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Campo Verde and Highland celebrate first-ever boys basketball state championships

Gold celebrating the best of GPS!

School spirit is at an all-time high for two of our GPS high schools. Congratulations to the Campo Verde Coyotes and the Highland Hawks, who are celebrating their first-ever state championship titles in boys basketball! Both teams showed amazing heart, grit and synergy in their fight for victory.

“What a perfect ending to a tremendous season for our boys. TEAM basketball was the name of the game for us all year and in the championship game on Friday. Our five starters all scored in double-figures, which was the key to winning the game and ultimately the state championship. I am so very proud to be the head basketball coach here at Campo Verde, and it was an absolute joy to share it with our Campo community on Friday night, especially all those Campo Crazies (our student section),” said Varsity Head Coach Mark Martinez. 

The Campo Verde Boys Basketball team posing on the court with their championship banner and trophy.Campo Verde went into their title game as the #1 seed, facing off against the #2 Millennium Tigers. By halftime, the Coyotes were down by three points, but they quickly turned things around in the third quarter. Campo led for most of the fourth quarter by four points until the team expanded their lead to 11 and claimed victory. 

“It has been an enjoyable four years watching this group of seniors grow, and then to cap it off with a state championship is so special for the entire CV family. Coach Martinez and his staff have done an excellent job growing the program to this level of success and matching our values as a community with the team’s character. The turnout from the Campo Crazies and our community was exceptional. The state championship was the perfect way to celebrate this team and what they mean to our school, and I couldn’t be happier for the entire Campo Verde community, especially our team and coaches,” said Campo Verde Principal Tyler Dumas.

It was a nail-biter for Highland High as they faced off against Brophy Prep, both schools fighting for their first championship title in boys basketball. The 6A game went into double overtime, making for a dramatic finish at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. In the end, the Hawks triumphed over the Broncos with a 63 to 61 victory.

“We’re very excited with how Saturday went. This really is a very unique group. A lot of these guys have played together for a very long time. They’re neighborhood guys. They are super dependable, hardworking, high-character guys. It’s kind of cool to see it end the way it did,” said Highland Varsity Head Coach Todd Fazio.

The Highland Hawks have won multiple state championship titles in sports this year, including football and basketball. Fazio believes that’s a true testament to the school’s leadership as well as the coaches, players, families, staff and students. 

 “For something like this to happen, you have to have everybody pulling on the same side of the rope. From Brian Yee, our principal, to Brandon Larsen, our athletic director, who are unbelievably supportive of me as a coach and our players, but also the teachers who have supported our guys. We had teachers in the courtside seats cheering our guys on and had been to every game. Highland is a pretty tight-knit group,” Fazio said.

The Highland High boys basketball team poses with their coaches and their championship banner and trophy.Yee, who is in his first year as principal of Highland High, is proud to witness and be supportive of the success happening at the school.

“Coach Fazio has cultivated a program that is built on discipline, hard work and the importance of being a team player. It is extremely rewarding to see his efforts result in Highland High’s first ever boys basketball state championship. His leadership is reflected through the actions of his student athletes. They conduct themselves with poise, great sportsmanship and a love for the game on and off the court. His team is built on a foundation of student athletes who have gone through our feeder school boundaries and have developed through Coach Fazio’s program when they started here as freshmen. The state championship game reflected what Coach Fazio and his staff had prepared the team to handle - during the ups and downs of the game, the boys never wavered with their focus, never gave up and finished their quest for the title by working together to earn that championship trophy. We are grateful for Coach Fazio, his coaching staff and his team for earning the first boys basketball state championship for Hawk Nation,” Yee said.

Both Campo Verde and Highland High’s boys basketball teams will be recognized and celebrated for their achievements by Superintendent Dr. Shane McCord and the GPS Governing Board at an upcoming meeting.

To learn more about Campo Verde and Highland High, visit their websites and schedule a school tour or enroll today!

Written by Kailey Latham, Photos: AIA