By: Joshua Gerard Gargiulo
PHOENIX - Sophomore night leaves bitter-sweet taste, as Men’s and Women’s Basketball close-out the 2019 season with home defeats on Tuesday.
Men’s Basketball falls two games shy of clinching their 15th-straight ACCAC Tournament berth with an 83-72 loss to Cochise. This puts an end to a record started by Matt Gordon in 2004.
The First-year coach, Duane Eason, has nothing to hang his head on. He inherited someone else’s team, a month before the start of the school year, and shined far-above the expectations set.
During his first year on campus, Eason produced a “pseudo” 20-10 record. Compliance issues unfortunately demoted the Bears to last-place halfway through the season, and they finished the season two games below .500.
Despite falling two games shy of the playoffs, Eason’s 2019 campaign posted superior numbers to Matt Gordon’s 2018 roster. Phoenix College finished 3rd in rebounds/per game with 40.3 RPG, compared to 10th in 2018 with 34.7 RPG. Eason’s team also ranked Top-three in FG made and attempted; they scored 107 more total-points, while shooting a tad lower from-the-field than last year. This year’s team also averaged an assist more, per game, than the 2018 squad.
Eight players will be returning next year: four guards, two forwards and two centers.
Women’s Basketball saw their hard-fought season come to an end on Tuesday, when they were defeated, 92-59.
Even when the going-got-tough, this team realized a 5-25 record did not truly reflect the season they had. Despite a daunting loss on “Sophomore Night,” the spirits of players’ were not withdrawn from the emotion of the momentous night.
Although their record reflects a sub-par season, nearly half of their games were tied, or saw themselves leading, at halftime. Including six games decided by less-than ten points. These games, however, were also often plagued by pesky late-game turnovers (20.6 TPG) or a lack of low-post presence (-3.6 Rebounding margin).
The upside comes on the offense end, as the Lady Bears shot better from three (31.6 %) and from-the-field (38.1 %). There is a hole-to-fill with the exits of seven sophomores, but the role players did not disappoint- this season.
To coach Kincaid’s benefit, her 1st and 6th top-scorers are returning for the 2019-2020 season. With a strong core in Alyssa Marin (11.1 PPG) and Tyra Euell-Long (6.5 PPG), along budding talents Zenysah Medina (3.8 PPG) and Bozana Zlaticanin (2.4 PPG), the Lady Bears’ future also glows with optimism.
Missing the playoffs is a different feeling for these two teams, but the short-comings of the 2019 season do not speak for the rich-tradition Phoenix College basketball has carved in the valley. Both coaches are seasoned-veterans to this sport, and both coaches can see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”