Scottsdale Community College men’s basketball team has 15-game win streak snapped; look to maintain top spot in division


NEVN Photography

Members of the SCC basketball team at practice

Preston Grace, Reporter

It has been a tale of two seasons for the Scottsdale Community College Men’s Basketball team. Before the Christmas break, they had a 6-4 record, going a paltry 1-4 in their last five games before the Christmas break.  Once back in action, they went on an impressive 15-game winning streak, and climbed to the top of their division with a 21-4 record.

Head coach Mark Bunker and the team had to make some potent adjustments during their time off for the Holidays.

“When we got back together after the Christmas break, we changed a few things offensively and we changed quite a bit defensively, and that’s been a really big change for us,” Bunker said. “We’ve always known that we can outscore teams, but now we can get more stops, so that’s made all of the difference for us.”

Bunker is impressed with how his sophomores have been able to take a huge leap from last season.

“I think the Sophomores have really come along, especially the guys from last year,” Bunker said. “Games that we maybe wouldn’t have closed out last year, we’re closing out and winning this year, and I think all of the guys as a whole have really taken big steps with that.”

Their 15-game winning streak was snapped after a pivotal loss to divisional opponent Chandler/Gilbert Community College on Feb. 15.  Bunker sees it as a growing point for the team.

“Sometimes it gets a little too stressful trying to keep a winning streak. I think our guys were more focused on not losing, instead of winning,” Bunker said.  “When you’re winning a bunch of games in a row, you stop looking at what you can improve on. If we go into the playoffs and lose a game like this, the season is over. Now we know what to fix.”

The Artichokes are averaging a stunning 43.2 rebounds per game, and forward Tyree Tyler is leading the pack with 10.5 rebounds per game. Bunker is proud of his team’s ability to clean the glass.

“I think it’s toughness and discipline,” Bunker said. “We have a couple guys that really get after it, and one of them is Tyree Tyler. Tyree is one of the best rebounders I’ve ever seen. He has a gift for it. He’s very athletic, very tough, and has a very high motor. Having a guy like him erases a lot of mistakes… It’s really made a huge difference for us.”

Tyler spoke about Wednesday’s loss to Chandler/Gilbert and how the team can become better on Artie Ball This Week, a weekly podcast hosted by team manager Adam Vjestica.

“We’re just going to have to look deep inside and look at ourselves in the mirror and just really ask ourselves – do we want to do this?  And if we want to go and make it to Nationals and win?  That’s going to take everything we have,” Tyler said on the podcast.

With only four games left to play in the regular season, the Artichokes find themselves in first place in their division, and ranked No. 7 in the NJCAA DII Men’s Basketball Rankings. Bunker hopes to be able to fine-tune his team to get ready for the playoffs.

“Watching film, watching practice, and making sure guys don’t get complacent. It’s a long season, and we don’t want to get stuck on a plateau, we want to keep inching up and inching forward and keep getting better,” Bunker said. “We need to look at ourselves as 0-0 every day, and try to be 1-0 by the end of the day. If we have that sort of mentality, we’ll have more success down the road.”