GLENDALE, AZ – As the 2022-2023 high school basketball season begins, so does a new era for both the boys and girls teams of Ironwood High School.
Both teams participated in their first-ever media day, and players from both teams were thrilled and grateful to be taking part in this new experience.
“I’m so excited,” said junior Trinity Bobbitt. “It’s a big step for our whole program, and I’m excited to build it.”
“We wanted to do something that would be new but also a lifelong memory that they can come back and say, ‘hey we’ve done that,’” said boys head coach Jordan Augustine.
The girls team will be playing with a new coaching staff led by Tatum Henderson. Henderson said that she was ready to come to Ironwood and lead this team, mostly due to the staff that she had met during her interview immediately welcoming her.
“When I walked into the interview room, I felt like Ironwood was a place that I could have a family and fit in,” Henderson said. “I’m super happy with my choice.”
With this new regime, one of the priorities is to build a new culture, after the girls program previously lacked some structure. Some girls already feel the difference in the program and were excited about what this new staff brings to the future of the team.
“It’s a drastic change,” said senior point guard Alexis Villa, “I’m just really happy about having a solid coach and having a coach that’s really dedicated to us.”
On top of the new bond with the new coaching staff, the bond between the girls on the team has only gotten stronger through adversity and changes, and across the board they believe it helps set the team apart.
As for Augustine, he believes that his team has high ambitions following a successful 2021-2022 season.
“We don’t measure success with wins and losses,” Augustine said. “It will always be [about], 10 years from now, ‘what kind of men do they look like?’ I think we’ve done very well [with that].”
“As far as basketball is concerned, we have quite a few young men now playing at the collegiate level….. work ethic and skill set wise I think they can do a lot of things.”
The team plays with the new “Be Better. Be Different” slogan, which players have embraced by working on improving their skills during the off season, such as senior Leonard Romayor working on his shots from the outside and his reads.
Additionally, this will be the first full season for the junior Class of ‘24 that hasn’t been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mask mandates have been lifted for both players and audiences and full capacity is once again available. Seniors in the program are excited to have a sense of normalcy in the final season of their high school careers.
“These past two years have been kind of difficult with the mask mandate and having to play with masks,” said power forward Jordan Kuac. “But finally being able to play with my guys and not having restrictions and being able to have fun has been great. I love it.”
The boys team will play their first game of the season at Boulder Creek tonight while the girls team will play Boulder Creek at home in their fifth game after going 1-3 at the Scorpion Shootout last week.
Photo and video content from the Media Day can be found here.