Pima picks up crucial wins with playoffs en route
By: Hank Robichaud
On Feb. 23, The 13th ranked Aztecs defeated the Phoenix College Bears by the final score of 107-102 to close out their final home game of the season, and winning eight of their final nine games.
Down 96-95 with 5:52 left, the Aztecs went on a 9-0 run to take a 104-96 lead with two and half minutes left. The Bears then scored six straight points to make it a one possession game at 104-102. Sophomore Abram Carrasco missed a three-pointer but grabbed his own offense rebound to give Pima a fresh 30 seconds on the shot clock. He missed another corner three-pointer but sophomore Robert Wilson grabbed an offensive rebound with under a minute left. Freshman Rashad Smith converted 1 of 2 free throws to make it 105-102 with 15.3 seconds left.
The Bears were unable to make the three-point shot attempt and sophomore Kennedy Koehler grabbed the defensive rebound. He hit two free throws to seal it.
The Aztecs and the Bears traded the lead 14 times and the score was tied on 13 occasions. Pima trailed 61-53 at halftime and outscored the Bears 54-41 in the second half.
Carrasco scored a game-high 41 points on 14 for 21 shooting and 6 for 8 from three-point range. He passed Murphy Gershman for second on the Pima all-time scoring list. He now has 1,211 points and needs 30 points to surpass Greg Cook (1,240).
The Aztecs split their meetings with the Bears. Pima lost 111-96 last month in Phoenix.
The Aztecs have locked up the No. 1 seed for the NJCAA Region I, Division II Tournament taking place in two weeks.
Fed. 20, the 13th ranked Aztecs took on the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyotes 85-69, to take a season sweep over the Coyotes.
With the score tied at 54-54 with 10 minutes left, the Aztecs went on a 20-7 run in five and a half minutes to take a 74-61 forcing the Coyotes to call timeout with 4:39 left.
The Aztecs used a 9-0 run late in the first half to take a 32-24 lead. Pima held a 37-30 lead at halftime.
Sophomore Kennedy Koehler had a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds while fellow sophomore Abram Carrasco scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half. Freshman Rashad Smith also scored in double figures as posted 15 points with six rebounds.
On Feb. 16, the 10th ranked Aztecs had their six game win streak snapped by the South Mountain Cougars after losing 92-79 despite numerous late game comeback attempts. This snapped the Aztecs six game winning streak. The Aztecs started off slow when they were outscored 46-32 in the first half. They were not able to climb back into the game to get the win, even with a few late game run.
The Aztecs and the Cougars split their regular season meetings. The Aztecs won 73-70 last month at the West Campus.
On Feb. 13, the 10th ranked Pima Community College Men’s Basketball Team picked up a victory against the Thunderbirds of Mesa Community College 90-77.
The win was made it 17 out of the last 19 for the Aztecs. Even more important was the fact that with the win the Aztecs secured the No. 1 seed for the NJCAA Region I, Division II Tournament that starts on March 6.
“This win meant a lot because now if a team wants to knock us out they’ve got to come to our house,” said head coach Brian Peabody.
Four players scored in double figures for the Aztecs: Sophomores Kennedy Koehler (19 points, 8 rebounds), Robert Wilson (14 points, 10 rebounds), Davonte Eason (13 points, 4 rebounds, five assists) and Freshman Rashad Smith (10 points, 7 rebounds).
MONTY GANTT Contributed to this article.
The Aztecs Head into the playoffs on a roll and lock up region 1 Division 2 Number 1 seed for the NJCAA playoffs.