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Magic, madness, memories: Rewinding the Arizona HS sports year – The Arizona Republic


The 2021-22 school year is over and all that’s left are memories. Some good, some bad, some thrilling, some tragic, some magic.

And mostly triumphant. It goes fast.

Soon, it will be back to the grind of trying to win championships for high school sports teams. Or does that grind ever stop for coaches and kids? 

Let’s look back at these storylines that defined Arizona high school sports over the last nine months.

1. Open and shut 

Scottsdale Saguaro’s rise to the top of the Arizona high school football world showed what a school with a 4A-size enrollment can do. The Sabercats rode the slogan, “Burn the Boats,” all the way to their first Open Division state championship, beating the two biggest heavyweights — Chandler Hamilton and Chandler— on the way to the gold ball.

Saguaro has become a magnet for talent and it doesn’t matter the size of the enrollment. The program has been attracting some of the best talent in the Valley and coach Jason Mohns knows how to mold them into winners. 

“We just took down the blue bloods of Arizona in back-to-back weeks, and I’m pretty damn proud,” Mohns said in Sun Devil Stadium after his Sabercats ended Chandler’s five-year championship reign with a 20-15 win that December night.

2. Shot heard ’round the country

Phoenix St. Mary’s dug and clawed and climbed its way back and was ready to celebrate inside its packed gymnasium a 4A semifinal boys basketball win, leading 73-71 with 2.3 seconds left and inbounding the ball under Gilbert Mesquite’s basket.

Then, Mesquite senior guard Nate Calmese made the play of the year, the moment of the year, maybe the play and moment of the decade, if not the century, or ever, in Arizona high school sports history.

It wound up the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

He deflected Styles Phipps’ long pass down court. The ball bounced back to him, and beyond midcourt, Calmese heaved it. Time ticks off. Buzzer. Swish. Game over, Mesquite wins 74-73. Riding that emotional tidal wave, Calmese capped his career with 34 points and 10 rebounds in the program’s first state title, a 64-58 win over top-seeded Tucson Salpointe Catholic.

“St. Mary’s was a great game, that was a crazy shot,” Calmese said afterwards. “But we weren’t satisfied at all. We were celebrating for a little bit and then we got over it. We just locked in and got prepared for Salpointe.”

3. Head of the class

Scottsdale Horizon’s 5A girls volleyball championship in November capped a remarkable year for not just a great program but a great coach, Valorie McKenzie, who showed that she only gets better with age.

</…….

Source: https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/high-school/2022/05/27/magic-madness-memories-rewinding-arizona-hs-sports-year/9943151002/

The 2021-22 school year is over and all that’s left are memories. Some good, some bad, some thrilling, some tragic, some magic.

And mostly triumphant. It goes fast.

Soon, it will be back to the grind of trying to win championships for high school sports teams. Or does that grind ever stop for coaches and kids? 

Let’s look back at these storylines that defined Arizona high school sports over the last nine months.

1. Open and shut 

Scottsdale Saguaro’s rise to the top of the Arizona high school football world showed what a school with a 4A-size enrollment can do. The Sabercats rode the slog…….

The 2021-22 school year is over and all that’s left are memories. Some good, some bad, some thrilling, some tragic, some magic.

And mostly triumphant. It goes fast.

Soon, it will be back to the grind of trying to win championships for high school sports teams. Or does that grind ever stop for coaches and kids? 

Let’s look back at these storylines that defined Arizona high school sports over the last nine months.

1. Open and shut 

Scottsdale Saguaro’s rise to the top of the Arizona high school football world showed what a school with a 4A-size enrollment can do. The Sabercats rode the slog…….

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