|Basketball, soccer players prepare for season|
|Written by Staci Gasser|
|Friday, 16 November 2012 00:00|
The soccer balls are being pumped up and the basketballs are being shot, meaning high school falls sports have officially come to an end, and it’s time to shift all the focus on a new season of soccer and basketball at Sedona Red Rock High School.
The fall season was one of excitement for the Scorpions as the football team ended the regular season with a winning season for the first time since 2003 with a 6-4 record and its first trip to the state playoffs since 2005; the girls volleyball team is the newest Division IV state champions ending with a 37-3-2 record; the swim team placed the highest it has ever placed in the state meet; and the cross-country team was represented by three girls and seven boys in the state meet.
Now it’s time for the basketball and soccer players to show what they can do.
Just like every high school sport, the basketball and soccer teams are still getting used to the Arizona Interscholastic Association changes and the affects the changes have had on the road to state championships. The changes regrouped the school districts so athletic teams would play closer to home, decreasing time and travel expenses. It also condensed the previous conferences to have fewer state championships, which saves the state money.
As a result, Sedona is scheduled to play teams from schools three times its size. This can affect a small school team’s chances of making it to the state playoffs because other teams have a bigger pool of talent to choose from, erasing equity of competition.
“Playing bigger schools is challenging for us, especially in basketball and soccer,” said John Parks, SRRHS athletic director. “But the coaches are better prepared this year, they’ve made adjustments, and the teams will be more competitive.”
Each team should make a good run this season and replace some of the departed senior talent.
The boys basketball team has a new coach this season, Greg Strickling, who is molding the boys to be a powerhouse on the court.
Strickling came to SRRHS this summer and brought his Nike-Sponsored program, GSB [Gregory Strickling Basketball] Nike, with him.
Strickling, who coached at Chapparal High School in Scottsdale and Scottsdale Community College, started the program three years ago with his wife. After one year of the program, Nike began sponsoring it. It molds kids into great student-athletes with the goal of signing to play basketball at a Division I university, and the Scorpions have been a part of that since the summer.
“I’m looking forward to the season,” Strickling said. “The boys have already made a lot of progress over the summer months.”
“Greg understands how to play bigger schools by exploiting their weaknesses and utilizing our strength,” Parks said.
The girls basketball team also has a new coach after Tina Hawes resigned this summer. Strickling’s wife, Jackie Strickling, took the position and is getting the girls ready for the season.
“Jackie has coached at some big schools,” Parks said. “She is better prepared and will get the girls ready for competition."
Strickling took the Pinnacle High School girls basketball team in Phoenix to five state championships.
The SRRHS girls ended the 2011-2012 season with a 16-12
For the full story, please see the Friday, Nov. 16, issue of the Red Rock News.