DOUGLAS — Tuesday’s Cochise College men’s and women’s basketball games with Pima College were canceled.

“Pima CC legendary Head Coach Brian Peabody called me last night and informed me that our game was called off,” Cochise College men’s basketball coach Jerry Carrillo said. “We hope to make this game up. We do enjoy a great rivalry with local Southern Arizona foe Pima CC. Even though Pima has never won an actual ACCAC title since the late 1980s, Coach Peabody has turned the Aztecs into a NJCAA DII powerhouse on the national scene. In his tenure we have exciting games at Pima in front of full-house crowds, with us winning the last three out of four contests.”

Pima College Sports Information Director Raymond Suarez said in an email that “out of an abundance of caution due to high cases of COVD-19 in Pima County and Arizona, Pima Community College has made the decision to postpone basketball games tonight and Thursday.

“”The college hopes to reschedule women’s and men’s basketball games against Cochise College, which had been scheduled for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. tonight, respectively, at Pima’s West Campus, and games against Central Arizona College scheduled for Thursday evening in Coolidge. The games opened the 2020-21 schedule delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Guy Meyer, Cochise College’s Associate Athletic Director, said the Apache men and women are disappointed by the cancellation and are hopeful the games will be rescheduled at a later date.

Due to the Maricopa County schools not participating in basketball this season Cochise was scheduled to play each of its opponents on the schedule four times.

“We’re going to wait for direction from their chancellor as to what they want to do,” Meyer said.

“Our student athletes are deeply disappointed at the decision,” said Pima Athletic Director Jim Monaco. “However, Pima will always prioritize the safety of students and has prioritized healthy and safety since the beginning of the pandemic.”

The college has been following strict protocols for the safety of athletes since practices began about eight weeks ago. All athletes and coaches underwent testing for COVID-19 and adhere to rules regarding the use of face coverings and social distancing.

“Our student athletes have been as diligent in safety protocols as they have been in preparation for their games,” Monaco said. “It is regrettable that this decision had to be made. However, we respect Chancellor (Lee) Lambert’s position to not put the students at risk and to not jeopardize their hard work.”

Tuesday’s game at Pima was the Apaches’ lone game this week. Next up for Cochise is a road game Feb. 2 at Arizona Western followed by a home game against Central Arizona College Feb. 6.

Fans will not be allowed at the game with Central. Both contests, however, will be streamed live on the college’s YouTube channel.

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