Pima Community College sports

Pima’s Dynamic Duo — Angel Addleman & Luisa Chavez — ideal captains for Aztecs

Pima guard Angel Addleman, making the pass to Matehya Aberle, is the catalyst for the Aztecs’ execution (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the two seasons prior to this one, Pima College’s Angel Addleman and Luisa Chavez have been together with the Aztecs for three years now, not the customary two at the junior college level.

With their freshman season in 2020-21 limited to 10 games because of the pandemic, they were awarded an extra year of eligibility.

Their experience together dates to their senior season in high school — Addleman at Palo Verde and Chavez at Rio Rico — in the 2019-20 season when they played each other in the MLK Classic at McKale Center that year.

Addleman had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Palo Verde’s 61-49 win. Chavez finished with 21 points and five rebounds.

“Ever since Day One, we let aside whatever in high school and we’ve had a good chemistry, and we still do,” said Chavez, who scored a game-high 23 points in Pima’s 63-45 win over South Mountain on Wednesday night at Aztec West Gym.

“It’s really fun to play with her.”

Any player would love to play with Addleman, who sets up her teammates well with her defense, playmaking ability and high basketball IQ as evidenced in the win over South Mountain that improved Pima’s record to 11-3 overall and 4-2 in the ACCAC.

Addleman’s stats line in the game: 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals.

“Having played with her (Chavez) for so long, she knows how we have to play — we try to play fast,” Addleman said. “She runs the court. She’s there for her teammates. So I think that makes it easier to play.”

Pima coach Todd Holthaus’ transition-style attack is predicated on dominating guard play with athletic forwards that can run the court and be physical enough to crash the boards for second and third chances.

The Aztecs, who have won five straight games, have that mix this season with Addleman and Chavez with athletic forwards Matehya Aberle (niece of former Arizona player Cliff Johns), former Nogales standout Dominique Acosta and sophomore Torrance Begay.

Aberle is averaging 10.9 points a game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. She also averages 5.4 rebounds a game.

Acosta is at 10.5 points and 7.8 rebounds a game. She is shooting 60.6 percent from the floor.

Begay is averaging 8.5 points and 5.4 rebounds a game.

What makes Pima’s transition offense play “fast,” as Addleman mentioned, is the rebounding of the guards and them quickly pushing the pace afterward. Chavez averages 7.0 rebounds a game and Addleman is at 5.6.

Jaden Leslie (9.3 points a game), Aiona Johnson (7.8 points and 5.2 rebounds) and Priscila Varela (6.8 points and 3.9 rebounds) are also highly active guards.

The person at the controls is Addleman, who is coming of an ACL tear last season that forced her to miss the last four games of Pima’s 21-11 season that ended in the ACCAC, Region I, Division II championship game at Mesa.

She did not join Pima this season until after the first seven game were played.

“It’s nice to have Angel back and I think that the best part is that she’s still shaking off some rust from not playing for so long,” said Holthaus, who is 348-166 in his 16th season as head coach at Pima. “So just to have her out here, getting up and down the floor … she’s so good at finding other people, it’s nice to have her.

“I’m sure her teammates love having her, too.”

No. 10 Pima will have a rematch with longtime rival Mesa (10-3, 5-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Thunderbirds’ court. Mesa is ranked No. 6.

The programs have played each other 12 of the last 13 seasons for the ACCAC Region I title.

“We’re right where we need to be,” Holthaus said. “We get to go up to Mesa on Saturday and see what we really are.”

Holthaus said he told his players in the locker room after Wednesday’s game that the matchup with the Thunderbirds will be their biggest game of the year. He does not anticipate his players will let the emotions involved with a significant rivalry game affect their play.

“What’s funny is they just want to play,” Holthaus said. “I don’t think this group will get too high or too low; they’ll just be ready to work. It shows in our defense. That’s the thing that I’m always the most impressed with — what kind of percentage do we hold the other team to?

“These last four games we’ve kept all four teams to under 30 percent (shooting from the field). That will keep you in a lot of ball games.”

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In the game against South Mountain (5-7, 1-6) on Wednesday night, the Aztecs trailed 19-16 with 4:25 left in the second quarter before going on a 10-0 run to close out the half to take a 26-19 lead into halftime. They had 13 turnovers at the time. They had only four in the second half.

Pima’s surge the third quarter included Varela converting on a 3-point play to make it 29-19. The Aztecs made five of their first six shots in the third quarter and went on a 21-2 run to take a 37-21 lead.

Chavez finished with a game-high 23 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field and made all seven of her free-throw attempts..

Addleman went 4 for 8 from the field to go with her 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Varela contributed with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.

The Aztecs out-rebounded the Cougars 49-37.

Aberle finished with 13 rebounds.


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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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