The Division II Pima men’s and women’s basketball teams picked up a split against D-I Arizona Western on Tuesday night. Seven sophomores from the women’s team and six from the men’s side were recognized during the final regular season home stand for both squads.
Sophomores Denesia Smith (Cienega), Bailey Johnson (Tucson), Katie Bell (Nogales), Erin Peterson (Catalina Foothills) Moana Hala’ufia (Marana), Sydni Stallworth (Palo Verde) and Bree Cates (Combs) were recognized by coach Todd Holthaus after his squad defeated the Matadors 79-73.
The Aztecs (22-7 overall, 16-6 in conference) jumped out to a 12-0 lead but found themselves clinging to a 37-34 lead at the break. Pima shot 7-for-11 from the 3-point line in the first half and that proved to be the difference with Arizona Western (22-8, 17-5) limited to 2-9 from the arc.
The Matadors were able to cut the Aztec lead down to one point several times in the second half but Pima led 55-46 after three and held on for the 79-73 victory.
Ranked No. 9, the Aztecs will take the 2-seed on Tuesday, Mar. 7 in the opening round of the Region I, Division II tournament and will host No. 3 seed Scottsdale Community College at 7:30 p.m.
Stallworth led all scorers with 18 points, Cates scored 17, Smith had 13 and Katey Roquemore (Henderson, Nevada) added 11. Smith was 3-4 from 3-point range and Roquemore went 3-9. Hala’ufia pulled down 10 rebounds and Peterson had eight.
Brianna White (Stockton, CA) led Arizona Western with 16 points.
Pima head coach Brian Peabody recognized sophomores Deion James (Empire), Dakota Kordsiemon (Catalina Foothills), Emilio Acedo (Salpointe), Zach Evans (Hamilton), Jacob Anastasi (Cave Creek) and Damon Dubots (Temecula, CA) during halftime of the men’s game.
Pima (19-11, 13-9) struggled early and ended the first half down 56-31 to the Matadors (24-6, 16-6). Both teams shot poorly from 3-point range with Pima going 2-16 and Arizona Western finishing 3-13. The scoring disparity came from second-chance points for the Matadors off of a 32-14 rebound advantage in the first half alone.
The Matadors had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and nine in the second while the Aztecs were limited to nine for the whole game. The final rebound margin for Arizona Western was 53-35 which helped lead to a final score of 98-71.
Still, Pima earned the 2-seed in the Region I, Division II tournament and the Aztecs will host No. 3 Glendale Community College on Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 7:30 pm.
James led the Aztecs with 15 points, Acedo had 14 and Isaiah Murphy (Cienega) scored 10. Arizona Western freshman Lamont Taylor (Las Vegas) led all scorers with 24 points and he also had nine rebounds.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com