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Young Pima goes for 2nd-round win

Citizen Staff Writer



It’s been a good ride for the Pima Community College women’s basketball team.

Now the question is whether it can continue the success at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Tournament in Peoria, Ill.

Pima (26-5), which received a first-round bye, plays Kankakee (Ill.) College at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a second-round game. Kankakee beat Metropolitan-Penn Valley (Mo.) 59-49 on Wednesday night.

The Aztecs were strong finishers, winning five of their last seven games. The last two wins, against Scottsdale (73-62) and Glendale (61-47), pushed Pima this far in the postseason for the first time.

“We had a lot of things to fall our way getting here,” Pima coach Todd Holthaus said.

Pima was not projected to do well this season with a young squad. Holthaus had three sophomores at the beginning of the season and finished with two on the roster. Courtney Payne (Cienega High) contributed the most as a second-year player.

“You don’t expect a young team being able to accomplish as much as they did,” Holthaus said. “It’s been fun.”

Freshmen starters Tia Morrison (Phoenix Copper Canyon) and Abyee Maracigan (Flowing Wells) have stood out all season. Both were named first-team all-conference players.

Morrison finished first in the conference in rebounding, averaging 11.4 a game, and seventh in scoring with a 16.4 average.

Maracigan was ninth in the league in rebounding (8.0) and 14th in scoring (14.0).

“We had consistent play from Tia and Abyee the entire season,” Holthaus said. “We had nights when they were off and Courtney, NeNe Villalobos (Sunnyside), Deana Bledsoe (Phoenix Copper Canyon) and Azya Peoples (Flowing Wells) picked us up. We had different people stepping up nightly.”

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