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Sports briefs

Sports briefs

Compiled by Nicholas Trujillo

With the winter season ending and the spring seasons already well underway, Pima Community College has had many student-athletes earn awards for their efforts in the season. Others have accepted offers from universities.

 

Stallworth earns top rank for second time

This year marks the second year in a row that sophomore basketball star Sydni Stallworth was named first-team NJCAA Division II All-American. She is one of only three PCC women to receive the honor.

She also received, and accepted an offer to play at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

In the past two years, the university had win-loss records that mirrored PCC’s team. The 2014-’15 season was 29-2, and the 2015-’16 team had a  38-3 record.

Stallworth was a major player on the PCC court, leading the Aztecs to a second-place finish in the Region I Division II tournament. She averaged 17 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while also shooting  81 percent at the free throw line.

Additionally, she was also named the ACCAC Division II Player of the Year for the second year in a row, as well as ACCAC Division II player of the week seven times during the season. She ends her career at PCC with a record of 51-16.

 

James, Aztec MVP, first-team All-American

Men’s basketball sophomore standout Deion James also received his share of glory. He was named first-team NJCAA All-American. He is the fifth Pima player to earn the honor, and the second to receiving it under head coach Brian Peabody.

Jame was also named Spalding NJCAA Division II Player of the Year and ACCAC Co-Player of the Year.

During the season, James was the powerhouse who got the Aztecs to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. He was named Region I, Divison II Championship game MVP.

He also led the Aztecs to a 22-win season, PCC’s best since the 1989-90 team.

While averaging 20.6 points per game, James also picked up 20 double-doubles in points and rebounds.

In his first year of college basketball, James played at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. As of now, James has not decided where he will go to continue his career.

 

Sophomore duo sign with Stephen F. Austin

Pima Community College women’s softball team sophomore duo Margarita Corona and Courtney Brown have signed to play at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The Lumberjacks are in Division I for the NCAA and are sporting a 15-26 record so far this season.

Corona, a 5-foot-3-inch catcher, played in all 51 games this season. She has a .487 batting average and has 14 home runs and 77 RBIs. She also leads the team with 76 hits and 20 doubles.

Brown, who plays outfielder and is a lead-off hitter, bats with a .426 batting average. She has hit four home runs and 25 RBIs.

Brown also leads the team with 20 stolen bases, eight triples and 63 runs scored.

The two signed their letters of intent to the university on April 13. They will also be honored at the celebration that PCC is holding at the West Campus.

 

Ruiz signs to West Texas A&M

Sophomore Mari Ruiz will mark PCC softball team’s third player to get signed to a university. The Aztec outfield will further her career at West Texas A&M, a NCAA Division II school in Canyon, Texas.

The school held the national title in 2014 when a former Pima player was on their roster. This season they also hold former PCC pitcher Alexis Alfonso.

Ruiz took part in 35 games this season, she has 11 RBIs, 29 runs scored while batting and a .258 batting average. She transferred to Pima after playing for Phoenix College for one year.

 

Hong takes ACCAC POTY for second year in a row

Sophomore Desiree Hong has earned herself the ACCAC Player of the Year title for her second year in a row. She was also select as first team All-ACCAC conference and first Team All-Region.

Hong averaged a 74.8 per round played, she also shot a 71 or under for seven of her 12 rounds played.

She also was able to finish at least second place in all tournaments she participated in. She has also verbally committed to the University of Arizona next fall.

Fellow Sophomore Samantha Hacker was named second team All-ACCAC for her second straight year. Freshman Abby Miller also took second team All-Region.

 

PCC to celebrate athletes at West Campus

PCC will celebrate its athletes, and many others, on May 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the West Campus Arts Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road.

Both coaches and representatives from the winter and spring season teams will talk about team and individual accomplishments.

Basketball players Jacob Anastasi and Erin Peterson are set to receive the Lawrence R. Toledo Leadership Award.

To RSVP or for more info about the celebration, email April Jessee at ajessee@pima.edu or Raymond Suarez at rmsuareaz1@pima.edu by May 3.

