Men’s Basketball holds first place

Cochise wins 6th in a row

There was only one thing to do Wednesday night in Douglas, and that was to be at the Stronghold Gymnasium to watch two high powered basketball teams compete. Cochise College took on Pima Community College for the second time this year, and the game lived up to expectations. Pima came in holding the #12 ranking in the latest NJCAA national poll for division 2 and the only win at the Stronghold in the last three years. The Apaches, who have been on a winning streak since the New Year, were able to neutralize the high octane offense of the Aztecs and come away with an impressive 77-67 victory to hold first place while creating a two-game separation in the standings from Wednesday night’s challenges.

The game was a tale of two halves. After a hard-fought first 11 minutes of the game, Pima was able to hit a couple of shots in a row and capitalize defensively, forcing the Apaches into tough shots that allowed them to take a 7-point lead into halftime at 28-35. Right away in the second segment of the game, the Apaches were rejuvenated and used their athleticism to turn the tide of the whole game into their favor. There were some big stops by the Apaches and transition baskets. The momentum only grew after that. Mahki Morris led the Apaches in scoring with 23 points. His ability to take the defensive rebound and go coast to coast for three straight baskets diminished anything that Pima did in the first half. Jamaure Gregg chipped in with 17 points (14 in the second half) and a game-high 14 rebounds. Gregg and Justus Rainwaters’ defensive aggressiveness totaled five blocked shots made a big difference and helped the Apaches get out and run. Rainwater finished the game with 13 points and seven rebounds.

“We knew Pima was going to come out and play hard. They did that in the first half, and we weren’t ready,” Head Coach Jerry Carrillo said. “I give all the credit to the fellas because they stuck together. Naje Smith didn’t have a game that we are used to seeing, but he let us all know that we needed to stick together and we did just that. We got a lot of help from our sophomores tonight. They led the charge in the second half. This was a good team win for us.”

UP NEXT

Cochise College men’s basketball will be back in action Saturday, January 26 versus Scottsdale Community College at 7:30 pm in the Stronghold Gym in Douglas. The Apaches seek to avenge one of their two conference losses and create more separation in the standings on their quest to a conference championship.