HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The elusive first win at the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament continues for the Cochise College Apaches, who were defeated Monday 86-68 by the Ranger College Rangers in the first round.
Cochise was making its fourth appearance in the program’s history and has yet to get past the first round.
Five minutes into the game the Apaches had a 12-6 lead as Stephan Byard sank six straight points.
The Rangers then got going and went on a 10-0 run, taking a 16-12 lead.
Cochise battled the Rangers but never could regain the lead. The Apaches tied the game at 25-25 and 36-36 but back-to-back baskets by the team from Texas gave Ranger a 40-36 lead at the half.
Ranger began the second half with a pair of baskets to go up 45-36, sparking a 26-10 run. The Rangers led 66-46 and 71-49 at the midway point of the first half.
Brian Rios’ basket with six minutes remaining cut Ranger College’s lead to 13 at 76-63 but the Apaches would be outscored 10-5 down the stretch, ending their season.
Cochise had three players score in double figures. Sophomore Patrick Samoura led the Apaches with 16 points. Byard followed with 14 and Rios contributed 12.
Ranger College was led Jorell Satterfield, who scored a game-high 23 points. Four other Ranger players scored in double figures.
“Second half it got away from us,” said Apaches coach Jerry Carrillo. “Ranger outplayed us. We went 7-for-32 from the 3-point arc for the game. Tough night. Guys competed. Unfortunate we left the tournament too soon.”
Looking back on the season the coach added this was such a great positive experience.
“Having our guys go to school remote the fall semester and not getting all together until Jan 3, 2021, we just got better and better,” he said. “Winning our third consecutive ACCAC championship and winning the West District to get to Hutch for nationals was great. We dealt with a COVID pause and overcame. Great guys to coach and assistant coach Derek Lane came in and really put his thumbprint on these guys; he was outstanding!”
Cochise ends its season with an 11-3 record.