The 2019-20 winter sports season was filled with growth and new beginnings for Fountain Hills athletics.
Teams like boys basketball and girls soccer continued their progress under their second-year coaches, while others, like wrestling and girls basketball, started work on the basics to benefit a younger roster.
What follows is a recap 2019-20 winter sports season. Next week, The Times will cover the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the spring and fall seasons, as well as look ahead to the delayed winter 2020-21 season.
The 2019-20 season had its ups and downs for the Fountain Hills High School boys basketball team but, overall, head coach Jeff Bonner said he believes the team is building in the right direction.
The season kicked off on a flat note for the Falcons with a 76-68 loss against Scottsdale Christian. The Falcons’ first win of the season came in their third game against Wickenburg, which was the start of a five-game winning streak.
While that streak didn’t continue through the late season, FHHS basketball was still able to secure a spot in the postseason, with their first game being against Coronado. The Falcons won that game 56-41. The next playoff game was a nail-biter against number two ranked Paige. The Falcons lost that game 48-42, bringing their record for the season to 16-12 overall.
Head coach Mandy Baca described the girls’ basketball season as a roller coaster. With a trio of experienced players graduating the previous year, the younger team had to step up and fill the void.
The season started off on the right foot with a 36-21 win against Scottsdale Christian Academy, but the Lady Falcons struggled after the opener, losing their next five games.
The team started getting back into their groove after a 50-42 win against Payson. The team went on to win enough games to secure a spot in the payoffs.
Fountain Hills played Holbrook in the first game of the playoffs and lost 55-22 leaving the team with an overall record of 8-10.
The Fountain Hills High School boys soccer team had one of its best seasons in years, it just took them a little time to warm up.
The Falcons’ first game of the season was on Dec. 5 against American Leadership Academy Gilbert, which FHHS lost by a score of 3-1. Fountain Hills lost the remainder of their December match-ups, but scored their first win on Jan. 7 against Horizon Honors.
The Falcons proceeded to secure enough wins in their remaining games to go to the playoffs, a feat the team has not accomplished since the 2013-14 season.
FHHS dropped out of the playoffs in their first showdown, but before forcing the match to go to penalty kicks. The Falcons finished the season with an overall record of 6-6.
The 2019-20 Lady Falcon soccer season was an extremely strong showing that was cut short of greatness due to injuries.
The first game of the season was on Dec. 5 against Phoenix Country Day School, which the Lady Falcons won handily by a final score of 5-0. The first loss of the season would be on Dec. 17 against Northwest Christian, but Fountain Hills went on to a seven-game winning streak after that first loss.
FHHS’ second loss of the regular season was their last game on Feb. 4, against Scottsdale Prep. By this point the Lady Falcons were feeling the strain of losing some experienced players to injuries.
Fountain Hills’ first playoff game was on Feb. 11 against Safford. The Falcons lost this game 4-1bringing their overall record to an impressive 10-3 final tally.
After a few seasons of struggling to attract new athletes, the 2019-20 Fountain Hills High School wrestling squad was able to get a nearly full roster.
Of course, many on the team were new to wrestling and had to start from the basics, making 2019-20 a rebuilding year. Head coach Luke Salzman said he was impressed with how fast the team picked up the basics, however, and as the season went on more and more Falcons were finishing at the top of their weight class.