SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – With cheers and mighty applause, the Salt River Lady Eagles received a hero’s welcome Feb. 24, as the team was honored by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community as the Class 1A state basketball champions.
The 12-member varsity team defeated Gila Bend High School 66-51 Feb. 20 in Prescott Valley, capturing the Class 1A state title. This is the first state championship in any high school sport in Salt River history.
“I can’t even put into words how happy I am for the girls,” said Shawn Lytle Head, girls’ basketball coach. “They worked very hard all year, and capped it off by playing a great game to win Salt River High School’s first ever state championship.”
The Lady Eagles ended their victorious season with a school record 32 games with its only loss to Gila Bend on Dec. 19.
“The Lady Eagles were stupendous,” said SRPMIC President Diane Enos. “They never once let up on their opponents and controlled the game throughout the contest. We are extremely proud of each and every one of them, for their dedicated hard work and obvious team spirit. They shone on behalf of our community, and we are grateful and honored at their representation of the Salt River people.”
To mark the historic occasion, the community held a parade for the team that ended at the Tribal Council Chambers at Two Waters, 10005 E. Osborn Road, where community council members honored the team’s win.
“The team’s first ever state title is historical for Salt River High School. The team played extremely hard and it truly was a team effort as the ladies each played an important role in winning the championship,” said SRPMIC Vice President Martin Harvier. “It was really nice to see the joy of accomplishment of winning the title in the faces of the girls as they held the trophy high to the fans that made the trip to Prescott to watch the team win. I also want to send my congratulations to coach Lytle and the rest of the staff as their hard work paid off in winning the state title.”