By Nate Martinez
On October 4, the Pima Community College Women’s Basketball team celebrated last season’s Division II Region I championship with a ring ceremony.
The team got together that Sunday afternoon via zoom call, organized by head coach Todd Holthaus, Athletic Director Jim Monaco and Vice Chancellor Bruce Moses, to reflect on the past season, as well as their accomplishments in their final game.
Each player received a box with the ring, nicknamed the “Infinity Stone” by assistant coach Pete Fajardo, as well as a sweater and a team picture. They were instructed not to open until the zoom call.
The Aztecs earned this accomplishment by defeating rival school, Mesa Community College by a convincing score of 76-59. The win also marks the first time in the last eight years that the away team won the championship game.
“I don’t know how important the win was, but I will tell you that it is one of the most fun I’ve ever experienced,” said Holthaus when asked about the importance of the victory. “The women were locked in the minute we got on the bus and they weren’t to be denied that night.”
Unfortunately for the Aztecs, the NJCAA Division II tournament was cancelled last March due to the outbreak of COVID-19. They were the 7 seed going into the tournament.
“I felt really bad for the ladies because they were the ones who had earned it,” said Holthaus. “Honestly, I really felt we were playing as well as any of our teams had in the previous trips. We were on a 9-game winning streak, shooting it well and defending as well as we ever had. I liked our matchups in the 1st two rounds and from there you only had to win two more to be Champs. We could have gotten it done!”
They finished 25-7 prior to the tournament cancellation.
The women will begin their season in the spring, a switch most sports teams will have to get used to.
As of now, the team is staying healthy and keeping in close contact. Holthaus said he tries to have at least one zoom meeting with the team each week.
Holthaus said he intends to take things at the right pace, making sure his players do not get hurt when they can start working again.
Once the season does start, he and the team like their chances.
“We have a lot of talent coming back with a great group of freshmen as well. So, hopefully we will make a run at another championship with this group.”