Two days after Shadow Mountain players waved four fingers and paraded around Gila River Arena with another gold ball, and claimed their run of four state titles is the best dynasty in Arizona basketball history. Everything stopped abruptly.
Now the focus turns to the team’s architect, former NBA and University of Arizona guard Mike Bibby and an police investigation into sexual abuse allegations from a Shadow Mountain teacher of incidents which allegedly took place two years ago.
Bibby was relieved of his duties on Tuesday while the investigation continues. Shadow Mountain can forget about going to New York for a third straight year to play in the National Finals. And now Bibby might find it difficult to land a college or NBA coaching job now, even if eventually exonerated.
Shadow Mountain’s dynasty ends with a fourth consecutive state title and fifth in six years — and cloud hanging over Bibby and his program.
But there’s no denying the dynasty or the talent that achieved this feat.
Here is how I would rank the 10 greatest boys basketball dynasties in Arizona high school history:
No. 1 Tempe Corona del Sol, 2012-15
The Aztecs won four consecutive state titles in the state’s biggest conference and capped it with arguably the greatest team in Arizona prep history, going 33-1 and finishing ranked No. 8 in the nation in 2015, during 6-foot-11 Marvin Bagley III’s freshman year. They went 127-7 and coach Sam Duane Jr., stepped down with the school holding a 70-game winning streak against Arizona schools.
Had Duane not stepped down and had the Bagley family not left Tempe and moved to California, Corona might be looking at an eighth consecutive state championship. Bagley’s little brother Marcus would have followed, point guard Dalen Terry never would have left Corona for Hillcrest Prep, and not even this Shadow Mountain team would have been them.
No. 2 Shadow Mountain, 2013-19
You could go back to 2012 when this began. That was the year Michael Bibby, Carlos Johnson and J.J. Rhymes were freshman, coming in from Mike Bibby’s AAU Team Bibby. Mike Bibby was a parent yelling from the bleachers during that 24-7 2012-13 season that fell short early in the state playoffs. The next year, Jerry Conner was named head coach but his former star player, Mike Bibby, ran the practices and the games and started the dynasty run of five titles in six year. Conner left after one season to be head coach at Horizon, knowing it was Bibby’s team. Guards Jaelen House (Bibby’s nephew) and Jovan Blacksher won four state titles in four years.
Actually, the Eagles’ run from 1980-91 may have been the best for any school in Arizona history. Thatcher played for the state title 12 consecutive seasons, winning six 2A titles in a row from ’81-86, under Paul Nelson, one of the most underrated and unassuming head coaches this state has ever seen.
Nelson won eight state titles between ’81-91. He won nine titles overall, beginning in 1978. During a four-year stretch, from ’81-84, the Eagles lost a total of six games.
No. 4 Phoenix East, 1971-81
This is period during which Royce Youree paved his Arizona Sports Hall of Fame path. His Longhorns captured state titles in 1971, ’73 and ’75, and would have had one in ’74 had 6-10 Steve Malovic not willed the Alhambra Lions to a 68-64 four overtime win over East. It still is considered one of the greatest state championship games in state history.
The dynasty East would have had if the school didn’t close in 1982, because Youree was in the prime of his coaching life and the school was family that he felt got ripped from his heart. He led East to back-to-back title in 1980 and ’81 with his last title team going 28-0 and beating a Gary Ernst-coached Chandler team 68-38 in the final.
No. 5 Phoenix Union, 1955-68
Ed Long started this dynasty run in ’55 and ‘ 56 with back-to-back titles and a combined 45-1 record. After not reaching the state final in ’57, the Coyotes ran off four consecutive state titles at the biggest level. Long was head coach of the first two and Wimpy Jones the last two in ’60 and ’61.
Jones led PU to back-to-back championships in ’67-68. During that era, the Coyotes produced power forward Argie Rhymes, who became a basketball coaching icon at Phoenix Carl Hayden, which became the beneficiary of Phoenix Union closing the same year as East in ’82. Rhymes was the head coach at Phoenix Union, before it closed. And moved over to lead Carl Hayden, where he still is coaching.
No. 6 Mountain View, 1995-2007
This was the golden era in Gary Ernst’s amazing run towards 900 all-time victories, the most in Arizona preps ever. The Toros went 31-0 in 1995, beating a Shadow Mountain team in the state final that was led by junior point guard Mike Bibby.
They won back-to-back titles in ’98 and ’99. That ’98 team had the most wins (34) ever for a state championship team and it featured an enforcer, Todd Heap, who went on to a great college and NFL career as a tight end.
Ernst did it again in 2005 with a 32-1 title team, then the dynasty peaked during back-to-back championship seasons in 2006 and ’07, the Harper Kamp years.
No. 7 Carl Hayden, 1986-98
This was a great era for the Phoenix Union High School District, not only with the Falcons winning four state titles but with North winning three championships and South Mountain capturing three from ’83-92.
With Rhymes leading tough, defensive-minded, hard-nosed players, Carl Hayden beat North in the final in back-to-back seasons in ’86 and ’87. The Falcons added state titles in ’93 and ’97 and reached their last state final in ’98.
No. 8 Goodyear Estrella Foothills, 2008-10
The Hawkins brothers — Brandon and Corey — with their dad, Hersey, a former NBA sharpshooter, fueled one of the greatest small-schools runs, going 91-5 and capturing three consecutive 3A titles.
Brandon and Corey both were Arizona Republic Small Schools Players of the Year, and Corey finished his career as the state’s all-time leading scorer, before that mark was shattered this season by Globe guard B.J. Burries.
No. 9 Corona del Sol, 1979-90
Before Junior got this program back rolling with the four-peat, Sam Duane Sr., began this great basketball culture at Corona with seven state title appearances between 1979 and 1990. His teams reached the final four consecutive seasons, winning back-to-back state titles in 1980 and ’81. His ’81 team went 27-0.
No. 10 Coolidge, 1998-2002
Dave Glasgow had an amazing run with the Bears, who won back-to-back 3A titles in 1998 and ’99. His 2002 team went 32-0 beating Globe 50-47 for the 3A crown. Coolidge lost to Tuba City in the 2001 state final.
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