Margarita Corona

Courtney Brown

Deion James

Sydni Stallworth

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs fall short in championship game

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs fall short in championship game

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

The No. 2 Pima Community College women’s basketball team (23-8, 16-6 conference) closed out their season on an early note after losing to No. 1 Mesa CC Thunderbirds.

Last season, the Aztecs overcame the Thunderbirds and made their way to third place in the NJCAA championship tournament. Last season, the Aztecs were also the No. 1 seed and Mesa was the No. 2 seed.

PCC played catch up for most of the game but didn’t rally in the second half.

March 7: PCC 86, Scottsdale CC 76

The Aztecs began play with an eightpoint deficit against the Artichokes. A shot from sophomore Sydni Stallworth relieved the playoff tension.

The first quarter ended with a 19-19 draw.

The second quarter saw freshman Izzy Spruit shoot four-for-four beyond the arc to give the Aztecs a double-digit lead that turned into a 52-38 lead at halftime.

After the break, the Artichokes came out of the locker room with a spark and outscored the Aztecs 23-17 in the third quarter.

The Aztecs responded with an 11-1 run in the fourth to secure their double-digit lead.

“Anytime you can win a playoff game you should always be excited,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “No matter what happens in the regular season, the post season is always tough.”

Stallworth lead the Aztecs with 31 points, while Spruit had 12 points. Sophomore Erin Peterson finished with six points and a team high of nine rebounds.

“We had some rocky moments, we got too much in our frustrations when our shots weren’t falling,” Stallworth said.

March 11: PCC 72, Mesa CC 74

After charging to the championships for Region I Division II, the Aztecs faced defeat against the Thunderbirds.

After tip off, Mesa went on a 17-2 run to put themselves above PCC by 21-10.

The lead increased by halftime when the Thunderbirds outscored the Aztecs 46-29.

In the third quarter, the Aztecs were on fire going on a 16-6 run to cut the lead down to 60-52. Freshman Alliyah Bryant contributed a couple of threes, while Stallworth shot six-for-six from the free-throw line.

The fourth quarter saw sophomore Moana Hala’ufia hit a pair of free throws. A forced turnover lead to Smith hitting a three and Stallworth scoring off an offensive rebound.

The Aztecs made their way to a 72-70 lead, their first of the game, with 2:05 left.

Pima fouled Mesa with 3.7 seconds remaining, and Mesa hit just the first of the two free throws. Stallworth grabbed the missed shot, and was immediately guarded by three Mesa defenders.

Stallworth tossed the ball to Bryant, who passed the ball to Smith.

Smith found Hala’ufia for an open shot but the ball missed as the buzzer sounded, leaving Mesa the Region I Division II champion.

Stallworth finished with a game-high 22 points, while sophomore Bree Cates contributed 15 points.

“We had a tough game, we played hard but lost by two,” Stallworth said. “Second half we really came to play but they had a little bit more momentum than we did.”

In nine years, this is the eighth time Mesa and PCC have met in the finals. Each time, the home team has won.

This season marked the sixth season of 20-plus wins for Holthaus in his 10 years at Pima.

With the season over, NJCAA All-American Stallworth will move to Alaska to play for University of Alaska Anchorage, an NCAA Division I school.

Photo by Nicholas Trujillo

Sophomore Sydni Stallworth passes in the ball to her teammates against No.3 Scottsdale CC, during the NJCAA playoff game on March 7

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 riding wave to postseason

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Pima riding wave to postseason

Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics Sophomore Sydni Stallworth goes in for a layup against South Mountain.

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team is currently averaging 83.2 points per game, an improvement from the previous seasons 72.6 points per game average.

The Aztecs have also improved their three-point accuracy, hitting 30.7 percent as opposed to 21.9 percent last season. Their overall field goal percentage has also seen a bump, an 8.3% percent increase from last season.

“We are right where we want to be, coming down the stretch in a good position,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “In my ten years, this is probably the best offensive team I’ve ever had.”

