The goodwill two mothers of Pima women’s basketball players showed yesterday exemplifies what Pima Community College women’s basketball coach Todd Holthaus is trying to do to encourage his young, developing team.
Valerie Bribiescas, mom of sophomore forward Shauna Bribiescas, made cupcakes and brownies for the players.
Jessica Nakai, the mother of sophomore guard JJ Nakai, helped Valerie hand out the cupcakes and brownies to the players as they emerged from the locker room following yesterday’s 81-73 loss to Scottsdale Community College at the Pima West Gym.
It was a kind gesture to help bring the Aztecs along in their long journey this season.
Holthaus is trying to do the same positive type of reinforcement as coach amid a 4-6 start with half a roster that is new to the program.
“The bottom line is we want to be good in March so I just told them right now (in the locker room) it sucks to lose. People don’t like to lose but you got to stay with it, you have to keep your head down and do all the things that matter the most,” Holthaus said.
Nakai, the reigning ACCAC Division II Player of the Year out of Coconino High School in Flagstaff, led the Aztecs with 22 points and five assists yesterday.
Hallie Lawson, a freshman forward from Gilbert Campo Verde, had 15 points and seven rebounds while former Marana star Alyssa Perez, a freshman guard, finished with 11 points with four assists and three steals.
The Artichokes went on a 27-5 run to start the third quarter to take a 61-40 lead. The Aztecs closed out the quarter with a 13-0 run to go into the fourth quarter down 61-53.
Holthaus’ team managed to dwindle the lead down to 76-73, but Scottsdale kept the lead thanks to its perimeter shooting. The Artichokes made seven 3-pointers in the second half and were 13 of 24 from beyond the arc in the game.
“We are learning how to play hard all the time,” Holthaus said. “Teams are just shooting the 3 on us so well.”
In five conference games, in which Pima has a 1-4 record, the Aztecs are making only 29.4 percent of their 3-point shots while opponents are making 35 percent of theirs.
Longtime @APlayersProgram assistant Jim Rosborough (in white shirt), who spent two decades with Lute Olson coaching the Wildcats, is a quality assistant coach for @PimaAthletics women's hoops coach @AztecCoachTodd Holthaus (in black). pic.twitter.com/NDFpPjcO3S
“We are still a work in progress. We have a lot of young, new faces. Our schedule has been brutal. Out of the six losses, four are DI losses. It is what it is,” Holthaus said.
“We’ll be OK. I am still trying to figure out who can do what. Who is a good practice player as opposed to a game-situation player. We have one more game before (holiday) break. Nice thing about being JUCO is you get a little of a break so we can sit back and evaluate some things and come back and finish it up.”
After playing at Tohono O’Odham on Wednesday, the Aztecs do not play again until the Bruce Fleck Classic from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 at Pima West. Conference play resumes Jan. 5 with a home game against Mesa.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.