Apaches begin conference play

Cochise College’s Naje Smith goes hard to the basket to score two of his 22 points in the first half of the Apaches game with Pima Nov. 20.

The Cochise College Apaches began their conference season on Wednesday, Nov. 20 falling to Pima Community College 91-78 in Cochise Stronghold.

Cochise jumped out to an early 10-point lead before the Aztecs went on an 11-0 run taking a 12-11 lead.

Tied at 20 at the midway point of the first half, Pima outscored the Apaches 28-22, the next 10 minutes taking a 48-42 lead at the half.

Pima maintained its lead the second half outscoring Cochise 43-36.

Pima freshman Jake Lieppert out of Scottsdale Saquaro High School, burned the Apaches with a game high 48 points, connecting on 10 of 14 three-pointers. He also pulled down 10 rebounds.

Naje Smith led the Apaches in scoring with 22 points, Damon Wall followed with 17, and Arion Lewis contributed 10.

On Saturday, Nov. 23, the Apaches snapped a two-game losing streak and picked up their first conference win of the season, beating Scottsdale Community College 99-96 in Cochise Stronghold.

Cochise led 55-52 at the half. Each team scored 44 points the second half.

Scottsdale’s Xavier Fuller lit up Cochise for a game high 37 points.

Smith led Cochise in scoring for the second straight game pumping in 25 points. Wall and Patrick Samoura followed with 14 each, and Lewis and Milan Szabo each scored 13 points.

Cochise, 6-2 on the season, 1-1 in conference, has just one game this week, taking on Central Arizona College in a 7:30 p.m. game on Tuesday that will be played in Coolidge.

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