Feb. 4: PCC 87, Eastern Arizona 92

After maintaining a slight lead for three quarters, the Aztecs ended up with a loss against the Gila Monsters.

Pima held a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Then Eastern Arizona outscored PCC 31-19 in the fourth. The Gila Monsters out rebounded the Aztecs, 51-36, and shot 25 for 30 at the free throw line.

Sophomore Denesia Smith, lead the team with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists. Fellow sophomore Sydni Stallworth had 18 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Feb. 8: PCC 83, South Mountain 53

After their second loss to Eastern Arizona, the Aztecs bounced back and beat the South Mountain Cougars.

PCC started out the second half with a 17-point lead and steamrolled it into a 30-point lead by the end of the game.

Stallworth led her team with 27 points and shot 62 percent from the field. Freshman Alliyah Bryant had 13 points, hitting half of her shots.

The win allowed for a sweep of the Cougars, with the Aztec’s having defeated South Mountain 68-54 earlier in the season.

Feb. 11: PCC 71, Scottsdale 58

The Aztecs took the win against the Artichokes after sophomore Bree Cates dropped 24 points.

The game began as a neck and neck affair, until the fourth quarter. The Aztecs stretched their lead to double digits in the fourth, and closed out the game with a 13-point lead.

Cates also shot for 44 percent and had six rebounds. Stallworth finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

“We got a tough part of our schedule coming up leading into playoffs,” Holthaus said. “That’ll be the focus leading into playoffs, tighten up the defence. Knowing that the old cliché ‘defense wins championships’ is true.”

Feb. 15: PCC vs. Cochise

The game took place after the Aztec Press went to press.

ON DECK

Feb. 18: at Phoenix College, 2p.m.

Feb. 22: Cetral Arizona, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 25: at Mesa CC, 2p.m.

Feb. 28: Arizona Western, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

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.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs end season with heartbreaker

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs end season with heartbreaker

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”

 

Pg13-Women's basketball-Melody McLaughlin-Contributed

Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics
Sophomore Melody McLaughlin drives into the key against Phoenix College’s defense.

 

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Playoffs start March 4 at West Campus

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Playoffs start March 4 at West Campus

By DEANNA SHERMAN

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (17-13, 14-8 in ACCAC) has sealed the No.1 seed in the Region I, Division II tournament.

The Aztecs pulled out an exciting win Feb. 24 against Scottsdale Community College, 66-62, in the final regular-season game.

With under a minute left in the game, the score was tied 62-62. Freshman Kristin Baldwin then scored a jump shot, putting Pima up 64-62 with 39.6 second left on the clock. Scottsdale tried to tie the game, but missed its shot.

Pima freshman Shalise Fernander was fouled as she came down with the defensive rebound. Fernander sealed the game with two clutch free-throws, putting the Aztecs up 64-62 with 21.1 seconds remaining.

“I’m really proud of this group and happy for our sophomores,” Pima head coach Todd Holthaus said in a press release.

“We have overcome many adversities and to be standing as the No. 1 seed is a testament to what this team is made of,” he added. “At this point, the post-season is gravy. The second season is always the most fun.”

Region I, Division II tournament play will begin Wednesday, March 4, at the West Campus gym. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.

The Aztecs will be up against No.4 Phoenix College. In the last match-up, Pima won 80-78 in double-overtime.

Sophomore Melody McLaughlin expressed confidence before the Feb. 24 game.

“We, as a team, feel well prepared and excited knowing if we win tomorrow it gives us the first seed for playoffs,” she said. “I’m excited, but emotional at the same time because this year has flown by and I don’t want it to end.”

PCC entered the Phoenix game ranked No. 20 in the nation.

On Feb. 21, the Aztecs easily took down South Mountain Community College in Phoenix by more than tripling their opponent’s score, 100-31.

Fernander led the Aztecs with 26 points while freshman Heather Rogers had 25 points of her own.

