Glendale Junior College (14-8, 9-5) has been up and down this junior college season. When they have been good, they have won numerous big games this season - defeating each of the top teams in the conference. Head Coach Damin Lopez has Glendale JC playing their best basketball of the season, and the team proved again on Wednesday evening just how good a job Lopez and his staff have done this season - leading to a big hoem win over one of the conference's top teams, Pima Junior College.
Pima (14-8, 8-6 in ACCAC) head coach Brian Peabody and his team came into Wednesday's contest needing a win to attempt to catch Division-II league leader, Phoenix College. Unfortunately for Pima, they would have several players nursing injuries, especially their star player, 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Deion James. James came into the match-up with a hip-pointer and not being fully healthy. James would sit for 15 minutes in the game's first half with 2 fouls.
Pima would lead Glendale at halftime, 49-45, but would be outscored 49-38 in the second half.
James would come up big for Pima late in the game, as he would get his team going with several consecutive baskets and some strong overall offensive play. James would up make up for lost time quickly in the second half, and ignite late - finishing with a game-high 25 points in the loss.
Glendale would get a strong effort in the post from 6-foot-8 freshman post Darnell Cowart (pictured), who would score consistently throughout the game and finish with 20 points and 6 rebounds.
Glendale sophomore guard Delonn Stevenson would lead Glendale with a team-high 21 points in the victory. Stevenson would also finish a huge four-point play with 1:53 left to play in the contest - scoring on a three-pointer after being fouled, and then making the free-throw to put Glendale ahead late, 84-77.
Cowart would then go coast-to-coast and finish a nice layup in transition with less than a minute left to play to help lead Glendale to victory.
Pima freshman Isaiah Murphy scored 16 points and 6-foot-9 sophomore post Damon Dubots would contribute 15 points of his own in the loss.
Glendale sophomore guard Christian Hakilimali would also contribute 18 points in the win.
Pima split the regular season head-to-head meetings with Glendale, after defeating Glendale last month 108-96.
Glendale now moves up in the ACCAC Conference standings, passing up Pima and now sitting in second place among Division-II schools.
Recruiting Notes: Pima 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Deion James has become one of the hottest junior college prospects in the West. James had different college visitors on the evening, as Colorado State and Southern Utah both attended the game in hot pursuit of the talented juco forward. James still looks completely wide open in his college recruitment, with no clear leader at this point. His recruitment continues to soar and I look for him to gain much more recruiting attention and scholarship offers as the season progresses and college coaches begin paying more attention to recruiting.