suffer three-game losing streak

Aztecs suffer three-game losing streak

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.