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‘Not there yet’: Valley Christian finding its way to defend title

Greg Haagsma spent the last 23 years building Valley Christian’s boys basketball program into a powerhouse at the 3A level. 

Haagsma led Valley Christian to eight title games during his tenure as head basketball coach, winning six championships. The Trojans’ most recent title came last season, when they beat Pusch Ridge in the championship game. 

Nearly a year later, Haagsma once again has Valley Christian on track to win a state title. But he doesn’t believe this year’s team has reached its full potential despite a 16-2 record through 18 games. 

“We aren’t there yet,” Haagsma said. “Playing against teams like Scottsdale Christian and Paradise Honors again later in the year, th...

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Campo Verde soccer relying on talent, luck this season

There’s no question Campo Verde’s boys soccer program has been one of the most consistent and dominant teams in recent years.

The Coyotes have been to three straight state title games, winning one in 2018 over Chaparral, which was in the 5A Conference at the time. The Coyotes lost in 2017 to North Canyon and last season to Sunnyside, which went undefeated. 

Campo Verde coach Andrew Guarneri, who also coaches the girls’ team, last years 5A title winners, knows what it takes to help lead his program in the right direction year after year. But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a little help at times. 

“It definitely takes a little luck,” Guarneri said. “There’s some good teams out t...

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Diego Navarro succeeding in honor of late father

Diego Navarro sat on the bleachers inside Arizona College Prep’s gymnasium with his basketball team practicing in front of him. 

Diego was deep in thought, recalling in his mind all of the great memories he and his father, Daniel Navarro, shared together.

“It would have to be when we went to see the Cowboys play,” Diego said with a smile. “We are both big Cowboy fans. It was a really good day. We just spent the day together, talking about sports.

“He meant everything to me. He was my biggest role model.”

Daniel passed away last August at 48 years old after suffering from a rare brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). According to the Mayo Cli...

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Gilbert basketball reloaded with new leaders

Gilbert High’s basketball team stood alone atop the 5A Conference last year after winning its first state title in program history. 

The Tigers were led by a senior-heavy roster, with point guard Doc Self and forwards Carson Towt and Jake Ehmann leading the way. Towt and Ehmann combined for nearly 20 rebounds per game last season, which helped Gilbert dominate the boards and led to most of its points throughout the season. 

Gilbert coach Jay Caserio recognizes that as one of the major differences between last year’s squad and the one he has this season. While the Tigers have 6-foot-8 senior Griffin Lamb to crash the boards this season, Caserio knows that is one of the biggest opportunities for...

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Perry’s strong junior class leading team to success

The Perry Pumas’ girls’ basketball team is looking to make a statement this season they are not only among the top teams in the state but in the entire Southwest region of the U.S. 

Led by a group of eight juniors, they are looking to show how they’ve continued growing in the offseason to make a run at the state championship once again this season. 

Last year, the Pumas lost in the 6A quarterfinals to Valley Vista. The loss fueled a fire inside of them to come back even stronger this year. Perry coach Andrew Curtis said pairing the girls’ hard work and determination to come back even better will make for an explosive combination with the high level of talent on the team. 

“When...

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