At the time, Mesa Community College held a share of the No. 1 seed with Pima. The tie-breaker went to the Aztecs for sweeping Mesa during the regular season.

Pima came home with a loss Feb. 18, falling 82-68 to Central Arizona College in Coolidge. PCC was swept in the regular-season series after also losing to Central last month, 73-62.

The Aztecs had a rough start, trailing 41-28 at the half. They came back strong in the second, only being outscored 41-40.

On Feb. 14, Pima defeated Arizona Western College 77-53 at the West Campus gym.

Pima nearly doubled Western’s score in the second half, 42-25, and scored 30 points on three-pointers alone throughout the game.

Four Aztec players scored in double digits. Baldwin had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.

In Mesa on Feb. 11, Pima finished another thrilling game against Mesa Community College 55-54.

In their previous meeting, a last-second buzzer beater secured the final score of 72-70 for Pima. This time around, a defensive play finished the game.

Down by one, Mesa attempted a buzzer shot in the last second, only to be denied when Baldwin swatted it away.

Freshman Heather Rogers drives down the court.  (Caleb Foster/Aztec Press)

Freshman Heather Rogers drives down the court. (Caleb Foster/Aztec Press)

Pima doesn’t take a break over winter

Pima doesn’t take a break over winter

By DEANNA SHERMAN

The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (11-10, 8-5 in ACCAC conference) beat Phoenix College 80-78 in a double overtime victory on Jan. 24.

Despite some difficulty scoring throughout the game freshman Gabby Banales ended the game with a third offensive-rebound put back right as the buzzer went off.

Sophomore Melody McLaughlin led the Aztecs in the second overtime, contributing a 6-0 run that gave Pima a 76-74 lead with 2:01 on the clock.

McLaughlin earned NJCAA National Player of the Week honors for her efforts.

Sophomore Jayla Brown scored a team high 22 points, with her clutch three-point shooting.

“A road conference win is always good,” said Pima head coach Todd Holthaus. “I’m extremely proud of this group of ladies. They faced adversity and found a way through it.”

They easily defeated Chandler-Gilbert 89-51 on Jan. 21.

Pima led by 40 points in the second half and ended the game out-scoring Chandler-Gilbert 52-27.

Freshman Shalise Fernander led with 23 points and 7 rebounds.

Although the Aztecs consistently out-scored Chandler-Gilbert, their defense stood out as well, ending the game with 34 defensive rebounds and 15 steals.

The Aztecs lost 66-59 on the road against Scottsdale Community College on Jan. 17.

Pima’s women’s basketball team defeated South Mountain Community College 84-38 on Jan. 14. A 20-0 run put the nail in the coffin early in the second half. Brown and freshman Hayley Pryor had great games off the bench both scoring in the double digits.

The Aztecs lost at home in a close game against Central Arizona College with a final score of 73-62 on Jan. 10. McLaughlin had 14 points and seven rebounds.  Banales finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Pima broke their losing streak with a  road win against Arizona Western College 63-58 on Wednesday, Jan. 7. The victory was a good team win as five of Pima’s own scored in the double digits.

Then, at No. 15, Pima lost to No. 16 South Suburban College 56-45 on Dec. 28. Pima struggled throughout the game despite Pima’s freshman Kristin Baldwin who nearly had a triple double finishing with nine points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks.

On the second day of the Stone Creek Hotel Cougar Holiday Tournament the Aztecs lost a close game against Lake Michigan College 53-46. McLaughlin had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

They closed out the tournament with a third straight loss against No. 2 North Iowa Area Community College 94-63. Pima never cut the lead by more than 17 points. Banales led the Aztecs with 19 points. Baldwin ended the game with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Pima came up short 87-80 in their first game of the Bruce Fleck Classic tournament against Division I school Casper College on Dec. 16.

They turned things around the following day when they defeated Tucson Sol 80-65.

Finishing the tournament on a high note, the Aztecs closed out the Bruce Fleck Classic beating Arizona Christian University 82-55 on Dec. 18.

