In a thrilling 78-70 game, Ironwood High School took down Millennium High School to claim the 5A state Championship.
Days after upsetting Millennium in the championship game, Ironwood High coach Jordan Augustine said the win “meant a lot. It was incredible. We just put so much time and effort into this.”
But getting to the state championship was no easy feat. “I think down the stretch this season especially with the amount of poise and composure we showed in the state championship their age and maturity level really showed,” Augustine said. “Being able to beat Sunnyslope at home in the semis was really tough, but I think our age and maturity did help us.”
He reflected on coaching the young team.
“I think the hardest part is you are dealing with teenagers,” Augustine said. “There are times where they do things that teenagers do and you have to give them the opportunities for growth, so when they make a teenaged decision you have to understand that you are a part of the maturation process as a coach and help them be an adult who makes decisions.”
But there’s also a lot of good things about coaching this team.
“The easiest part is just how bought in they are,” Rojeck said. “They really are about each other and they care about each other’s success. They are hard workers. They represent our school really well. The number of fans that were there - we are a half hour from Tempe, but we filled those stands. I think that’s the way that they are driven for our community makes it a lot of fun to coach them and easy to coach them.”
The team was really strong on both ends of the ball, but Augustine said that the team’s good defense led into good offense. He talked about how when you get a turnover you are virtually given a free three or layup.
In the future, Augustine hopes the team can continue to develop the program, but “it’s bigger than wins and losses, that we are impacting lives and developing leaders,” he said. “Winning a state championship is a heck of an accomplishment, but I’ll know what we really accomplished by what these guys are doing in 10 to 20 years as husbands, fathers, employees or bosses. We want to invest in their development as a whole person so my hope is in two to five years I’m better at leading young men and making them into better people.”