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Jose GarciaMultimedia Journalist/Historian email@example.com
Carl Hayden dusts off basketball championship trophy caseJan 6, 2013
(Coach Argie Rhymes (second from right) and his Carl Hayden basketball team celebrate after winning their disctrict tournament final. Photo by Jose E. Garcia/aia365.com)
The Carl Hayden player couldn’t keep holding the championship trophy over his head as parents took pictures.
“Man, this (trophy) is heavy,” the player said.
Please excuse Carl Hayden for forgetting how much a championship trophy weighs, because it’s been a long time since the boys basketball program flexed its championship muscles.
But after beating North 57-51 Saturday night in the championship game of the Phoenix Union High School District Holiday Classic tournament, the wait for a trophy was finally over for Carl Hayden.
Argie Rhymes, the coach who put Carl Hayden on the state’s basketball map and stuck with his program despite some lean years, allowed his players to bask in the moment after the game at Betty Fairfax. But it didn’t take parents long to urge Rhymes to join his team on the court before the flash bulbs went off.
“It (championship win) is very important for the school and the kids,” Rhymes said. “You work hard for the kids to come up and do a great job. Hopefully this will inspire them to work harder.
“We still have a lot of work to do. Every game we have to prove that we can play this game and that we are as tough as anyone in the state, because right now a lot of people still take us for granted.”
Carl Hayden’s coaching staff’s decision to switch from a zone to a man-to-man and start trapping at half-court helped the team erase a 10-point third period deficit.
Carl Hayden (12-4) took the lead for good with 5:50 remaining in the game after a basket by junior forward Bryant Ayers (game-high 23 points) put Carl Hayden up 43-41. Carl Hayden increased its lead to eight thanks to a steal by A.J. Navarette and Amadou Gueye’s quick thinking after it seemed like the ball would go out of bounds.
But Gueye found Ayers under the basket to complete a great sequence that led to two points. Gueye, a junior forward just like Ayers, was named the tournament’s MVP.
“Carl Hayden is back,” Gueye said. “Carl Hayden is back. That’s all I have to say.”