In what was their last home game, the MCC men’s basketball team fought tooth and nail against the Pima Aztecs on Feb. 25 to earn a close victory in overtime and retain their 3rd seed in the upcoming playoffs.
The Thunderbirds third overtime game in a row ended in victory this time as the Thunderbirds triumphed over the Aztecs, 94-93 after a tense overtime period.The Thunderbirds trailed for much of the first half until just after the 10:00 mark when the team began to rally back.
By the end of the half the Thunderbirds had recovered most the deficit with the T-Birds behind by 1, 41-40.
Both teams exchanged the lead over the course of the second half. In the closing moments of the second half the Aztecs scored and tied the game, sending it into overtime. The overtime period was heated and tumultuous, with multiple lead changes, monster dunks and clutch three-pointers.
At the end of the overtime period an easy score by the Thunderbirds raised the final score to 94-93.
Multiple athletes on the Thunderbirds had huge games including several players who came off the bench and provided much needed support for the T-Birds. Jamil Wilson-Jones was the team’s highest scorer with 19 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists. Michael Vos-Otin followed close behind with a healthy 16 points, 5 assists and 6 rebounds.
Noe Anabir came off the reserves to serve up 13 points and 5 rebounds. James Hampshire also came off the bench to help the Thunderbirds and scored 12 points and snagged 9 rebounds. When prompted about the close victory Thunderbird Jamil Wilson-Jones said, “We’ve gone through a lot this year and for the sophomores and the people that we look to step up in big games it feels great. Because they did their job and did what they were supposed to do all the way down the bench. It always feels great to pull out a big win like this.”
When asked about their overtime win head coach Sam Ballard said, “It feels great, we needed some kind of momentum shift going into the playoffs and that definitely helps.”The Thunderbirds are optimistic for the playoffs this year but they have one more obstacle in their way, Phoenix College. The Thunderbirds will play their final regular season game against the Bears on Feb. 28 at Phoenix College, starting at 7:30 p.m.