Due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday last week, the Cochise College Apaches had just one game on Tuesday, Nov. 25, knocking off Central Arizona College 73-54 in Coolidge.

Cochise jumped out to an early lead, never trailed, eventually winning by 19.

According to Cochise College Coach Jerry Carrillo, defensive integrity, a willingness to sprint back, and massive communication on the defensive end, were all huge for the Apaches in getting the victory.

“The team worked on the defensive end of the floor, which was evident all night as CAC could never find a rhythm and ended up shooting 29 percent from the floor,” he said.

The Apaches limited CAC to just 18 made field goals for the night.

The other big key to the night was sophomore Naje Smith pumping in a career-high 33 points, grabbing six rebounds, and setting the tone by having five blocks on the night. Smith repeatedly made tough shots and kept the Apaches lead at double digits most of the night. Freshman Arion Lewis helped seal the victory with timely three’s and going 6-8 from the free-throw line in the last two minutes to finish with 19 points.

“This was a good win for us moving forward. With Thanksgiving break, sometimes the team can come out and look disinterested like they already want to be home,” Carrillo said. “Our guys didn’t show that at all. They came out energetic, especially on the defensive end, and it ended up being the best we have played defensively so far this year. We need to build on that, as our schedule over the next two weeks is tough.”

The Apaches have two road game this week beginning with a trip to Yuma on Wednesday, Dec. 4 for a game with Arizona Western. On Saturday, Dec. 7 the Apaches will be in Thatcher for a game with Eastern Arizona College.

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