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AIA365 Staff | Students

Don Ketchum

Staff Writer,

Carl Hayden hoops coach Rhymes still has magic touch

Jan 4, 2013

He has had many good players and some that haven’t been as good, particularly in recent years.

But the fact remains – after a decades-long career, Argie Rhymes still can coach basketball.

This could be one of those years when he takes his Phoenix Carl Hayden team for a deep playoff run – something the Falcons have not done in awhile.

They have shown surprising resiliency in the Phoenix Union High School District Holiday Classic at Laveen Betty H. Fairfax High.

After dropping Laveen Cesar Chavez from the unbeaten ranks with a second-round win on Thursday (Jan. 3), Rhymes’ Falcons came back with an impressive 60-47 win over Avondale Westview in a semifinal game on Friday night (Jan. 4).

Carl Hayden (11-4) earned a berth in Saturday night’s (Jan. 5) championship game against the winner of the other semi late Friday night between host Betty H. Fairfax and Phoenix North. Title tipoff is 8 p.m.

“Our guys are coming together. We are more organized,’’ said Rhymes, who has been at Carl Hayden for nearly 30 years after building a strong program at Phoenix Union before it closed.

He admits it is much harder these days to keep a quality program afloat and having some players move on to higher-profile programs where they believe they have a better chance to win.

Rhymes has a handful of seniors on his roster, but many of the key players are underclassmen.

After a tie at the end of the first quarter, the Falcons began to find their comfort zone with a zone and became more aggressive on the boards.

Carl Hayden became even more assertive in the third quarter, using a 17-2 run over the first six minutes to essentially put the game on ice.

“We played good defense, and we rebounded pretty good. I told them after the first quarter that they weren’t blocking out (under the basket) and they did a better job after that,’’ said Rhymes, whose team wasn’t nearly as tall as Westview.

As for winning the tourney title, he said, “We are going to have to play a lot better.’’

There is really no statement to be made, to prove they belong.

“We’ve already done that,’’ he said.

Junior Amadou Gueye led the way for Carl Hayden with 16 points, including a thunderous jam after he made a steal midway through the third quarter.

Rhymes’ grandson, junior Jordan Natt, had 14 points, and sophomore guard Nicholas Peace had 10.

John Gray led Westview (13-3) with 14 points, including four 3-pointers.