Vaqueras hold off Tohono O’Odham

Morticia McCall hits for 16 off the bench.-Oscar Perez Pinal Central
Morticia McCall hits for 16 off the bench.-Oscar Perez Pinal Central

Ed Petruska-Pinal Central

SIGNAL PEAK — This time around, there was no letdown for the Central Arizona College women's basketball team against Tohono O'Odham.

The Vaqueras held off the Jegos 85-69 on Wednesday night at the George Young Activity Center to snap a two-game losing streak and avenge a surprising Dec. 8 loss to Tohono O'Odham.

Ayanna Clark scored 37 points for CAC, with many of her baskets coming on second-chance attempts. She had 14 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second and eight in the third.

Morticia McCall (16 points) and Megan Guadian (13) gave the Vaqueras significant production in reserve roles.

Coming off a draining 114-112 triple-overtime loss at Pima on Saturday, Central never trailed against the Jegos. The Vaqueras (15-8, 11-5 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) led 24-18 after one quarter, 52-41 at halftime and 69-53 heading into the final period.

"We stuck to the game plan and didn't rush things," CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. "We shared the ball pretty well. Sometimes we don't find our best options and we force shots. We're a different team when we find our best options."

The Jegos (12-12, 8-8 ACCAC) overcame a 50-34 halftime deficit in the Dec. 8 game to prevail 80-78, outscoring the Vaqueras 21-14 in the third quarter and 25-14 in the fourth.

Tohono O'Odham trailed by double digits for nearly the entire game in the rematch. Central went on an 18-5 run to build a 13-point lead in the first quarter and the Vaqueras twice led by 15 in the second. Ahead by 16 going into the fourth quarter, CAC took its largest lead of the night at 74-57 on McCall's 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining.

In the Dec. 8 game, "their press really bothered us," Cardenas said. "Turnovers killed us and our shots weren't falling at all."

The Vaqueras shot a sizzling 54 percent in the first half on Wednesday, going 4 for 8 on 3-pointers and 19 for 35 overall. And although they cooled off to 38 percent in the second half, a strong defensive showing allowed them to keep the Jegos out of striking distance.

Tohono O'Odham shot 41 percent for the game. After making 7 of 13 3-pointers in the first half, the Jegos were just 2 for 6 from long range in the second.

"Them hitting 3-pointers was my biggest worry," Cardenas said.

Central had a whopping 23-5 advantage in second-chance points, getting 10 in the third period. The Vaqueras had tough night at the line, however, going 12 for 23 on free throws.

Elisa Gonzalez scored 19 points and Za'Riah Griffin had 11 for the Jegos.

Tohono O'Odham trimmed the margin to single digits only once in the second half, getting within 58-49 on a basket by Ana Martinez with 4:50 left in the third quarter.