For the second year in a row, Central Arizona College will face Arizona Western for the Region 1 men's basketball championship. The Vaqueros will have home-court advantage for tonight's game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. at the George Young Activity Center.
Central went 2-0 against the Matadors during the regular season, winning 72-64 on Jan. 2 in Yuma and 66-58 on Feb. 9 at CAC.
The 13th-ranked Vaqueros (27-4) advanced to the region final with Thursday night's 81-59 victory over Cochise. Western brings a 25-6 record into the game after defeating Mesa 74-67 in the semifinals. The third-seeded Matadors are ranked 25th.
The CAC-AWC winner will host the Region 18 champion on March 9 in the District 1 final, with the winner of that game advancing to the NJCAA tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Matadors edged the Vaqueros 57-51 in last year's Region 1 title game at AWC.
Central last won the Region 1 title in 2002. The Vaqueros were the No. 2 seed that year and knocked off top-seeded Western in the final. CAC's only other region title came in 1992.
In the Feb. 9 game between Central and Western, the Vaqueros led 32-15 at halftime after holding the Matadors to a .240 shooting percentage. AWC outscored CAC 43-34 in the second half. Caleb Carter, with 11 points and six rebounds, was a major presence for the Vaqueros in that game. Carter was lost for the season, however, when he tore his left Achilles tendon in the regular-season finale.