Arizona Western Junior College (26-7, 17-5) won this year's ACCAC Division-I Conference Championship - pulling out a junior college season that would outlast the other teams in the conference. After a season where each team battled throughout the season, it would come down to the conference's top two division-I teams in the end.
After winning their first semi-final match-up at home against Central Arizona, 85-67, Arizona Western would face #2 seed Cochise JC in the ACCAC's championship game - protecting their home court with a 100-93 win over Cochise College to capture their first Region-I title since 2012.
Five guys reached double-figures for Arizona Western in the victory, as the team used a late run to take a double-digit lead with less than five minutes to play. With the score tied at 69, Dajuan Beard hit a free throw, and Torin Webb followed it up with a layup one possession later for a 72-69 lead. Beard hit two more free throws after Lamont Traylor hit a bucket to cap a 7-0 spurt that put the Mats up 76-69.
Cochise (25-7 overall) cut the lead to five at 79-74, and Webb answered with six straight points. The Region-I Tournament MVP knocked down a free throw before nailing a wide open corner three that pushed the lead to 83-75 with 5:40 to play.
After Cochise’s Shadeed Shabazz sank two free throws, Webb blew by his defender for an easy layup that kept the lead at eight. He led the Matadors with 24 points and added six rebounds.
Cochise cut the lead to 89-80 with 2:59 left, but Apache head coach Jerry Carrillo was whistled for a technical foul after arguing through a timeout, and into the beginning of the next possession. Webb calmly sank both free throws for an 11-point lead, and then the Mats beat the press to score two more for their largest lead of the game.
Arizona Western would then cruise to the chamnpionship victory from there.
The Matadors hosted the College of Southern Idaho in the District Championship gam, only to lose at home 92 to 89.
Congratulations to the Arizona Western Junior College basketball program, including head coach Charles Harrell and his wonderful staff on this year's ACCAC title.
(Arizona Western is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16).
Here are the tournament results for the ACCAC D-I teams in this year's playoffs . . .
ACCAC Division-I Championship Game
Arizona Western vs. College of Southern Idaho - CSI wins 92-89