2017-2018 – Season Summary
The 2017-2018 varsity basketball team was composed of six seniors (Jaxson Baker, Colin Besh, Ian Burke, Xavier Juniel, Christian Kirkland, and Ben Paul), eight juniors (Sammy Cibulka, Jaden Cons, Ryan Gilburne, Dalton Hogan, Alec Owen, Brody Popham, Ethan Smith, and Marques White), and one sophomore (Basil Ribakare). With six players returning from the previous year, but only one returning starter, the team spent a tremendous amount of time in the off-season adding strength in the weight room and gaining experience on the court. That commitment included participating in a fall league at Central High School in September and October, which provided an excellent opportunity to gain valuable playing experience prior to the start of the season on October 30th.
After three weeks of practices, the team spent the third weekend of November in both Phoenix and up at Manresa for its annual retreat. Over the course of two days, the 2017-2018 Broncos set team goals and rallied around the idea of constantly striving to play its best game of the year in the next game on the schedule. With that in mind, Brophy opened the season on November 28th with a 62-61 victory over Mountain Pointe on a last second lay-up by senior post, Colin Besh. After that close win, Brophy won their next three games by an average of twenty points, and then headed to the 44th Annual Father Barry Classic hosted by Jesuit High School in Sacramento, CA from December 7th-9th. Players were hosted by families of Jesuit High’s students, and spent three days competing against top private schools from California. After beating the defending tournament champion, St. Francis (Mountain View, CA), in the opening game, the Broncos beat St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda, CA) in the semifinals and then faced the host school, Jesuit, in the championship game. In a highly competitive, back-and-forth game, Brophy hit some timely shots and locked down defensively and was able to emerge with a 55-47 victory. This was the first time that Brophy won the Fr. Barry Classic since 1981. Senior Ian Burke averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game and was named the MVP of the tournament. Fellow senior Jaxson Baker averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds and was named to the All-Tournament team.
Following their success at the Fr. Barry Classic, Brophy returned to Phoenix and edged Perry in overtime 47-46 and Boulder Creek 63-54 in a game played at Talking Stick Arena. Thus, Brophy carried a perfect 9-0 record into the VisitMesa.Com Basketball Challenge over Christmas break. This was the first year that Brophy participated in the VisitMesa, and they started off with victories over eventual 2A state champion Rancho Solano Prep, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo, CA), and Highland (“How Brophy Prep got to be the best 6A team in Arizona high school basketball” – AZCentral.com). In the final game of the VMBC, Brophy matched up with Federal Way, a perennial state title contender in Washington. After a close game through the first twenty minutes, Federal Way went on a 14-0 run and handed Brophy their first loss of the season, 64-47. Brophy rebounded from this loss to win each of their next four games by 5 points or less, including a 54-49 double overtime win at home against Chandler. Defense continued to fuel a lot of Brophy’s success in January, which was exemplified by holding Basha scoreless for the first 13:37 of the second half in a January 23rd match-up at Brophy.
In one of the most exciting games of Arizona’s high school basketball season, #1 Brophy (22-1) faced #2 Pinnacle (18-6) on Friday, February 2nd at Brophy’s Robson Gymnasium. Pinnacle jumped out to an early double digit lead in the game, but as they had all season, the Broncos kept their poise and responded by ratcheting up their defensive intensity, rebounding, and playing unselfishly on the offensive end. By halftime, the deficit was cut to 24-21, and by the end of the third quarter, Brophy held a 38-34 advantage. During the fourth quarter, Brophy stretched the lead to 49-39 before Pinnacle came storming back to take the lead by one with less than ten seconds remaining. The Broncos kept their composure, and on the final possession of the game senior Jaxson Baker hit a game-winning three-pointer to give Brophy a 62-60 win at the buzzer. With over three thousand fans in attendance, it was an absolutely fantastic game atmosphere (“Brophy beats Pinnacle at the buzzer, wins 11th straight” – AZCentral.com).
Ultimately, the Broncos completed one of the most challenging schedules in the state with an 18-0 record, which placed them 1st out of 41 teams in 6A and gave them a first round bye in the state playoffs. In their opening tournament game, Brophy played at home against #16 seed, Corona del Sol. The Broncos put together a fantastic defensive effort, holding Corona to only 19 points through three quarters en route to a 57-37 victory. This sent the Broncos on to the state quarterfinals where they faced #9 Perry, a regional opponent, for the third time during the season. Both teams were very familiar with one another, and the game became a tough, grind-it-out defensive battle. The Broncos again held a playoff opponent to fewer than forty points and won the game 47-38 to move on to the state semifinals and a rematch with #5 Mountain Pointe (“Ian Burke’s clutch baskets power Brophy Prep into 6A semifinals with win over Perry” – AZCentral.com). From the opening tip, Brophy trailed in the game. However, as they had all year, the Broncos continued to fight their way back and were able to cut Mountain Pointe’s lead to two points several times late in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, they were never quite able to finish the comeback and ended up losing 62-58 (“Mountain Pointe hands Brophy Prep 1st loss to Arizona team in 6A semifinal” – AZCentral.com). The Broncos finished the season with a 26-2 overall record.
The entire coaching staff would like to thank all of the 2017-2018 Brophy basketball players and families for their hard work, dedication, and support, particularly the six seniors. The Class of 2018 helped Brophy to finish with its best overall record in more than a decade, but, most importantly, they provided exceptional leadership and a terrific example of the importance of team play to the players who will follow them. They have set a new expectation for the success of Brophy basketball, and they will be greatly missed. Also, special congratulations are extended to Premier Region Player of the Year Ian Burke (’18), Premier Region Defensive Player of the Year Marques White (’19), Premier Region 1st Team selection Jaxson Baker (’18), Premier Region 2nd Team selection Ben Paul (’18) and Premier Region Honorable Mention selections Colin Besh (’18) and Xavier Juniel (‘18). Baker and Burke were also named to the 6A All-Conference 1st Team.
2017-2018 – Roster
Director of Basketball Operations: Brooks Fanger, ’19
Team Manager: Freddy Soto Salas, ’18
Video Manager: Jake Shoen, ’18