Poston Butte was founded in 2009 to serve a growing, unincorporated community in San Tan Valley, Arizona. The school has been a hotbed for growth, as more homes are being built - drawing in families to settle in the Phoenix Valley’s Southeast corridor. Coach Savannah Bix took over the program during the 2018-2019 season and is the third coach in program’s history.
She hit the ground running and established a foundation. Ultimately, she instilled an expectation of winning and qualifying for the playoffs. In her first season, her team finished 9-17, however she continued to grind to get her kids to buy in. She established an off-season program and elevated the skill development of her players.
The hard work paid off, as she successfully led her team to back-to-back Region Titles and playoff berths. Her team is 24-4 on the season and one of my favorites to make some noise in the 4A State Playoffs, as she has a stable of talented players. Bix reached a milestone in becoming the school’s winningest girls' basketball coach with an 80-50 record.
4A is one of the tougher conferences in the state, with perennial powerhouse programs such as Mesquite, Seton Catholic, Salpointe Catholic, Deer Valley, and Flagstaff. Coach Bix attaining an 80-50 record is quite impressive, considering some of the teams her team is up against.
I asked her what was done to lay a foundation for success in her program.
“To lay a foundation for success we had to change the culture," said Bix. "Every coach throws the word "culture" around, but culture is something you live by and have to embody yourself, because you can “talk” the talk all you want, but if the kids don't see you practicing what you preach, they are going to have a hard time buying in. At Poston, our culture is all about hard work and grit. We don't have 6 footers, we don't have kids that play club, or really come into high school with much experience, so we talk about always being the toughest and the hardest working."
Grit and hard work has become the main staple in the Poston Butte program, which sparked some great accomplishments. When asking Coach Bix about her team’s three biggest accomplishments, this is what she shared:
“In the 2019-2020 season, we made the postseason for the first time in school history," said Bix. "Although it was just the play-in round, we fought tooth and nail against Coconino High School, and almost pulled out an upset. Just to make the playoffs after going 9-17 that year was huge."
She went on to say, "Completing the entire 2020-2021 season. This was the COVID year, and it was difficult for us all, but we made the 16-team tournament. We lost to Mesquite, but we were young and inexperienced. We had no seniors on the roster and our starting five were a freshman, three sophomores, and a junior. We had to beat Combs in the last game to secure a playoff spot, and lost to them earlier in the year. We beat them in a nail-biter which is one of my favorite coaching moments to this day."
"Lastly, before this year we have never won a tournament," said Bix. "Including the off-season, Poston Butte has never won any tournament. This season we won both regular season tournaments we entered. The icing on the cake is winning our region - going 10-0 while our region was no cake-walk.”
The Broncos are looking to make a deep playoff run in 4A. Despite losing a special senior class, Coach Bix is optimistic about the future of her program.
“We have some up-and-coming kids for sure. We have two sophomores and a junior that currently get 25+ minutes a game, so those three will have a lot of experience. They just need to learn how to fill that leadership role. The summer will be a lot of leadership development, and getting some current bench varsity players and JV kids a lot of exposure to high-level basketball. My plan is to play against some of the best teams in the state this off-season,” said Coach Bix.