Arcadia Fire Basketball

Front row (from left): Charlie Nielsen, Connor Cook, Nick Gentner and Luke Gullekson. Middle row: Dillon Achen, Dutch Van Es and Will DeSpong. Back row:  Johnny McDade, Braylen Rooney, Xander Koehler, Jamison Fox and Joshua Garrison. Coaches: Chris White, Jimmy Fox and Robert Koehler.

The last weekend of February, the 7th graders of the Arcadia Fire basketball team headed to Tucson to participate in the state championship, where they won their third tournament in a row.

A majority of the 12 students from Ingleside Middle School and Christ Lutheran School have been playing together since they were in fourth grade.

“These guys are great friends on and off the court,” said Coach Jimmy Fox. 

The state championship hosted teams from all over the state. The team had to win by more points than any team with the same win/loss record. Arcadia Fire played teams from Tucson, Oro Valley and Phoenix, playing five games and winning them all. 

Fox and coaches Robert Koehler and Chris White have been coaching together for just under 10 years. 

“It’s kind of wild. Coaching is so much fun, and we are so lucky to have the best group of kids who genuinely like each other,” Fox said. “Our team parents are all awesome as well. I’m not going to lie, I like winning much better than losing!”

Fox said that the kids’ favorite part of the championship is heading to Tucson, hanging out by the pool in their off time and the Sonoran Dog food truck.

“Some of my favorite parts are playing keep away on the grass with the basketball, playing tag in the hotel and, of course, winning the state tournament,” said teammate Jamison Fox. 

“I loved having a chance at another championship. I was so happy we won,” said teammate Xander Koehler. “We had so much fun at the hotel playing tag and hanging at the hot tub. Having the team together in the van was really fun, too.”

After the tournament, everyone was ready to head home. 

“The best part is watching the kids improve. The kids love the game and seem to really enjoy practice and games,” Fox said.