MESA, AZ - When Mesa's two basketball teams take the floor Saturday against Eastern Arizona, the games will have entirely different meanings for each team.
For the MCC women, a win would go a long way toward securing the No. 1 seed in the Region I tournament, while the men will use the contest as a tune-up for the regionals, having grabbed the top spot last Wednesday.
The women have a one-game lead over Pima, with each team having two to play. However, the schedule seemingly favors the Aztecs who need only finish in a tie with the T-Birds to claim the No. 1 spot.
Mesa is hosting the number 14 team in Division I, and will close the season entertaining Tohono O'odham Tuesday. PCC, on the other hand, travels to winless South Mountain Saturday and plays at home against Scottsdale Tuesday.
On the bright side for MCC (18-9, 13-7), however, is it's showing earlier this year against EAC. In a road game the T-Birds took the Gila Monsters (24-3, 18-2) to the limit in a 57-53 loss. Kylie Herd (So., Phoenix, AZ/Arcadia H.S.) scored 17 for MCC and Lacey Viselli (So., Surprise, AZ/Valley Vista H.S.) added 15. Ashley Duffy was the only Gila Monster in double figures with 13.
The MCC men cliched the No. 1 seed with their 89-64 win at Chnadler-Gilbert Wednesday, their second straight year owning the top spot in Division I.
Not only does that give the Thunderbirds home games throughout the regional, but there is even one further benefit. The men's champions from Region I and Region 18 will meet in a District playoff at the site of the Arizona champion, which would mean Theo Heap Gym should Mesa claim the title.
The T-Birds scored a 95-72 win when the teams met in Thatcher, AZ, in January. Mesa placed five in double figures with Kyle Bingham (Fr., Mesa, AZ/Mountain View H.S.), Andrew Jones (So., Portland, Ore/Westview H.S.) and Khari Holloway (So., Jaclkson, Miss/Mountain Pointe (AZ) H.S.) all scoring 16. Reggie Oliver led the Gila Monsters with 17.