Scottsdale Junior College (14-12) was the hottest team in the ACCAC heading into Wednesday evening's match-up with league-leader Cochise College. As winners of their last 5 games in a row on the season, Scottsdale JC head coach Mark Bunker and his staff would need to prepare their team for another big victory. They would like their chances at home and after building a big, early lead over Cochise.
Cochise College (21-5, 13-5) would come into the game with their eyes set on taking a sole spot for the conference lead in the ACCAC, but after getting down early in the game, it would look like a big upset would be in the cards for Scottsdale.
Scottsdale would jump out to a quick 19-9 advantage behind strong play from talented 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Greg Minor Jr. Minor is the son of former NBA guard Greg Minor, and his ability to handle the ball and break down defenses and finish from mid-range and inside the paint is among the very best in the conference. Minor and skilled 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Trent Molesworth would help Scottsdale jump out to a big 33-18 lead - a 15-point advantage over Cochise with 7:37 left to play in the first half.
But all Jerry Carillo coached teams do one thing - they play hard and with a high level of intensity. Cochise would storm back into the game, while Scottsdale would fail to make many substitutions. The Cochise team is very deep and they would go to their bench quite often, keeping their players fresh for their big run.
Scottsdale would hold on to a narrow, 40-36 lead at the half.
Cochise would keep the game's momentum heading into the second half, and would begin the second half with a 8 to 1 run behind the leadership of 5-foot-9 sophomore point guard Arell Hennings. Hennings would push the basketball up the floor quickly and often to open teammates in the second half, as Cochise would take a 44-41 lead with 16 minutes left to play.
Molesworth would keep Scottsdale in the hunt, after he would hit a long, high-arching three-pointer with a defender in his face. The Molesworth three-pointer would ignite Scottsdale again, and they would go on another big run of their own. Scottsdale would build a 10-point margin, 56-46, with 12:32 left to play, and after a three-pointer from 6-foot freshman guard Ben Arqueros.
But, again, Cochise would storm back after a barrage of three-ponters from 6-foot-6 sophomore wing Justin Jones. Jones would knock down three consecutive three-pointers for Cochise to give them back the lead, 68-67 with 3:55 left to play. After a nice basket inside from talented 6-foot-6 freshman forward Dallas Polk-Hilliard, and three free-throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt by Justin Jones, Cochise would take a 75-72 lead late in the game.
Ben Arqueros would do it again for Scottsdale though - making another three-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 75.
With the game tied, the smallest player on the floor, Arell Hennings, would take the game over for Cochise from the free-throw line. With both teams in the bonus, Hennings would convert 5 of 6 free-throw attempts down the stretch to pull Cochise to a nice 88-82 road win - putting Cochise solely in first place in the ACCAC.