It was a busy winter for area schools as they made the most of the limited winter sports season. Arcadia High School, Veritas Prep, Xavier and Brophy College Prep each put a cap on successful basketball, soccer and wrestling sessions with various accomplishments.
Arcadia High School
The girls varsity soccer squad finished 8-6 overall, with six of their wins at home. A 3-1 loss to Millennium in the first round of playoffs closed out the season.
The varsity boys were 5-8 as both the boys and girls teams ranked 4th in the 5A Northeast Valley conference.
The varsity boys basketball team also fell in the first round of playoffs, losing 60-58 to Desert Mountain after going 9-8 overall.
Looking to the future, Coach Stephen Danford said they want to improve their rebounds and build on this season’s accomplishments with their sights set on a state championship. AHS had several standout players, including senior Kieran Carr, who was named the Region Offensive Player of the Year, and Max Majerle who made the All-Region First Team. Sophomore Nate Parras was voted by his teammates as the most improved player.
The girls basketball team bounced back from an 0-5 start to win five of their next 11 games. Four of the losses came down to just one or two possessions. They finished 5-13 overall and 1-7 in the region.
Coach Ives Machiz is proud of how the Titans stepped it up throughout the winter. “We had a challenging season, with a lot of players in new roles or getting their first significant time on varsity,” Machiz said. “Our team improved greatly as the season went on. We developed good chemistry and were much more competitive. Like every team, we had to work through restrictions and schedule changes, but we adapted.”
After graduating six seniors in 2020 and missing a regular season of off-season training, the team came together to figure out their weaknesses and start moving in the right direction.
Point guard Kasey Stauffacher was named to the All-Region First Team, while forward-center Katherine Ducharme and guard/forward Dallas Ligon were honorable mentions.
“Last season was marked by resilience and growth in the face of challenges,” Machiz said. “Next season, we will use the lessons we learned to continue that progress, strengthen our chemistry, return to the playoffs and have fun.”
The Falcons varsity boys soccer team made it to the state semifinals, but their postseason run came to an end there with a 6-4 loss to American Leadership Academy Gilbert. Veritas won 3-0 over Chandler Prep in the first round and 4-2 over Gilbert Christian in the quarterfinals. They were 12-4 overall and 7-1 in 3A Central as they finished second.
The varsity girls soccer team went 9-2-2 and finished first in the 3A conference with five wins and two draws. Their season came to an end with a loss to Arizona College Prep in the first playoff round.
The varsity boys basketball team had five wins and nine losses, and the varsity girls team had five wins and 12 losses. The girls went 2-3 in their conference and ended 4th in the 2A Metro conference.
The Gators had a lot to celebrate this year as they won their 11th soccer state championship in school history. The varsity girls team secured a 10-2-1 record and the championship with a 2-0 win over Chaparral.
“Team chemistry and talent were our strengths this season,” Coach Barb Chura said.
The varsity basketball team also had a great season run, finishing with a 13-4 record and the only losses were against the top two teams.
“I thought it was a good season especially given all the unprecedented challenges,” Coach Jennifer Gillom said. “I don’t think anyone believed that we would finish in the final four of the 6A division with such a young team. They showed a lot of resilience and perseverance.”
Moving forward, the Gators will look to build on their work ethic, court awareness and teamwork. Gillom is excited to see where the team can go from here.
“We must improve on the defensive end and execute consistently. This is a very young team, and some of that is to be expected and should correct itself with time,” Gillom said. “Our goal is to win a state championship. I truly believe as these players continue to develop, they are closer than they think.”
Under the direction of Coach Paul Allen, Brophy soccer won the 6A boys state championship for the third consecutive year – Brophy’s 10th state title in program history.
The Broncos entered the playoffs with just one regular-season loss. They went up against the San Luis Sidewinders in the title game. With a 1-1 stalemate after 30 minutes of overtime, the game went to penalty kicks to determine the winner. Senior goalkeeper Bryan Figueroa blocked the Sidewinder’s final try and victory went to the Broncos, 3-2.
Brophy basketball headed into the playoffs seeded in the top eight for the fifth year in a row. The Broncos made it to the semifinals and ultimately lost to Sunnyslope, who went on to win the Division 6A title.
Brophy wrestling put two Broncos on the podium at the state meet – sophomore David Sweetman, undefeated in regular-season matches, finished in third place. Freshman Ty Trickle finished fourth at state.