After the tournament, Pima’s own sophomore Adrianna Barrientez became the fourth recipient of the Bruce Fleck Scholarship Award, which is given to students who exemplify both athletic and academic excellence.

The Aztecs proceeded to end their losing streak with an upset win over No. 6 ranked Mesa Community College on Dec. 13. In the final seconds Pryor hit a layup with an assist from Banales defeating Mesa 72-70.

Fernander was honored with the ACCAC Division II Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 8-14 having two double-doubles against both Cochise College and Mesa Community College.

The team fell to Cochise College with a final score of 74-47 on Dec. 10.

ON DECK

Jan. 31: @Glendale CC, Glendale, 4 p.m.

Feb. 4: @ Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 7: Cochise College, West Campus, 2 p.m.

Feb. 11: Mesa CC, West Campus, 5:30 p.m.

Pg14-Women's basketball

Freshman Gaby Banales makes a break for the hoop during a home game against Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Jan. 21. The Aztecs won the game, 89-51. ( Caleb Foster/Aztec Press)

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs face slide with two-game loss

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs face slide with two-game loss

By BETO HOYOS

The No. 12 ranked Pima Community College women’s basketball team (4-3, 3-2 in ACCAS conference) lost its second game in a row Dec. 6, falling 70-57 to No. 7 Eastern Arizona College.

The Aztecs never held a lead in the game. They trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half.

They started the second half with more focus and intensity and began to cut into EAC’s lead. On two separate occasions, the Aztecs cut the deficit to four points.

Sophomore Melody McLaughlin led the team in scoring with 18 points.

Freshman Shalise Fernander finished the game with 12 points and five rebounds while going 3-for-4 from field-goal range. She went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.

The Aztecs were scheduled to play at Cochise College on Dec. 10. The game took place after Aztec Press went to the printer.

On Dec. 3, PCC headed north to take on Glendale Community College but lost in overtime, 71-68.

Glendale went on an early 11-0 run and the Aztecs were behind 36-23 at halftime.

Early in the second half, Pima mounted a 12-2 run. Late in the game, sophomore Jayla Brown hit the first three-pointer of the game to make it a one-point deficit. With 46 seconds left in regulation, McLaughlin hit a shot to tie the game at 58.

During the overtime session, the Aztecs tied the game 63-63 after sophomore Heather Rogers hit a pair of free throws but Pima couldn’t overtake the lead.

Pima went 1-for-16 from three-point range and committed 33 turnovers.

McLaughlin led the Aztecs with 15 points and seven rebounds. Rogers and Fernander each scored 14 points off the bench.

On Nov. 25, Pima defeated Tohono O’Odham Community College on the road, 79-64.

They out-rebounded their opponent, 46-30, and finished with 19 assists.

McLaughlin had 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals. She was selected as ACCAC Division II player of the week for Nov. 25-Dec. 1.

Brown hit four three-point shots and finished the game with 18 points. Freshman Kristin Baldwin also scored in double figures, with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Sophomore Adrianna Barrientez played 11 minutes and finished with six points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

Pg10-Melody McLaughlin, women's basketball

Sophomore forward Melody McLaughlin protects the ball against a Phoenix defender. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press)

Athletes named All-American

Athletes named All-American

Pima Community College athletes  continued to win accolades in December.

Pg10-Shields-womens soccer honor

Shannon Shields (Photos courtesy of PCC)

Women’s soccer player Shannon Shields, a sophomore forward, was named first team NJCAA All-American. She was also named to the Second Team of the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Women’s Division I All-American list when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America released its All-American teams.

Shields helped lead the Aztecs to a Region I, Division I championship and a trip to the NJCAA national tournament. The women’s soccer team finished with a 16-6-2 overall record and an 11-0-1 record at home.

Shields was named ACCAC Division I Player of the Year and First Team All-ACCAC Conference. She played and started in 23 of the 24 games this season, and led the team in points (50) and goals scored (21) and also had eight assists on the year.

