Mesa Community College’s men’s basketball team has had a slow start, in part because four members of the team have not been on the court. The team is 4-6 as the holiday break kicks in, but Thunderbirds coach Alton Lister feels the team is ready to turn up the heat.
“It’s been up and down for us with the major pieces of the puzzle out,” Lister said. “Gabe Freeman (the leading scorer for MCC last year) should be back and ready, along with Steve Bertrand, Rodney Brown and Andre Simmons.”
The four were out for various academic reasons, Lister said.
Already, there are signs of life from a team that finished 22-8 last season.
The Thunderbirds beat Glendale Community College 89-81 Dec. 16 and then fell in a double-overtime game to the College of Southern Idaho 93-86 on Monday.
The College of Southern Idaho came into the latter contest ranked sixth in the country in NJCAA Division I.
Even though baseball season is still a couple months out, accolades continue to come to veteran Mesa Community College baseball coach Tony “Buck” Cirelli.
Diamond Sports named him American Baseball Coaches Association Southwest Regional Coach of the Year in NJCAA Division II, according to a media release from MCC.
Cirelli received a similar honor in 2004.
Cirelli has led the Thunderbirds to consecutive appearances in the Junior College World Series in the past three years.
His 2006 squad finished with a record of 44-21 and a No. 1 national ranking.
The Scottsdale Community College men’s basketball team is ranked 15th in NJCAA Division II and is 6-2 so far this season.
Mesa Community College’s women’s basketball team is ranked 15th in NJCAA Division II with a 6-3 record, bolstered by a 69-49 win over Glendale Community College Dec. 16.