Apaches begin conference play

Cochise College’s Naje Smith goes hard to the basket in the first half of the Apaches game with Pima Nov. 20. Smith played a key role in the Apaches’ 99-96 win over Scottsdale Saturday by scoring on three straight possessions down the stretch.

The Cochise College men’s basketball team evened up their ACCAC record this past Saturday night with a 99-96 win over Scottsdale CC in front of an energized crowd at the Stronghold Gymnasium. The Apaches now sit at 6-2 on the year and 1-1 in the ACCAC.

The game started at a frenzied pace as Milan Szabo dominated early scoring 7 points, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots in the first five minutes to get the crowd on its feet. The two teams would exchange baskets through the first 15 minutes with neither team building a lead bigger than five points.

Down four late in the first half, Cochise would go on a 15-3 run to take an 8 point lead only to see Scottsdale respond with a 5-0 to close out the half leaving Cochise with a 55-52 halftime lead.

The second half would see much of the same action as the first half as each team repeatedly dealt and absorbed scoring runs. With under two minutes left and the Apaches trailing, sophomore Naje Smith would score on three straight possessions to get Cochise within one, and from there, defensive stops and free throws would help the Apaches to the win.

“Our guys really fought through adversity all night. When we were down, they stuck together and trusted each other to make plays instead of trying to do it themselves,” said Cochise Head Coach Jerry Carrillo. “It was a big win, and hopefully, we can build on it.”

The Apaches were aggressive and got to the line all night and took advantage of it going 26-34 from the charity stripe.

— Submitted by Cochise College Athletics

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