In other women’s soccer news, sophomore midfielder Sarah Dunbar and sophomore forward Rachel Ridlinghafer were selected to the Junior College Division I All-West Region team. Dunbar and Ridlinghafer both earned Second Team All-ACCAC/Region I in October.

Pg10-Vega-men's soccer honor

Arturo Vega

Men’s soccer player Arturo Vega, a sophomore midfielder, was named to the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College Men’s Division I First Team, and selected First Team for the Junior College Division I All-West Region. He was earlier named a second team NJCAA All-American

Vega was ACCAC Conference Player of the Year and named to the First Team All-ACCAC. He helped lead the Aztecs to the NJCAA national tournament after Pima posted a 21-5-1 season. Vega started in all 27 games and scored nine goals. He led the team in points (25) and assists (seven).

Pg10-Pilgrim-Volleyball honor

Kaysee Pilgrim

Volleyball player Kaysee Pilgrim, a sophomore middle blocker, was named to the honorable mention team. She led the Aztecs with 261 kills, 96 blocks and 324.5 points, and was named First-Team All-ACCAC Conference and selected to the All-Region I, Division II team.

Pilgrim helped Pima to a 16-15 overall record and its best finish in program history at the Region I, Division II tournament. The Aztecs took second place behind Glendale Community College, the eventual NJCAA Division II national champion.

-Compiled from press releases

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Retooled team has 10 freshmen

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Retooled team has 10 freshmen

By BETO HOYOS

Last season, the Pima Community College women’s basketball team was a well-oiled machine and a tough matchup for many conference opponents.

The Aztecs made it to the Division II Region I championship game as the No. 2 seed, but lost to No. 1 Mesa Community College for the third straight year.

This season, they’ve revamped their roster and brought in 10 freshmen.

“We’re really inexperienced but with that being said, we have a lot of very talented freshmen,” head coach Todd Holthaus said. “I’m really excited to see what happens.”

Holthaus is proud of the hard work his team has exhibited early in the preseason and believes the diligence will pay off.

“They’re a hard working group, extremely hard working group, I love it,” he said.

Becoming comfortable with new teammates and developing good team chemistry can take a while to develop but with the regular season quickly approaching, the Aztecs must develop chemistry on the fly.

“We’re working on our chemistry but this has been one of the lowest maintenance teams I’ve ever had,” Holthaus said.

Returning sophomore Melody McLaughlin is confident in her team and optimistic about the freshmen.

“Our defense is going to win us games and overall we communicate well,” she said.

“Being able to talk on and off the floor keeps up our chemistry and that’s just something we have to keep working on, because we’re girls,” McLaughlin added jokingly.

Newcomers to the PCC basketball program have enjoyed getting to know their new teammates and are excited to join a team with winning traditions.

“I love Pima and I love all these girls,” freshman Ashley Mack said. “Even though sometimes we get on each other’s nerve, I still love them.”

Mack expects the Aztecs to continue their high-octane offense.

“We’re big and we’re really fast,” Mack said. “We also all play pretty smart and we all get along on the court.”

Holthaus expects returning sophomores McLaughlin, Adrianna Barrientez, Jayla Brown and Alexa Arndt to lead on and off the court.

“Our leaders are probably Mel, Adri and Jayla, so we’re really inexperienced,” he said.

On Deck:

Oct. 30: Tucson Sol scrimmage, West Campus, 7 p.m.

Nov. 6-7: @ Arizona Western Classic, Yuma, TBA.

Nov. 19: @ Chandler-Gilbert CC, Chandler, 5:30 p.m.

Nov. 22: Phoenix College, West Campus, 2 p.m.

Current and former aztec players hudle prior to the annual Alumni game

Current and former Aztec players huddle prior to the annual alumni game. (Photo courtesy of PCC0

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Ross-Moreno jersey going to hall of fame

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Ross-Moreno jersey going to hall of fame

Compiled from PCC press releases

Pima Community College women’s basketball player Raja Moreno-Ross has received another honor, this time from the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The sophomore’s player jersey will be displayed in the Hall’s Ring of Honor in recognition of her 2013-14 season.

