Pima College, EAC Women, South Mountain Men Hoopsters Head Into NJCAA National Championships Action

South Mountain Community College basketball team and their supporters celebrate after the Cougars upset Phoenix College to win the NJCAA region 1 championship.

South Mountain Community College basketball team and their supporters celebrate after the Cougars upset Phoenix College to win the NJCAA region 1 championship.

Story and photos by Jessie Vanderson

The women’s basketball team at Pima Community College in Tucson, and the men’s hoopsters from South Mountain Community College in Phoenix had better be ready to roll. Both squads, winners of their respective NJCAA Region I-Division II championships two weeks ago, will be in action this week at the NJCAA Division II women’s and men’s basketball national championship tournaments.

South Mountain, which upset favored Phoenix College to win the NJCAA Region I-Division II championship, will open tournament action Tuesday against Louisburg College of North Carolina in a first round game at NJCAA Div. II men’s national championship tournament in Danville, Ill. That tournament will also run from March 15-19, with the title game being played Saturday night as well. Louisburg is the No. 6 seed while South Mountain entering the tournament as the No. 11 sporting a 20-12 record. The Hurricanes of Louisburg College capped their season with a sparkling 27-5 record. South Mountain beat Phoenix College 74-71 in the Div. II region championship game to punch its ticket to the national championship tournament.

Pima College sophomore Shalise Fernander, who will be in action at the NJCAA Women’s Division II National Championship Tournament this week in Kansas, was selected the Most Outstanding Player at the NJCAA Region I-Div. II championship tournament in Tucson.

The Pima women, a No. 3 seed, will face off against a tough Hagerstown (M.D.) Community College, the No. 14 seed, Tuesday at the NJCAA Division II National Championship tournament at Johnson Country Community College in Overland Park, Kan. The national championship tournament will be contested at the facility from March 15-19, when the championship game will be played Saturday night. Pima enters the tournament as the owners of a 25-7 record. Hagerstown finished the year 24-6. The Pima women beat Mesa Community College 78-54 in the NJCAA Region I-Division II championship to earn its trip to the ‘big dance.’

Star players Akia Frett (L) and Tani Pierre-Emile have led Eastern Arizona College into action at the NJCAA Women's Division I national championship tournament.

Star players Akia Frett (L) and Tani Pierre-Emile have led Eastern Arizona College into action at the NJCAA Women’s Division I national championship tournament.

Eastern Arizona College of Thatcher faced off against Northern Oklahoma College-Enid in a first-round game at the NJCAA women’s Division I National Championship Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. Eastern upset Central Arizona College 84-66 in the NJCAA Region I-Division I championship game to grab a berth in the prestigious national championship tournament. Eastern entered the national championship tournament with a 24-8 record. Central Arizona, winner of the ACCAC regular-season, finished the year with a 25-6 record.

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