-BRIAN WRIGHT Staff Writer Casa Grande Dispatch www.pinalcentral.com
CAC (7-5, 1-4) got behind early and trailed the rest of the game in an 84-76 loss at Glendale Community College on Saturday.
The Vaqueros trailed 65-53 with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the game after Glendale guard Christian Hakilimali converted a three-point play.
But CAC provided drama late, as guard JaQuan Johnson hit a 3-pointer to cut the Gauchos' lead to 77-74 with 1:27 remaining. Seconds later, center Simon Okolue stole the ball from Glendale's Darnell Cowart, which led to a jumper by CAC guard Calvin Johnson Jr., making it a one-point game.
The Vaqueros got no closer, as turnovers and fouls salted the game away for Glendale (7-5, 3-2).
CAC coach Tramaine Aaron said a lack of concentration and attention to detail led to Saturday's loss. But he added those same problems have led to the team's current four-game slide.
"We're there in a lot of these games, and then eventually our focus starts to deteriorate and minor mistakes become major," he said.
Jordan McCants had 19 points to lead Glendale, and Cowart finished with 12.
A moment in the game that defined the lack of focus for CAC was when it drew a technical foul early in the second half. The Vaqueros were making a run, and it killed their momentum.
Aaron said he didn't see what led to the technical foul being called because he was busy arguing with an official over who knocked a ball out of bounds, but he said his team can't lose its cool, especially at such a critical point in the game.
"It shouldn't have happened," he said. "We need to be more collected than that; we need to be more mature than that."
Aaron is disappointed with how the Vaqueros have performed recently, but he liked their effort against Glendale.
"We played hard; it's been awhile since we played that hard … but the message (to the players) will be it's a long season," he said. "It's not over with; it's definitely frustrating, but it's up to us to come together and turn it around."
The Vaqueros are back in action Friday night at home against Impact Academy.