Moreno-Ross is the third Pima women’s basketball player to earn the honor. Pima All-Americans Deanna Daniels (2011) and A’jha Edwards (2013) also had their jerseys displayed in the Ring of Honor.

“Currently, we have over 100 jerseys hanging in the Ring of Honor, including high school and college All-Americans from the 2012-13 season,” Josh Sullivan, director of basketball operations & technology for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, wrote in a letter.

“With that having been the case since the Hall of Fame opened in 1999, you can imagine the caliber of players’ jerseys that have once hung in our rafters,” he wrote. “Without a doubt, Raja Moreno (Ross) is definitely a part of an elite group, and a part of history now too.”

Moreno-Ross was selected by the NJCAA as a Division II first team All-American on April 10.

It was the second straight year that a women’s basketball player was selected a Division II All-American. Moreno-Ross is the fifth Aztec to be selected first team All-American in seven years for the women’s basketball team.

This season, Moreno-Ross started all 32 games for the Aztecs. She averaged 13 points and nine rebounds per game playing almost 25 minutes per game.

Moreno-Ross was also named first team All-ACCAC and first team All-Region I, Division II.

She has verbally committed to play at the University of Hawaii.

Raja Moreno-Ross (Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics)

Raja Moreno-Ross (Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics)

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs lose in playoffs

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs lose in playoffs

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.

Freshman Melody McLaughlin takes the ball downcourt. (Photo by Peter Bernal)

Freshman Melody McLaughlin takes the ball downcourt. (Photo by Peter Bernal)

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Aztecs win two straight

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Aztecs win two straight

By BETO HOYOS

Pima Community College defeated Mesa Community College 61-58 in an overtime thriller on Feb. 8.

“We just made one more shot than the other team,” head coach Todd Holthaus said.

Mesa tied the game toward the end of regulation and extended the game to overtime.

“Mesa and Pima games are epic and today proved no different,” Holthaus said.

 With time running down, Felicia Foster found Alicia Jones open from deep as time expired. The Aztecs stormed the court in celebration.

“A great win against a great team,” Holthaus said.

 Jones finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Foster had nine points.

On Feb. 5, Pima defeated South Mountain Community College 75-53.

Coming out of the half, the Aztecs hunkered down defensively and held on to a comfortable lead. The largest lead for the Aztecs was 75-50.

Jayla Brown hit four shots from deep and finished the game with 12 points. Raja Moreno-Ross had 20 points and 11 rebounds.

On Feb. 1, the Aztecs defeated Scottsdale Community College 64-63.

The first half saw both teams exchange leads. After halftime, the Aztecs held leads that never surpassed six points.

“There were a few bad calls and we weren’t making our free throws but we did stick together,” Holly Bolen said.

With 1:03 seconds left to play, Melody McLaughlin found Foster open for a three. After a few possessions of fighting back, Scottsdale hit an open three that cut the lead to two with 21 seconds left.

“Coach always talks about playing for a full 40 minutes, not 38, not 20, but 40 and that game was not a reflection of that,” Bolen said.

Moreno-Ross tallied her tenth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 boards. Rachel Williams finished with a team-high 13 points off the bench and Foster finished with 12 points.

On Jan. 29, the Aztecs broke a losing streak when they defeated Phoenix College 81-65 and swept the season series. 

Pima took an early lead with a 15-0 run. The biggest lead of the game came after McLaughlin hit a three and put the Aztecs up 34-17.

Coming out of halftime, Phoenix College cut into the Aztecs’ lead and trailed by five. The Aztecs responded by going on an 8-0 run.

Moreno-Ross led the team in scoring, finishing with 17 points. Jones had 16 points and seven rebounds. McLaughlin finished with 12 points and Williams had 12 points off the bench.

 

Pg13-Women basketball-Rachel Williams

Sophomore Rachel Williams fights through Scottsdale Community College defenders in a Feb. 1 game. (Larry Gaurano/Aztec Press)

 

 

 

 

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.