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Vaqueros head into break on a high note

Central's DJ Hawkins, right, drives as South Mountain's Anthony Hightower defends during Wednesday's December 11, 2019 game at George Young Activity Center. Oscar Perez/PinalCentral
Central's DJ Hawkins, right, drives as South Mountain's Anthony Hightower defends during Wednesday's December 11, 2019 game at George Young Activity Center. Oscar Perez/PinalCentral

Vaqueros head into break on a high note
By ED PETRUSKA Contributing Writer Dec 11, 2019

 

SIGNAL PEAK — The Central Arizona College men's basketball team heads into the holiday break feeling a whole lot better than it did a week ago.

The Vaqueros made a decisive 14-2 run midway through the second half of Wednesday night's game against South Mountain and held on for a 76-69 victory at the George Young Activity Center.

The win was the second straight in Arizona Community College Athletic Conference play for Central following an 0-4 start.

"It's been tough for us, and we had to lick our wounds," CAC coach Tramaine Aaron said. "We had some guys step up tonight and make some big contributions. Hopefully that continues" when ACCAC play resumes on Jan. 4 against Chandler-Gilbert.

Ahead 46-44, the Vaqueros (5-5, 2-4 ACCAC) hit 6 of 7 shots — including 3-pointers by Ryan Pate and Brenton Woods — during a surge that extended their lead to 60-46 with 7:53 remaining.

South Mountain (2-7, 1-5 ACCAC) got no closer than 10 points after that until going 4 for 4 from the field in the final 50.9 seconds.

"We had too many lapses in the first half," Aaron said. "At halftime, I told the guys they needed to lock down on defense and be patient on offense. We were able to make those adjustments."

Central shot 58 percent from the floor in the second half, going 14 for 24, in overcoming a 32-31 halftime deficit. The Vaqueros also made 14 of 16 free throws in the final 2:35 and went 17 of 19 from the line overall.

 

Woods and JC Canahuate both scored 18 points for the Vaqueros, who were coming off Saturday's 86-62 thumping of Tohono O'odham. Canahuate had 14 and Woods scored 13 in the second half. Ryan Pate connected for four of CAC's seven 3-pointers and contributed 16 points, with 10 coming in the second half.

Anthony Jaramillo led the Cougars with 26 points. He made four of their six 3-pointers. Makael Rainbow scored 14 points for South Mountain.

Central hit seven of its first 11 field-goal tries in taking a 17-7 lead with 12:40 left in the first half. But they went 5 for 21 after that.

South Mountain erased a 28-20 deficit in the final three minutes of the first half by outscoring the Vaqueros 12-3, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Jaramillo and one from Christian Allen.

The eighth and last lead change of the game came with 14:59 to play on Shakeil Bertrand's basket that put CAC up 43-41.

The Cougars shot 42 percent from the field, going 25 for 60. They struggled mightily at the line, sinking just 13 of 27 free throws.

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