He also thanked the parents whose contributions often go unnoticed, “but it makes a big difference on and off the court.”
“The chemistry is such that we’re not dealing with personalities and jealousies,” Lopez said. “These are sportsmen and gentlemen, and 99 percent of them get good grades. I attribute it to the great job the parents are doing.”
He also credited the Pep Band and cheerleaders team with making the basketball program “a class act.”
“No other school in the conference has a pep band,” he said. “And I’m always getting comments about how well (the cheerleaders) perform. They add another touch of class to the basketball team.”
Lopez said he started the season with four goals, three of which the team realized.
The first was to finish in the top three in their conference, which they did. The second was to go to State, which they were unable to accomplish. The team did increase and improve rebounding and defense as they’d hoped, slashing the average points given up per game from almost 70 to 46. Their defensive strength made them strong contenders everywhere they went.
“We were in every conference game,” Lopez said.
Next year, the varsity team will play in the 4A League.
“We’re strong enough to hold our own,” said Lopez. “Our eight top players are coming back and our goals will be higher next year.”
The program also found strong leadership in new JV basketball coach Perry Smith.
“He brought a lot of energy to our team,” Lopez said. “The JV team was very successful. They were the only JV team to beat Seligman.”
Cheerleading coach Theresa Barth thanked assistant coach Peggy Russell for her help and also thanked music teacher George Haughton for letting the squad use the band room.
The cheerleaders also had some thank you’s, particularly for superintendent Sheila Breen, who they called “our cheerleader” and senior Sarah Monfort “who helped us start this team.”
Girls basketball coach Andrew Aldaz expressed his appreciation for his team, which had a difficult season but kept on fighting.
“I’m proud of the girls this year,” he said. “It was a struggle but they’ve come a long way.”
Because of their hard work, he said, the team has worked itself into a strong position for next year as evidenced by their performance against Joseph City at the end of the season.
“We were in the game the whole time,” Aldaz said. “We’re not losing any seniors while our conference is losing a lot of key players. We’re coming back strong and competitive next year.”
Other businesses that helped support the team through the season were McDonald’s, We Cook Pizza and Pasta, IMAX, Verkamp’s, Pepsi, Coca Cola and Frito-Lay