Pima Community College sports

Chandler-Gilbert again subdues Pima’s highly potent offense in Aztecs’ loss

Pima coach Brian Peabody (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Winless in two games against Chandler-Gilbert while scoring well below their season average against the Coyotes, Pima has another shot at them when the teams meet again at the Aztec West Gym on Jan. 24.

Pima, which lost 80-71 to Chandler-Gilbert on Wednesday night at Aztec West Gym, has scored at least 100 points in 10 of its 15 games this season and the Aztecs lead NJCAA Division II programs in both points per game (108.9) and assists (24.4).

In the two games games against Chandler-Gilbert, those averages are only 70 points and 6.5 assists.

Pima had eight assists in Wednesday’s loss after posting only five in the previous setback at Chandler-Gilbert last month. Dillan Baker was the lone starter with an assist in that game with one.

The Aztecs have made 42.4 percent of their shots, 28.6 percent from 3-point range, in the two games against the Coyotes.

They are shooting 54.8 percent from the field, 40.1 percent from beyond the arc, overall.

Pima has also committed 37 turnovers in its two games against Chandler-Gilbert.

When Pima coach Brian Peabody (understandably upset) was asked what needs to be done between now and Jan. 24 when Chandler-Gilbert visits again (in the ACCAC’s new, uneven scheduling), he mentioned:

“Not sure. It was men versus boys. I don’t know if I can get my boys to be men in two weeks. I don’t think so. They dominated every single facet of the game. There was not one that we even came close to matching — intensity, rebounding, loose balls, 3’s, free throws … nothing.”

Pima (14-2, 6-2 in ACCAC) had its six-game winning streak snapped by the Coyotes (14-1, 7-1).

Peabody called three timeouts in the game’s first three minutes when Chandler-Gilbert got out to an 8-4 lead.

The Coyotes have depth, size and athleticism at most positions.

The clamps they have put on Pima’s offensive execution is what the Coyotes have done to most of their opponents.

Chandler-Gilbert ranks No. 1 in the ACCAC in scoring defense, allowing only 62.9 points a game. The Coyotes are No. 2 in field-goal percentage defense (40.2).

Chandler-Gilbert coach Steve Silsby and his staff made a defensive adjustment at halftime after Baker, a former Salpointe standout, scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field in the first half.

Things looked promising for Pima with a 40-36 halftime lead.

Baker had little space to get free in the second half, however, and scored only two points on 1-of-7 shooting, 0 of 4 from beyond the arc.

“Honestly, the second half I think their defense keyed in on me a little more,” said Baker, who is bound for NAU next season. “But saying that, I felt like they did that in first half as well. I thought the ball was just moving and it had life in the first half, and in the second half, I think it stuck a little too much.

“And that goes for everyone, including myself. When the ball sticks like that, it’s hard to get open shots. It’s hard to move the ball, hard to get assists … I mean, we’re leading the country in assists. This game, we didn’t have that many.”

Pima freshman Moses Demalek of Paradise Valley scored on a pair of possessions after grabbing offensive rebounds to tie the game at 50-50 with 13:24 left.

The Coyotes went on a 16-4 run to put Pima in their biggest deficit of the game at 70-56.

Toate Sika, a Rincon/University graduate, hit a pair of free throws and freshman Cohenj Gonzales made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 72-66 with 3:17 left. The Aztecs did not get closer.

Gonzales had 13 points with three steals and two rebounds while former Baboquivari standout Kota Benson had 12 points and three steals off the bench.

The Aztecs next play at Arizona Western in Yuma on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Arizona Western (13-5, 6-2) has one of the top defenses in the region allowing opponents only 69.9 points a game and 40 percent shooting from the field.

Pima’s potent offense will be put to the test again.

What will Pima work on before facing Arizona Western?

“No clue,” Peabody said. “Bad coaching. I have no idea. I don’t know how to instill a heart. I don’t know how to say, ‘Hey, now we’re gonna play harder.’ I don’t know. We’ll see.”


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 in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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