Mike Bibby hates to lose. That’s no secret. But he’s going to have to learn how to handle it better if he really wants to become a college or NBA coach, as he has often expressed publicly.
The former University of Arizona and NBA player, now the former head coach at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, walked off the court without talking to the media following an embarrassing blow-out loss at Hoophall West.
Hoophall West is the west-coast expansion of a tournament that began almost 20 years ago in New England, now in its seventh year in Arizona. It draws top high school teams from across the county to mix in with a representation of local squads, with games held at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale.
Bibby’s squad has been enjoying a successful season in which they have cruised through the first eight games, winning by large margins and scoring 100-plus points for all but two games. That’s why they came into the Hoophall game ranked No. 3 in the nation.
But Prolific Prep (12-0) obviously wasn’t impressed by their resume. The California school, ranked No. 5 nationally, jumped out to a 25-point lead before halftime and went on to post an 88-71 win.
Prolific beat Hillcrest on the boards and used a harrassing defense that kept a lid on the Hillcrest shooters. With three minutes still to play in the first half, Hillcrest had been able to put up just 17 points.
Two nights later, Hillcrest bowed to another out-of-state opponent, Tennessee’s Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, in another double-digit loss (67-52).
Hillcrest’s No. 3 ranking was being called into question.
That, evidently, was more than Bibby could handle. Or perhaps it was the school that had difficulty digesting the losses – or maybe Bibby’s reaction to the losses. Either way, Bibby is no longer coaching at Hillcrest. The school’s athletic director called it a mutual decision to part ways.
Unfortunately for local fans who attended the four-day event, the Hillcrest losses were all too representative of the way some of the other high-profile local teams fared against out-of-state competition.
The loss that probably garnered the most attention was in the ‘marque’ game on the last night of the event, when Millennium High School took on California power Sierra Canyon, which was the No. 8 team in the country according to USA Today. The Tigers held their own for most of the game, finishing just 10 points short as Sierra Canyon posted the 76-66 win.
Two-time Arizona defending 6A state champion Pinnacle High School suffered a bigger loss, getting beat by Albany Academy, which traveled all the way from the Big Apple to participate. The New York school romped to a 76-54 victory, despite a big game from Pinnacle guard Marcus Libman who scored 20 points for the Pioneers.
Gilbert’s Perry High School was also on the short end of a 77-42 rout at the hands of California’s Mater Dei HS.
Ironically, it was the school that fired Bibby after he led it to four straight state titles that fared best. Shadow Mountain High School (Cave Creek) rode a 30-point performance by senior guard Shemar Morrow to a 76-68 victory over Regis Jesuit from Colorado.