Arcadia girls basketball gears up for 2018 state playoffs

Arcadia guard Cassidy Campbell (22) tries to drive past Chaparral’s Summer Menke (11) during the Firebirds’ 54-42 win over the Titans Friday, Jan. 12. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

The No. 5 Arcadia High School Titans will host the No. 12 Ironwood Ridge High School Nighthawks at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, as the girls basketball state playoffs get underway.

The Titans finished the regular season with an overall record of 24-3 while going 6-2 in Northeast Valley Region play. But according to 11-year Head Coach Ives Machiz, such big expectations and accomplishments were expected because they’re a team that’s hungry and eager for more.

“Honestly, we expected to be here because of how hard we work every day and how focused we are as a team to achieving one goal, which is to win it all,” Coach Machiz said in a Feb. 13 interview.

“A lot of these girls have been together long enough to develop chemistry, cohesion and consistency to go out and play hard for each other. And considering how far we’ve come the past few years, we all just really want it all this year.”

That hunger and drive is felt throughout the rest of the team, Coach Machiz said, especially considering that Arcadia has finished each of the past two seasons in the quarterfinals of the state championship playoffs.

This season has provided the Titans with extra motivation with a couple of losses to No. 1 Chaparral High and a No. 5 overall seeding. Coach Machiz, however, didn’t mix words when it came to those things.

“We didn’t really earn the right to complain,” he said “We know how good a team we are, and we’re just so focused on winning it all right now. We’ll be ready for them if and when the time comes, but we also realize that we’ve got business to take care of against Ironwood and any other team that crosses our path.”

The Arcadia girls basketball team scrimmages during a Dec. 19 practice. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Senior Bryce Nixon, the team leader in average points (18.3), assists (5.4) and steals (4.3) per game, said little facts like that only provide more fuel to the fire and desire for the team going into the playoffs.

“Chaparral is a great team, we love playing them and it’s always a competitive game … we just need to stay focused starting (Wednesday) by making sure we really run through our offense in every play,” she said in a Feb. 13 interview

Another team leader, senior Cassidy Campbell, provided more insight as to how close the team is, what it will take for her team to win Wednesday night and how the Titans can make a deeper playoff run.

“Having been together for three or four years; we all built this chemistry and this year it’s really all coming together,” Campbell said in a Feb. 13 interview.

“We definitely think about everything. But at the end of the day, we just play who we play. We need to push ourselves and worry about the little things in the game, cleaning up everything, sticking to the fundamentals and what we can control. And that’s how we stay focused on our main goal.”

The Titans have played consistently and efficiently in their 2018 season finishing games strong after starting off hot. They’ve averaged 20 points in the first quarters and 67.1 points a game total throughout the season.

Along with these numbers, coach Machiz said what really makes this team so good and why their ultimate success looks bright for these playoffs and beyond.

“Honestly, we’re a team of good committed players who are good people,” Coach Machiz said.

“I mean, you can be any coach you want to be, but if you don’t have talented, special kids, you’re not going to win a lot of basketball games. And the cool thing is that the kids I’ve been coaching here, they’re good in the classroom. They’re good in the community. They’re really fun to work with. So it’s easy to maintain that level because of who they are.”

Editor’s Note: Arturo Spell is a student-journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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